Thursday, January 15, 2015

Con Report: IllogiCon 4, Saturday, Part 2

I'm not trying to drag these con reports out, but dayum! This panel on cyberpunk and steampunk was chock-full of recommendations, and I tried to provide links for just about every one I could. Hope you enjoy!

Steampunk to Cyberpunk: A History
GOH Chris Garcia & Garth Graham

Can you give us some basic definitions?
  • Cyberpunk is dark, "You're screwed dude"
  • Steampunk is optimistic, "You're awesome! And, adventures w/science!"
What are some of the genre-defining works?
Steampunk was very underground till about 2008, when three series of events conspired:
  1. Jay Lake, Cherie Priest, Gail Carriger all published steampunk stories
  2. Steampunk fandom reached critical mass and energy to produce cons in LA, San Francisco, and Seattle
  3. Wired Magazine – mainstream visibility reporting on the San Fran con, and a weekly dance thing called "the Victorian future" at LA’s Edison dance club
In 2009
  • Phil Foglio won the first “Graphic Story” Hugo for his comic Girl Genius
    • They created a new category to give him this award!
  • 1st Steamcon in Seattle
    • Huge local and national coverage - Slate picked it up! - Online media coverage
2009-10 – popular enough for exploitation
  • Katie MacAlister: Steamed
    • Terrible novel, but hugely sold in grocery stores as steampunk romance novel - bestselling steampunk novel ever
  • And then the purists came out in force - part of the subculture – “This isn’t steampunk!”
How did so many goths come to steampunk?
  • Goth & steampunk - there was historical merger/tension
  • The Manray club in Boston - goth movement powerhouse - book launch for William Gibson’s Neuromancer held there - cyberpunk became part of goth culture
    • The club closed, and a new opened - western dive - goth, cyber kids still hung out there, culture mashup
  • Romantic-Goth movement was begging for steampunk
    • Started in London, crossed to Manray
What about Steampunk tech?
  • They had two Babbage engines at a museum where Chris used to work
    • Chris wanted to network the original and new engines with a long cam shaft and see what they could do together!
  • After The Difference Engine, you get Neil Stevenson’s Diamond Age
  • Were you trying to say that the complexity of a network depends on the complexity of the culture where it lives? Only the complexity of Victorian England could support it!
Fave cyberpunk author?
  • Garth likes Phillip K Dick
    • BladeRunner was better than Do AndroidsDream Of Electric Sheep - rare time movie is better than the book
    • Chris told a great story about a 3-pg letter that Dick wrote ranting about….*sigh* My note-taking has failed me. Perhaps I’ll get that story from Chris again someday!
  • Rudy Rucker: Wetware, Software
    • Best of Dick & less-philosophical Gibson
Fave steampunk author?
Weird Wild West is an offshoot of Steampunk….origins?
Some other media “bests”?
Cyberpunk often depicts a dark future, or questions what is it to be human ("the net", AI)
American storytelling tends to be the antiestablishment former
Japanese tends to be latter

There’s still more to come! Next up, continuing Saturday panel notes, and the Weird Wild West party!


And so, with a loving heart, I offer you
I’ve heard many translations. Here’s my favorite:
The light of the universe that shines within me recognizes
the light of the universe that shines within you.


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