Onwards and Upwards! To The Steampunk Journal and Beyond
I know, I know, I’ve been really quiet lately. For people who have been following me a while, you may have seen this happen before, and it’s a good sign there’s some sort of big announcement on the horizon…Today is no different.
I’ve been writing For Whom The Gear Turns for over three years and I have loved every minute. I’ve got over 500 posts under my stylish Steampunk utility belt, and in recognition of my hard work, I was recently approached by Matt Grayson of the Steampunk Journal. He was looking for a co-editor to help him run the world’s most popular Steampunk website, and when he made the offer to merge our sites into one super site I knew I had to accept.
You heard right folks, I’m moving on over to the Steampunk Journal!
Starting in February, you’ll be able to find my new articles posted at the Journal alongside updated versions of old reviews and articles you may have missed. For Whom The Gear Turns will stay up for a few months during the transition, but eventually I will move completely into my new digs at the Journal.
And I hope you’ll join me!
You didn’t think I’d leave you out in the cold now, did you? There are more ways than ever to hang with me on the interwebs and share in the growing Steampunk community. Pick your favorite or do all three; each has a different focus.
- Follow the Steampunk Journal – It’s a WordPress site just like this one, so it is easy to subscribe via email or your WordPress reader. This site began within a few months of my own, but Matt and I cover very different topics. I love history, books, and movies, and Matt does interviews, music and game reviews, and photography, so we have a really complementary balance of all things Steampunk to offer! So if you are in it purely for the Steampunk, follow me at the Journal.
- Check out my new author page and subscribe to my newsletter. I’m still setting up this site and editing excerpts to share, but if you are interested in hearing about what is going on with my fiction writing and appearances at conventions, this is the best way to follow along. I won’t inundate you with emails, either. The plan is to create a monthly newsletter that includes excerpts and news about my book-length projects like No Rest For The Wicked, Riftmaker, and my blog-to-book project, The Steampunk Handbook.
- Join the United We Steampunk, Divided We Fall group on Facebook! There are weekly threads devoted to fun topics and tips, plus opportunities to post links to items for sale. The goal is to act as means to get makers and writers in contact with the fans and bloggers they need to succeed, but there’s plenty of fun and silliness there, too! If your goals involve connecting with the greater Steampunk community, then I highly recommend getting in on the ground floor of this new group.
Thank you all for sharing this journey with me, I couldn’t have done it without you!
I’ve loved running my little corner of the internet, and I appreciate your ongoing support of my projects and writing. I spent weeks struggling with this decision, but ultimately I believe this is the best way to ensure the future of the content I’ve already created, and to reach the largest possible audience moving forward.
Was there an article I wrote or something I recommended that has really stuck with you? Do you have concerns about the transition or not sure how to keep getting the type of content you want? Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!
Glub glub in a Steampunk Sub
I have started work on the sequel to Riftmaker, and I am planning to include a super cool Steampunk submarine. I have been collecting images for inspiration so I thought I’d share the fruits of my labors with you. When possible, I have credited the artist but most of these images came via Pinterest so if you see something miss-credited or you know who was the brains behind a certain sub please let me know.
“What is Steampunk?” Video Collection
There almost as many definitions of Steampunk as there are Steampunk enthusiasts, so here just a few of the short videos floating around youtube that try to answer the question, “What is Steampunk?”
This is my 300th Post!
My, how time flies when you’re having fun! Earlier this month I surpassed 40,000 views and 1000 likes, so thanks a lot for all of your shares and tweets about my articles. I started this site 18 months ago, and I keep finding great stuff to write about. I thought reaching my 300th post would be a good opportunity to compile links to my most viewed and shared articles in case you missed them the first time around, plus my personal favorites.
Van Helsing review
Brothers Grimm review, and since it was posted the Fairy Tale Guide/Drinking Game to go with the film has also been very popular
Review: Dolls of New Albion at Ed Fringe (including links to listen to the album for free! I listen to it all the time, it is an amazing soundtrack.)
Steampunk Sourcebook: Captain Nemo
Steampunk Scrapbook Paper: “Steampunk Botanica” and “Memories Documented”
Music to Steampunk by: Lindsey Stirling
Steampunk Assemblage Clocks (by me!)
Steampunk Sourcebook: The Statue of Liberty
My Favorite Five Posts and Pages
Making it to the Party Early Does NOT Make it Your Party, an editorial about bullying and inclusivity
A Few Thoughts About Steampunk and War, an open response to a Beyond Victoriana article which advocated that you can’t have Steampunk without violent conflict in the story.
The Tips for Makers Series, insights about using different kinds of materials from my own work as well as sessions at Weekend at the Asylum V
How to Punk Your Steam series, exploring different ways to “punk” the Victorian era.
Steampunk Sourcebooks series, fun facts and interesting information about topics related to Steampunk and historical figures
Thanks again for your support!
“Heterosexual” is Yet Another Thing Invented in the Victorian Era
I recently ran across and article by Thomas Rogers in Salon magazine from 2012 that was an interview with Hanne Blank, the author of Straight: A Surprisingly Short History of Heterosexuality. I knew that “homosexual” was a relatively new word in our vocabulary, but I had never really thought about its counterpart, “heterosexual.” The article is all about the history of this word and the baggage that got attached to it by psychiatrists and evolutionary scientists in the early days of their crafts, aka the time period that much of Steampunk occupies. I haven’t had a chance to read Blank’s book, but I wanted to pass on a summary of the article.
The terms “homosexual” and “heterosexual” appear at the same time. According to Blank’s research, both were the invention of an Austro-Hungarian journalist writing about a piece of Prussian legislation that made certain acts between same-sex people illegal. He was trying to create two categories that were on equal footing as a way to address the hypocrisy of making some acts legal for some people, which the same acts were criminalized for others.
This was sometime in the mid-19th century, but the terminology didn’t really take off until closer to the end of the century. Thanks to the work of Sigmund Schlomo Freud (who is and will always be “Ziggy F” to me) and his acolytes during the 1880’s and 1890’s, people were suddenly being diagnosed with all kinds of crazy stuff. In regards to the term “heterosexual” Blank said it perfectly in the interview:
Psychiatry is responsible for creating the heterosexual in largely the same way that it is responsible for creating the various categories of sexual deviance that we are familiar with and recognize and define ourselves in opposition to. The period lasting from the late Victorian era to the first 20 or 30 years of the 20th century was a time of tremendous socioeconomic change, and people desperately wanted to give themselves a valid identity in this new world order. One of the ways people did that was establish themselves as sexually normative.
Ziggy F’s theories are largely a source of giggles nowadays, but when they were shiny and new they carried a lot of weight in society. The Zigster was more or less a narcissist and viewed himself to be the apex of human psychological development. Basically, if you followed his formula for ‘health’ what you arrived at was a heterosexual (and probably white) male. (Women were already hopeless cases according the F-man. He believed we were all born longing for a penis and it just went downhill from there.)
So now let’s bring romance into the equation. Keep in mind that for much of human history, “love” and “marriage” had very little to do with one another. Marriage was more often than not an alliance between families, more akin to a business arrangement than anything based on desire, and procreation was considered part of the bargain. You didn’t have sex with your partner because you WANTED to, you did it as part of your marital duties. Of course, if you desired your partner in addition to meeting the requirements of your contract then bully for you, but being attracted to your partner was not necessary to pass on the family name.
As I am sure you are aware, society at large was undergoing many changes during the Victorian period, and this is probably a big reason you find Steampunk compelling (I know this is true for me!). Cities were drawing people out of the countryside and crushing them together in close quarters. Women and people of color started to demand the right to vote. Workers began to demand better conditions and wages. And anarchists challenged the very fabric of society with their views. And when times get tough, people fall back on the simplest of relationships, the binary. Breaking a complex world into sets of two categories is much easier than investigating the gray area that lies between black and white. As Blank put it, they started to find an identity that proved their validity in a rapidly changing world.
Also, as people started to demand to be allowed to determine their own futures, they had to stop and think for the first time what it was they WANTED from life. So the question of desire and the shift to seeking out a partner because of your feelings of attraction and love came to the forefront of the discussion for the first time.
Blank’s book goes into far more detail and continues to unpack the term “heterosexual” and its relationship to gay, trans and other terminology and notions into to the present day, but I will leave off here. If you would like more information you can read the full interview, or buy the book.
10 Months of Blogging and Powers of 10(ish)
I will get back to Steam Tour stuff in my next entry, but I hit a milestone yesterday (200 posts!) and I thought I’d take a moment to share some info with the blogosphere.
If you are a blogger then you probably spend at least some of your time worrying about your stats and traffic. It’s natural, you put a lot of energy into your posts and you want to know who is reading them, and how it compares to other blogs. But, there aren’t a lot of real concrete facts out there to look at and compare to your own progress. So in the spirit of sharing and adding to the data out in the ether for other bloggers to use, here are some stats from ForWhomTheGearTurns.com.
What I have found so far is that there is something of a pattern starting to emerge, that loosely follows a series of powers of 10.
There have been 19,000+ hits on my blog, so let’s round it to 20,000 views for the sake of the math. This happened over the last 10 months or so, which averages to 2000 views per month. Of course, when I first started this was much lower, and August was my best month ever at around 3000.
There have been about 2400 shares, which we’ll round down to 2000 shares. This converts to around 10% of views turning into shares on Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, Twitter, and Reddit (in that order).
I have gained about 190 WordPress followers, which we can round up to 200 followers, again for the math. So for every 100 views I have gained approximately 1 Wordpress follower. This also averages out to about 20 per month. I have followers on Facebook and Twitter as well, but WP followers seem to be the most consistent indicator.
And because I also just published my 200th post that comes out to about 1 WP follower per post.
Do you have stats to share? I’d love to compare notes!
Ladies spotted having tea on London Bridge
I think we should definitely stage a tea-bombing of our own during Steam Tour, don’t you agree? Let me know if you would be interested in showing up bedecked in finery (or just out to have a good time) to enjoy a nice cuppa together sometime between Aug 16-Sept 16. I won’t have the supplies with me as I will be living out of a back pack, but this seems like too much fun NOT to try to do during my research trip. Cheers!
Two ladies in Victorian outfits set up a table and chairs then had tea in the middle of London Bridge.
A member of the steampunk community posted a link to a news story about two ladies that got dressed up and had tea on the central reservation of London Bridge on Monday morning. No-one is entirely sure why they did and it doesn’t look like anyone has found out who they are.Were they wearing Victorian? Someone has speculated Georgian.
Could it be a PR stunt? Prank? Or they simply got thirsty and just happened to have a full brew kit, china cups, Victorian outfits and a wrought iron bistro table and chairs on them at the time.
Whatever the reason, the term “Teabombing” has been coined and I’m willing to create a page dedicated to examples of it. Well as long as it’s in more sensible areas than…
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