When I wasn’t writhing in agony over the weekend (and now, 18 hours after my emergency root canal, I’ve gone from totally miserable to just a bit miserable), I noticed quite a few folks at the convention who were attired in steampunky, high Victorian fashion. I’ve been aware of the steampunk movement for a while, of course, but have never really been interested enough to pay it much mind. I always figured that’s why they make chocolate and vanilla — heck, some folks even like Brussels Sprouts.
But recently, blogger/writer Lavie Tidhar pointed out that a romanticization of Victorian Britain tends to gloss over certain more problematic aspects of that culture, from imperialism to the problem of prostitution (the cynical among us might suggest that Jack the Ripper did more to solve the latter than Gladstone could have dreamed.) In fact, Tidhar went so far as to suggest that steampunk risks becoming “fascism for nice people.” All this is further complicated by the fact that Tidhar has also written a fair amount both about and within the genre.
In a post yesterday, Tidhar observes that the response to that comment has been … um… heated, but also finds an interesting (if ominous) quote and engages in a nifty bit of Spinradian alt-history. Check it out.
H/T: Spinetingler, via Facebook.