WorldCon 2016: The state of feminist fantasy

Disclaimer: I am not perfect and neither are my notes. If you notice anything that requires clarification or correction, please email me at melanie (dot) marttila (at) gmail (dot) com and I will fix things post-hasty.


Panellists: Julia Rios, Ann Leckie, Dr. Janice M. Bogstad, Tessa Gratton

Joined in progress …

AL: In science fiction, feminist authors and novels are being recognized. Why isn’t this happening in fantasy?

JMB: In a culture where everyone is equal, can there be feminism? We’d have to step back and compare.

TG: The feminist conversation is very dynamic right now. Feminism is a tool for dismantling the patriarchy and the conversation is complicated by sexism, ageism, ableism, racism, etc. We can’t talk about feminism in isolation. There’s a lot of intersectionality. I think Kate Elliot and N.K. Jemisin are feminist fantasy authors.

AL: When someone looks at the genre from the outside, feminist fantasy isn’t identified as a sub-genre.

TG: Science fiction is more overtly political.

JR: When people talk about science fiction, everything gets lumped together. Aren’t the classical texts fantasy? Aren’t fairy tales fantasy? What happens when women authors retell myth and folklore? I’d put forth Catherynne M. Valente and Angela Carter as feminist fantasy authors.

JMB: People outside the genre depend on the frame. In academic circles, they call it the literature of the fantastic. Robin Hobb’s novels have feminist themes. Game of Thrones can be read as feminist. Does it have prominent female characters? Yes. Is it feminist fantasy, though? Perhaps that’s another discussion. How do we define fantasy separate from science fiction? Patricia Briggs and Kij Johnson write feminist stories. We’ve had realistic fiction for a very short period of time, relatively speaking. We’ve had fantasy forever. What else is Beowulf?

JR: Who influenced you as a writer?

TG: I have two big influences: Kate Elliot, because she interrogates the issues I want to explore, and Katharine Kerr.

AL: Andre Norton was a big influence on me. There’s a question as to whether she was feminist. C.J. Cherryh doesn’t consider herself a feminist. I didn’t identify as feminist initially.

JR: If an author identifies as feminist, are their novels feminist?

JMB: People describe a feminist author in relation to their work. Are there feminist themes, gestures, sentiments expressed in the work? We need to define our terms first. Is there a canon of feminist fantasy?

TG: I’m uncomfortable imposing a definition of feminism that doesn’t address intersectionality. You can’t talk about sexism in isolation.

JMB: The same people who wrote science fiction also wrote fantasy. Russ was a lesbian. Intersectionality was part of the discussion. We just didn’t call it that.

TG: Explorations of young adult feminist fantasy aren’t interested in anything before Twilight. It’s the opposite problem.

AL: In science fiction, all of the classic feminist authors are from the 70’s. But current novels are being used to say that this is a new conversation in isolation from history. We need perspective regardless.

And that was time.

This was the last of my session notes from WorldCon 2016.

Next weekend: I’m going to talk about changing things up on the blog a bit and reasons 🙂

Until then, as ever, be kind, be well, and stay strong. Tell your stories. We need them.

WorldCon 2016: Terraforming Terra

Disclaimer: I am not perfect and neither are my notes. If you notice anything that requires clarification or correction, please email me at melanie (dot) marttila (at) gmail (dot) com and I will fix things post-hasty.


Panellists: John DeLaughter, Elizabeth Moon, Laurel Anne Hill (moderator), Gregory Benford, Patricia MacEwen

Joined in progress …

LAH: Haw can we reduce carbon dioxide, or eliminate excess carbon dioxide?

JD: Increase conservation.

LAH: It’s difficult to motivate large numbers of people to conserve, though.

PM: Hit people in the wallet.

EM: Stop killing plants to put in asphalt. Plants eliminate carbon dioxide.

JD: Green roofs.

EM: Green roofs are a good idea, but existing structures can’t support the extra weight or handle the water. Support the creation of parks, green space, city gardens as part of urban planning.

GB: The US is the only country in which tree populations have risen. It’s also the only industrialized country that’s reduced carbon dioxide emissions.

JD: Going for a clean energy solution means more nuclear power.

LAH: What about ocean iron fertilization?

JD: Life growth is based on the amount of the rarest nutrient in the ocean. That’s iron. So far, things haven’t worked out as well as they’ve hoped.

PM: California has lost an entire youth class of sea lions for three years running. It’s happening all over. Stop over-fishing. Lower polution.

LAH: There’s a great book, Stung, about the unprecedented increase in the numbers of jellyfish. They could be a vehicle for carbon capture and storage.

GB: Thirteen years ago there was a study done on farming waste and disposing of it underwater. There’s a place, 3.2 kilometres down just off Monterey Bay. CO2 is trapped in particles. Crabs eat them and it gets bound in their shells.

JD: In Louisiana, they burn their excess silage. They have ash fall. They call it “Cajun snow.”

GB: There is no will to do the necessary research.

JD: It’s going to take a long time for global warming to become serious enough for people to care.

LAH: Are efforts to reflect sunlight back into space effective?

GB: DARPA has a project. They want to pump sulphuric oxide into the atmosphere over the arctic. It will screen out enough of the sun to slow the melting of the polar ice cap. There is no will to proceed.

PM: There are 50 to 100 mile wide gaps in the ice in the arctic. We’re heading for a crisis.

JD: NASA is involving student observers in their S Cool project.

GB: They could also look into reflective paving materials and roofing mats.

PM: 95% of our living reefs are disintegrating.

And that was time.

Next weekend, I’ll be sharing the notes from my final WorldCon 2016 panel: The state of feminist fantasy.

Until then, be well, be kind, and stay strong, my friends 🙂

WorldCon 2016: Two suns in the sky

Disclaimer: I am not perfect and neither are my notes. If you notice anything that requires clarification or correction, please email me at melanie (dot) marttila (at) gmail (dot) com and I will fix things post-hasty.


Panellists: Eva Elasigue, Courtney Schafer, [Mel’s note: Joe Haldeman was unable to attend.]

Joined in progress …

CS: Kepler discovers exoplanets by observing the subtle signs of a planet passing in front of its star. It’s focused on a small area and it’s only covered 3% of that space in detail so far. The number of exoplanets discovered is large, but only a fraction of circum-binary systems have planets that might be habitable. The planets discovered in those systems are massive, though. It’s exciting that so many planets have been discovered.

EE: One of Larry Niven’s conjectures is that a planet in a binary system would have an off-center core.

CS: It’s possible that a planet in a binary system could have a figure eight orbit. It could also be more easily ejected from the system. Since circum-binary systems are fairly common, there might be a large number of rogue planets out there. To discover the composition of a planet, you need to use spectroscopy.

Q: Is there publicly accessible software for fact-checking the plausibility of an invented system?

A: There are solar system simulators.

CS: You can also check with your local amateur astronomy club.

Q: Is Alpha Centauri A, Rigil Kentaurus, a binary star?

CS: That’s the current understanding. One thing to keep in mind is the force that would be exerted on planets in these systems. If we look at the moons of Jupiter, they need to have their own magnetospheres to maintain an atmosphere. Otherwise, Jupiter strips it away.

EE: You should check out Galaxy Zoo. It’s a citizen science initiative.

[At this point, the ideas starting coming fast and furious. To be honest, I’m not sure who said what.]

The most favorable binary systems for planets are those in which both stars are around 80% of the sun’s size. They’re also fairly close to each other. The minimum stable radius for a planet in a binary system is 2-4 times larger than [… sorry didn’t catch this. I think it’s Jupiter. Wikipedia indicates this would be correct. If the planet is a gas giant, it may not support life, but its moons might. Smaller stars would accommodate smaller planets, but the planets may not be habitable, depending on their orbits and the relative light and heat they receive from their suns.]

They probably didn’t form in their current orbit. There’s an instability in binary systems which could result in the planet spiralling into one of the stars, or being flung out of the system. Planets in binary systems would move around unless they could find a stable orbit.

There are also mismatched binary systems. A blue giant with a red dwarf, for example, or a sun-type star with a black hole.

And that was time.

For more information: If you Google the term circum-binary systems, you will find a lot. Navigate to dependable sources, like NASA, or (unlike yours truly). Or head for fun but dependable sites like Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy column, currently hosted by Blastr.

Next week: we’re terraforming terra 🙂

Until next I blog, be well, be kind, and stay strong.

WorldCon 2016: Political worldbuilding in science fiction

Disclaimer: I am not perfect and neither are my notes. If you notice anything that requires clarification or correction, please email me at melanie (dot) marttila (at) gmail (dot) com and I will fix things post-hasty.


Panellists: Bennett Coles, Christopher Kastensmidt (moderator), Ken Liu, Ada Palmer, Mari Kotani

Joined in progress …

KL: I’d recommend Malka Older’s Infomocracy.

AP: Historically, monarchy is attempted repeatedly. Even after the French Revolution there have been two monarchies. There have also been failed attempts at democracy. There was a Polish city that became a haven for heretics. All of this successive change creates layers of symbology.

KL: Narratives of the past inform the future. The ideal of the Roman Republic is the basis of modern democracy but the reality of ancient Rome was nothing like the ideal.

MK: Godzilla is a political movie at heart. It grew out of the horror of Hiroshima. Now we have Fukushima.

CK: What about the process of political worldbuilding? What makes it effective?

BC: The vast majority of any worldbuilding will never appear on the page but you have to work it all out. Wars are started for reasons. Those reasons could be economic, religious, political, or ideological. Battlestar Galactica is such a political story. Heinlein wrote Starship Troopers from this question: what if our heroes are fighting on the wrong side?

KL: You have to explore and categorize the problems of your milieu. How does political technology, like lobby groups, solve some of those problems? What other problems do they bring to bear? Look to history. Coups d’états are not used in the west (why not?), but other countries elsewhere in the world have them all the time.

AP: Work out more political detail then you need. Compare the world two centuries ago to the world that exists now. The structure of a family has changed over time. The family used to be not just the extended family, but also the servants. Then the nuclear family became the dominant domestic arrangement. Extend that into the future. Sometimes not mentioning something is telling. If there is news from every country but America—what happened?

BC: You have to be consistent. You have to know your world well enough to accommodate creative change. Starship Troopers has fascist trappings.

MK: Shin Godzilla. Shin means this Godzilla is true or new. It’s a katagana character, not a hiragana character. Disaster in diaspora stimulates nationalism.

KL: In “Folding Beijing,” the city itself is a metaphor. There are three dimensions, one for each class. The largest class is the useless class. By journeying through the three dimensions, the protagonist gains a deeper understanding of the way things are. He finds hope without change.

AP: The Gundam series was a way to discuss WWII. Gundam Seed was the same for 9/11.

And that was time.

Next weekend, it’ll be April and time for another next chapter update.

Until next I blog, y’all be well, be kind, and stay strong.

WorldCon 2016: Alienbuilding

Disclaimer: I am not perfect and neither are my notes. If you notice anything that requires clarification or correction, please email me at melanie (dot) marttila (at) gmail (dot) com and I will fix things post-hasty.


Panellists: Caroline M. Yoachim (moderator), G. David Nordley, Ctein, Larry Niven, Sheila Finch

Joined in progress …

GDN: To build aliens, you have to start with the system, planets, and so on down.

C: When it comes to the aliens themselves, a top-down approach means psychology first.

LN: I’ve created aliens with handles on the skull. Humans have bilateral symmetry on the outside. Inside, not so much. An alien can have two dominant arms for fine manipulation, or one extra-muscular arm for heavy lifting. Why not a dwarf elephant with two trunks and fingers on the trunk-tips?

SF: It happens all at once for me. I have an image of the alien. I take a step back and consider what environment might have produced it. Then, I develop the psychology and language. The metaphors used are linked to physiology.

C: I’m happy to steal if it works. I have a species I based on puppets.

CMY: Do you have to balance strangeness with relatability?

GDN: I’m not bothered by aliens that have commonalities with humans. Our basic drives are all the same.

C: There are special, species-related characteristics. Will aliens have religion? Will they be acquisitive? Are they into body augmentation?

SF: Corvids are acquisitive.

LN: I ask myself, what’s the weirdest thing about an alien? Then I extrapolate back.

SF: Sentience and self-awareness have been proven to exist in animals.

C: One notable characteristic of humans is that we build. If there’s an advanced species out there that doesn’t build, what do they do?

LN: What’s the process of adapting humans to their environments?

CMY: What pitfalls do you see? What are your pet peeves?

GDN: Characters that don’t have survival value.

LN: There was a story based on a hospital station—everyone got sick. [Mel’s note: not every disease will attack every species by the same vector. Zoonosis is not common on Earth. And then, there’s immunity.]

SF: Plant aliens that aren’t done well. Sequoias, for example, would have a chemical intelligence.

C: When the physical worldbuilding isn’t related to the story. If it’s all about the display of worldbuilding prowess, it’s essentially scenery.

CMY: When all the aliens are the same, are they truly “alien” aliens?

GDN: Silicone and oxygen might be able to produce something similar to DNA and RNA. Truly alien aliens are difficult to figure out physiologically and biologically.

SF: With truly alien aliens, their physiology becomes the story. It’s all about explaining how they function.

And that was time.

I’ll have one more WorldCon 2016 session to share with you this month, and it’s more worldbuilding (are you sensing a theme?). Next weekend: Political worldbuilding in science fiction.

Be well, be kind, and stay strong until next I blog.

WorldCon 2016: The art of worldbuilding

Disclaimer: I am not perfect and neither are my notes. If you notice anything that requires clarification or correction, please email me at melanie (dot) marttila (at) gmail (dot) com and I will fix things post-hasty.

Panellists: Peter Tieryas, Carrie Patel, Luke Peterson (moderator), Amanda Downum, Greg Bear


Joined in progress …

GB: Edgar Rice Burroughs was the first worldbuilder. He delved into culture and economics. Read Olaf Stapledon’s Star Maker.

LP: Where do you start?

AD: Use the character as the starting point. Develop the city, country, and world around them. Move outward to weather and so forth.

CP: Ask, what does the society value most and what does it fear the most?

PT: If you see a movie with a good story but bad effects, it’s ok. A movie with good effects but a bad story is just bad.

GB: I work from the top down. Sometimes a complete vision of the world will take years to form.

LP: How much do you need to know?

GB: I’m an English major.

CP: You don’t need to tell your readers everything. What’s important to the story you’re telling?

AD: Have a friend ask random questions and build your world or research based on that.

PT: sometimes the best research is done by people who have no expertise.

AD: Find someone who doesn’t read your genre. That’s the acid test.

LP: How do you set your limits? When do you stop?

AD: It’s hard to tell. When you’re drafting, it’s okay to leave some things undefined for later. Get the bones of the story down first.

CP: You might have to dive back in, mid-draft, if you write yourself into a situation only worldbuilding can get you out of.

PT: Hitler exempted artists, and later scientists, from war. It was dark material I had to research for my book. I didn’t want to continue, but I needed to get a grip on the story.

CP: Does the research or detail of the world tell the reader something about the character or the plot? If not, it shouldn’t be in there.

And that was time.

Next week, we move from worldbuilding to alienbuilding 🙂

Be well until then, my writerly friends, and work to make your dreams come true.

WorldCon 2016: The dark side of fairy tales

Disclaimer: I am not perfect and neither are my notes. If you notice anything that requires clarification or correction, please email me at melanie (dot) marttila (at) gmail (dot) com and I will fix things post-hasty.


Panellists: Ellen Datlow, Brooke Johnson, Erin Wilcox (moderator), Sandee Rodriguez, Dana Cameron

Joined in progress …

DC: Fairy tales are the intersection between the known and the unknown in a way that other stories aren’t.

BJ: Tone is the defining quality. It’s a sense of magic realism or normalized magic. I’m currently reading the Turnip Princess. It’s meant to be read. Oral storytelling. Fairy tales are mythic, grand and meaningful, larger-than-life, and yet the things that happen are everyday occurrences to the characters of the story.

SR: Folk tales have the element of reality. Fairy tales have no sense of history.

DC: Domesticity is addressed in fairy tales.

EW: There’s a marked different between fairy tales intended for children and those intended for adults.

ED: Modern retellings add sex. The originals were dark enough, though. Look at Hansel and Gretel—they were going to be eaten but ended up stuffing the witch in the oven.

BJ: Fairy tales were cautionary.

EW: In his book, The Uses of Enchantment, Bruno Bettelheim says that the reader divines whatever they want from the fairy tale. What is it that scares you most? Is it that your parents didn’t want you?

DC: Fairy tales were didactic, warnings. What happens when you go out into the world alone? There are only a handful of clever, successful kids who survive. There’s a tale about the young servant of a king, He discovers how the king became so wise—he ate a white serpent. The kid tried it and goes out into the world. He’s kind and curious and eventually becomes a wise king himself. I took the basic tale and moved it into space.

SR: Reading dark fairy tales to young kids beneficial. The story is internalized. They imagine what they would do in that situation. How would they escape? It develops creativity and problem solving skills.

EW: Do fairy tales need to be sanitized? Should they be?

BJ: Disney sanitized everything. Snow White is about persecution and stalking.

ED: Tanith Lee sexualized fairy tales. You can retell fairy tales over in different ways. Hans Christian Andersen had a thing about sacrifice and death. Look at his versions of The Little Mermaid and The Little Match Girl.

EW: Fairy tales from all over the world overlap.

DC: I read Japanese fairy tales when I was eight. There was a boy who drew cats. His drawings came to life at night to save him from a rat demon.

EW: In India they don’t really have fairies, but the national epics are being adapted.

BJ: Tiger’s Curse has Indian influences. It didn’t appeal to Disney. I’m drawn to the dark tales. I write tragic stories.

ED: Read Bullfinch’s Mythology, The Illiad, The Odyssey. Myth isn’t magical enough.

DC: Fairy tales often have bittersweet endings because you can’t go back.

And that was time.

Next week, it’s time for my next chapter update 🙂

Be well and stay strong until then, my friends.

WorldCon 2016: Generation starships

Disclaimer: I am not perfect and neither are my notes. If you notice anything that requires clarification or correction, please email me at melanie (dot) marttila (at) gmail (dot) com and I will fix things post-hasty.


Panellists: Pat Cadigan, Gregory Benford, Mark W. Tiedemann, Brenda Cooper (moderator), Jerry Pournelle

Joined in progress …

GB: We can work out the engineering problems. The people problems, we can’t.

JP: We have to have some form of artificial gravity. Currently, interstellar travel can only be accomplished by accelerating half way and then decelerating the other half. The Fermi paradox says there might be one civilization, not planet, not planet with some form of life, but one civilization, per galaxy.

PC: People choose to live in habitats orbiting Earth. They don’t have artificial gravity. The solution could be epigenetics. Adapt the body to life in space. Once you pass a few generations, the privations become irrelevant. Then we have to face the challenges of exploration and colonization of new worlds. We’ve faced some of these problems before. The prairie skies produced agoraphobia. When the generation ships land, people will be totally freaked. We’ll need to regulate space and noise.

BC: There was a 100 year starship symposium at which it was posited that generation ships would have to have a military-like social structure.

MWT: I don’t see why we’d want to do that. It would work, but not without the benefits that make such a system worth it.

GB: That might be the wrong analog. If you have a pool, you need a lifeguard. The army has a purpose in the larger community. A genration ship is a community.

JP: The Melanesians who settled Hawaii knew they were going on a one way trip. A worker who works, lives, and never leaves Manhattan might as well be on a colony.

PC: If we have habitations around Saturn, it’s too far away for help to get there in the case on an emergency. It would have to be a regimented society. They would have to constantly be checking their equations, their plans. They would never want to be doing something for the first time.

MWT: The personalities of the volunteers will influence what happens on the ship, and in the colony.

BC: What would people on the ship do for fun?

GB: What does anyone do? Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll.

PC: Even the frivolous pursuits would have to be engineered.

MWT: I think virtual reality would be a major component.

BC: How can you teach generation after generation order and discipline and then expect innovation and creativity to emerge at the destination?

JP: That’s what novelists are for.

And that was time.

Next week: The dark side of fairy tales 🙂

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you found something of interest or entertainment.

Be well until next I blog.

WorldCon 2016: Nifty narrative tricks

Disclaimer: I am not perfect and neither are my notes. If you notice anything that requires clarification or correction, please email me at melanie (dot) marttila (at) gmail (dot) com and I will fix things post-hasty.

Panellists: Jo Walton, Mary Robinette Kowal, Steven Gould, James Patrick Kelly, Elizabeth Bear (moderator)


Joined in progress …

EB: It’s not all about creating an engaging character.

MRK: People want the familiar and the strange. So, a familiar emotion with a strange activity, for example.

JPK: Before you write, walk into your character’s room, their car, their locker. In describing these places, you find stuff you can use later in the plot.

JW: Characters are something I could write well before I could do anything else (dialogue, description, etc.) I decide that this is the story I am telling and this is how I’m telling it.

EB: You have to figure out what makes the character someone readers want to spend time with. Give them a goal. Give them agency. Give them something, or someone, to love.

SG: If you want to show how a technology works, show it when it breaks down. Added benefit: it frustrates your character, it’s a setback.

MRK: They need to have a sense of their own competence, or lack thereof.

EB: Add conflict.

MRK: Action is reaction. That’s something from theatre. Map out the easiest path to the character’s goal and then deny it. Conflict is not necessarily a fight scene.

JW: A character desperately needs a bathroom. Everything they say and do will be coloured by this desire. If a character is making dinner, discover everything in the course of that day-to-day action. Including backstory this way becomes seamless. There has to be a sense of jeopardy, but it doesn’t have to be a battle for life and death at every turn.

JPK: You want to have conflict everywhere, but it all has to relate to the plot. Keep an eye on your main conflict. It’s a through line. From the beginning to the middle, it’s a one way door. The same goes for the middle to the climax. There’s no going back.

MRK: The stakes must be personal and specific to the character.

JW: Unless you can make the reader care about the character in jeopardy, it won’t work.

MRK: Focus indicates thought. Everything has its own breath and rhythm. Pacing can be controlled by how long the character’s attention lingers. [Mel’s note: Mary then removed her boots and demonstrated what she was talking about in a tour de force of shoe puppetry. I wanted to take a picture, but couldn’t tear myself away from the spectacle—it was that AWESOME!]

JW: Pacing is one of the strongest indicators of genre.

JPK: When I was at Clarion, they didn’t have the money to make a copy of every story for every participant, so one copy of each was posted in the hall. If you look at a piece of writing and you see solid blocks of text, you probably need to break it up. A story needs to breathe and so does the reader.

JG: I think of it in terms of pixilation, granularity. If you increase the resolution, you increase the pacing.

EB: One common misconception is that starting in medias res means starting with a blood bath. The reader has to care about what happens to you characters.

JPK: Another common failing is not having a denouement.

JG: Being too coy with the reader, or telegraphing everything.

MRK: If you include too much backstory, try getting deeper into the point of view character.

JW: A lack of description results in too much fuzziness. Either the character, or the world, is not in focus.

And that was time.

Next week, I will be writing my first next chapter update of 2017 (yay—crazy Kermit arms) and then I’ll return to WorldCon reportage. And, of course, in the meantime, you can expect more great curation on Tipsday and thoughty Thursday.

Happy Chinese New Year!

And be well until I see you next 🙂

WorldCon 2016: The steampunk explosion

Disclaimer: I am not perfect and neither are my notes. If you notice anything that requires clarification or correction, please email me at melanie (dot) marttila (at) gmail (dot) com and I will fix things post-hasty.

Panellists: Carrie Vaughn, Jeffrey Cook, Laurel Anne Hill (moderator), Gail Carriger, Nina Niskanen


Joined in progress …

GC: The term steampunk emerged in the 70’s as an evolution of cyberpunk. The first iteration was dark. Then, steampunk became an aesthetic and finally, humour worked its way in. Whimsy was a reaction to darker iterations. It romanticizes the Victorian era and deals with the class system and double standards of the era. The historical time period was actually very chaotic.

NN: The interaction with class is attractive to both writers and readers. Science fiction doesn’t typically feature a lower class.

CV: The current wave of steampunk is deconstructive.

GC: It’s subversive, commenting on colonialism and class.

LAH: It’s a reinvention of the Victorian age. There was a great excitement then with the industrial revolution and technological advances. People want to recapture the excitement and inspiration of that time.

NN: In Vernor Vinge’s Rainbow’s End [about a man recovering from Alzheimer’s disease who has to renegotiate a world that’s advanced technologically while he was ill], computers have no serviceable parts.

CV: There was an anxiety about science. Frankenstein expresses that fear that we will not be able to control what we unleash.

GC: That was the dichotomy—can technology solve all our problems, or will it cause them?

JC: Rockets were being developed at the time, but the inventor also supported women in STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math].

LAH: The anxiety about science was a reaction against putting all of humanity into a box.

CV: There was a hope and drive to fix things socially as well. Technology wasn’t the answer to everything. Now there’s an environmental aspect in steampunk and that’s a reaction against our disposable society.

NN: Steampunk has avoided painting Victorian London in a “dirty” light. Historical accounts relate that at times there were seas of horse shit in the streets.

CV: Steampunk outside of Victorian Europe are appearing as a reaction against colonialism.

JC: You can have clockwork in 5th century Japan. You can do a lot within the genre. It’s not just the comedy of manners and history heavy stories. There’s more of a spectrum to be explored.

And that was time.

Next week, we’ll delve into some nifty narrative tricks (with shoe puppetry!).

Sending out a huge hug to all my American friends. Stay strong, speak out, and always, keep telling your stories. Sweet Jesus, we need them.