First off, I’m sorry everybody. It has been far too long. Where in the name of clocks, gears, and cogs have I been?
Let me drop a few quick teasers as to what has been going on in my life:
- Got a new job. Social Media Coordinator. And the best part, it’s very close to home with telecommuting thrown in as a bonus.
- After a month, got a promotion at the new job.
- Then, conducted interviews for the job that I was originally hired to do. (Being on the other end of the interview table? Woah…)
- Got a new car. I’m driving a Nissan LEAF right now. LOVE IT!
- Jumped back on to the Medifast train. My weight was out of control again.
Some of these things I intend to talk about later on this blog. (Stop laughing. Seriously. I am!) I also have to keep in mind, though, I have a novel to finish. I’m still on board with a steampunk reboot of MOREVI, so Rafe Rafton will be returning to the oceans this year.
It is this very subject — something that, I’ll admit, people are coming to me more and more about for an opinion which feels pretty good — from where this rant finds its core. So let’s turn back the clock to January 15, Tuesday, 10 a.m. At my new day job, a friend sends me a link to AdAge about IBM’s fascination with steampunk. I ran the article on my Facebook page as this truly was the convergence between my day job and my writing career. IBM is tracking “steampunk” in order to find patterns between trends and fads. I also posted it on the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Facebook page and between the two, I got a whopping 6 shares. So maybe it wasn’t as cool as I thought.
Now with this story cropping up in a number of places this week, some are stepping up to take credit for steampunk suddenly becoming the talk of the Internet. To those asshats who are delusional enough to thing that Forbes and Time are reading your Buzzfeed entries, this is nothing new. Time ran an article about steampunk back in 2009. And no, you elitists were not mentioned. Either time. So there.
What strikes me as truly “odd” is the other reaction people are having to this: Steampunk is going mainstream!!!! PANIC!!!!!
Funny. I heard that in 2011 when Justin Beiber did his steampunk music video.
I also heard it in 2010 when other authors (who knew me in the Dragon Moon Press years) told me I was “selling out” and “jumping on the bandwagon.”
And I’m pretty sure I heard the same sentiment as far back as 2003 when Sean Connery hit the big screen with The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
Fanbois and elitists are screaming about the “mainstreaming” of steampunk, and with IBM leading the charge it seems that science is predicting that THIS TIME it’s really going to happen. (Science!) Now here’s a little slap from the Halibut of Truth: weren’t people just bickering mere months ago (particularly around the infamous Prada campaign) about the definition of “true” steampunk. It’s the running joke of the genre — what is steampunk, exactly? The lack of a concrete definition could very well hinder the sub-genre’s journey to mainstream, but much like those pinheads ranting against “fake geek girls” some are bemoaning the fall of steampunk. Again. Why are so many worried about a genre that, if it isn’t redefining itself minute by minute, no one can agree exactly what it is?
I would like to see steampunk go mainstream as it would mean a wider audience for my books and my podcast. I am totally transparent in that manner. But going mainstream is bad, you say? Why? Is it because people will, by your definition, get steampunk wrong?
Well, I hate to break it to you, but people are doing that already, on a whole, in the science fiction genre. There is a great love for the film version of V for Vendetta. Despite wonderful performances, I believe the Warchowsky Brothers got it wrong. Same goes for Monsters and Skyline, two films that are science fiction, but science fiction poorly executed. Do we want people to get science fiction wrong? Of course not; but with Asylum Pictures making “mockbusters” with D-List actors, it happens more often than we like. It’s part of the risk of science fiction as science fiction is part of our mainstream culture…
…and because it is mainstream, for all the SyFy Crap of the Week we’re thrown, we also get The Avengers, The Hobbit, Serenity and John Carter. (Yes, I’m putting John Carter in there. That movie, for all its negative hype, was surprising with a lot of heart and beautiful visuals!) This is an upside for going mainstream: for all the attempts that fail, we find gems that stay with us and inspire the next generation of fans.
So yes, I would love for steampunk to hit mainstream. With the right creative minds behind it, I think a Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences movie would rock. But what do you think? What are the upsides and downsides of steampunk going mainstream? Will it continue on, even after its popularity wanes?