Steampunk and the Heroine’s Journey: Part One

The surprising impact of Steampunk novels on The Heroine’s Journey

A series by Mary Sheridan

PART 1 – STEAMPUNK PRIMER: A Definition in So Many Words

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“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”

Edgar Allan Poe

Author, The Balloon Hoax

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HOW IS ‘STEAMPUNK FICTION’ DEFINED?

Steampunk is an acknowledged subgenre of Science Fiction and Fantasy. All three members of this literary family exist to answer the same question: “What if?” Beyond this commonality, everyone appears to have their own scholarly or intuitive definition of Steampunk fiction, and as a result, discussion and controversy seem to grow along with the genre’s popularity.

In his book, “Steampunk: An Illustrated History”, best-selling author Brian J. Robb presents ideas from a number of knowledgeable sources to show the complexities of reaching consensus. Robb sets out his own requisite that “altered history” is essential to Steampunk storytelling and more enigmatically suggests that “[Steampunk] is history from the minds of men.”

He quotes Stephen Hunt, author of the popular Jackelian Series of Steampunk novels: “For my work it’s always been the hard fusion between fantasy and the society of the Victorians”; and also Editor Lou Anders, who says, “Steampunk is anachronistic science fiction, chiefly but not exclusively concerned with the nineteenth century. There are those who believe that in order to be true Steampunk a work must be set and centered around Victorian England.”

Robb also quotes . . . → Read More: Steampunk and the Heroine’s Journey: Part One

Steampunk and the Heroine’s Journey: Introduction

The surprising impact of Steampunk novels on The Heroine’s Journey

A series by Mary Sheridan

INTRODUCTION

It is the visual images of Steampunk that first grab our attention, but the fantastical nature of its fiction invites us to step into the parlor for tea with the storytellers.

What is Steampunk, you ask?

Magic and illusion intertwined with reality; history bending to imagination. Science abused by impossible theories to create implausible yet ingenious contraptions, and readers willing to suspend all logic, because in the fantasy worlds of Steampunk a popular historical paradigm is in play. Authors and readers feel a sense that what appears improbable might actually be possible.

If you haven’t read Steampunk and are wondering what to expect, the following paragraphs are a mash-up of themes; a contrived sampling of a few sights and sounds not quoted from specific novels but imagined for this Fangirl series as a glimpse at Steampunk’s fictional range. As preposterous as this compilation of complexities may seem, similar individual elements can be found in most Steampunk novels.

Something mysterious, or worse, follows a familiar-looking man into the swirling fog that hangs in the dark and empty streets of old London. A pack of dogs wail in the near distance. Beneath a gaslight, the shadow of a tall figure turns a cloaked arm in his direction. Icy fear raises hairs on flesh that glows orange as the flamethrower approaches. The man with a familiar face does not hear Big Ben ring the midnight hour.

The . . . → Read More: Steampunk and the Heroine’s Journey: Introduction

Path Dependence in Star Wars Storytelling

In Star Wars lore, Yoda famously described a variation on path dependence, too: “Once you set foot down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.” Path dependence has a long history in prior Star Wars stories, and its impact will be felt on all of the new Star Wars stories coming in the years ahead. . . . → Read More: Path Dependence in Star Wars Storytelling

Tricia Joins Star Wars in the Classroom Spec Ops Team

Fangirls GGC SW Panel

Tricia joins Star Wars In The Classroom’s Spec Ops Team. . . . → Read More: Tricia Joins Star Wars in the Classroom Spec Ops Team

Fangirls Around the Web: August 24, 2014

Fangirls Around the Web for August 24, 2014. . . . → Read More: Fangirls Around the Web: August 24, 2014

Diversity Wins At The 2014 Hugo Awards

This weekend, science fiction’s prestigious Hugo Awards were presented at Loncon 3. From Charlie Jane Anders’ recap at io9:

This was really a year that underscored that a younger generation of diverse writers are becoming central to the genre and helping to redefine and expand it. In particular, Leckie beating The Wheel of Time, Chu’s inspirational speech and Hurley’s double victory felt like a sea change.

Ancillary Justice by 48-year-old American Ann Leckie won Best Novel. This debut novel also has won the Nebula Award and Arthur C. Clarke Award. It is a space opera with a female protagonist that relies on in media res to unfold the narrative. This storytelling technique of learning as the reader goes along is utilized in the Star Wars movies, but became underutilized in Star Wars prose when the novels began to rely heavily on existing knowledge of the galaxy far far away and its lore.

Other notable wins were Sofia Samatar for the Campbell Award for Best New Writer; Sarah Webb for Best Fan Artist; “The Water That Falls On You From Nowhere” by John Chu (Tor.com) for Best Short Story; “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor.com) for Best Novellete; the movie Gravity for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form; Ginjer Buchanan for Best Editor, Long Form; and Ellen Datlow for Best Editor, Short Form.

Winner of the Best Semiprozine, Lightspeed Magazine, ran the highly successful Kickstarter for Issue #49: Women Destroy Science Fiction, which was featured here at FANgirl.

. . . → Read More: Diversity Wins At The 2014 Hugo Awards

Fangirls Around the Web: August 17, 2014

Elsa Anna Cosplay

Fangirls Around the Web for August 17, 2014. . . . → Read More: Fangirls Around the Web: August 17, 2014

Fangirl Chat 17: An Oral History of Fandom with Maggie Nowakowska

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Fangirl Chat takes a trip down memory lane to find out what it was like to be a Star Wars fangirl in 1977. . . . → Read More: Fangirl Chat 17: An Oral History of Fandom with Maggie Nowakowska

Dave Filoni and Pablo Hidalgo Join RebelForce Radio

RebelForce Radio Filoni

Dave Filoni and Pablo Hidalgo join Jason and Jimmy Mac on a special episode of RebelForce Radio. . . . → Read More: Dave Filoni and Pablo Hidalgo Join RebelForce Radio

Assembly of Geeks Gab Guardians!

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Assembly of Geeks discusses Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Wars rumors, and shares an interview with cosplayer Ivy Doomkitty . . . → Read More: Assembly of Geeks Gab Guardians!