Thursday, October 6, 2011

Nisi and Cat on Steampunk

It's Steampunk Week over at, meaning posts galore on that currently hot topic. I see that a couple of Aqueductistas have contributed. Cat Rambo has posted Suffragette Steampunk, which begins
Steampunk often features historical figures: the poets, explorers, and scientists of the Victorian period. But few books reference one of the most important political movements of the time: the women’s suffrage struggle. That’s a shame, since the movement had its share of charismatic, unusual characters who rarely surface in speculative fiction.
While Nisi Shawl weighs in with The Steampunk That Dare Not Speak Its Name, which begins
People have always had sex. Even in the Victorian era, a time synonymous these days with prudery and abstinence, sexual acts were committed.

In one of the period’s most infamous cases, popular author Oscar Wilde was tried and jailed for the “gross indecency” of making love with other men. Yet Wilde wasn’t alone in his support of “Uranian” (same-sex) relationships. Poet Alfred Douglas, Wilde’s lover and originator of the phrase “the love that dare not speak its name” (echoed in this post’s title), was also a proponent of the well-known Uranian movement. Since steampunk so often draws on Victoriana, we should find Uranian interests represented in a fair number of steampunk stories, right? Plus, the overtness of sexual markers such as corsets in steampunk, and the tendency of the genre’s authors to imagine modern attitudes into their versions of the past, should make queer steampunk common enough that multiple examples are easy to find. Right? Right?

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