Mission Update: August 2010

After the continuity of Canuck Steampunk Month in July, writing the blog posts for August was like pulling teeth. Still, I'm feeling really good about having nine posts in contrast to last August's dismal solitary post. This past month was a sort of "spring cleaning" in summer, as I wanted to fulfill my obligations to those who have been gracious enough to send me ARCs as well as deliver the promised conclusion to the steampunking RPG content. While I would have preferred to wait to write on any of the ARC books in thematic months, I know that getting the word out is more important to the authors than my desire for unity of content.

Despite this lack of thematic unity, I decided to make the top bar of the blog a memorial to Hiroshima. The astute visitor would have put the pocket-watch's time, the photo of the mushroom-cloud, my photoshopped airship-tower, and the quote from Moorcock's Warlord of the Air together. The next few months should prove easier. Click on the photo to see it in all its glory.

Anyone who's been watching the upcoming posts list, now featured at the bottom of the blog so as to keep the site uncluttered, will notice that I've shuffled the Fall list several times. The short of this is that I am seeking balance to my life between work and home, and if I kept the original schedule, I would not achieve it. My apologies to those who were looking forward to the "Dracula and Steampunk month," but the course in which I was to be teaching Dracula was dropped, so I thought it best to focus on what I would be teaching. That way I kill the proverbial aviary duo with one musket-ball, instead of piling it higher and deeper. I'll save that for writing the dissertation next summer.

So next month, I begin a two-part thematic journey into the supposed grandfathers of steampunk, Jules Verne, and H.G. Wells: the months will be a mix of original texts and steampunk inspirations. In the Jules Verne month, we'll talk about 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, discuss the slough of Verne films in the 50s and 60s, some graphic novel adaptations, and the character of Nemo in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. In our Wells month, we'll look at The Time Machine and War of the Worlds, as well as LXG Volume 2, culminating the whole business with Joe Lansdale's Flaming London, in which Verne and Wells do battle with the Martian invasion. I'm excited about it, and guess that many of you will be too.

I was remiss in mentioning some Canuck steampunk last month, and while I was able to include my fondness for Cory Gross's work by posting his History of Steampunk, I want to highlight fellow Canadian Jha Goh of Silver Goggles, popular blogger on issues of race and ethnicity in steampunk, as well as short fiction writer: check out Jha's story here. There's also a very good chance she was the one who planted the term Canuck Steampunk in my mind, as I discovered looking back through tweets recently.

And finally, here's another addition to the secondary source list:

Bullen, Elizabeth, and Elizabeth Parsons. "Dystopian Visions of Global Capitalism: Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines and M.T. Anderson's Feed." Children's Literature in Education. 38.2 (2007): 127-139. 

I'm also including two books I read on the history of chemistry that proved invaluable in my work on technofantasy in steampunk, and its reliance on alchemy as precursor to modern chemistry.

Cobb, Cathy. Creations of Fire: Chemistry's Lively History from Alchemy to the Atomic Age. Cambridge: Perseus Publishing, 1995.

Dear, Peter. The Intelligibility of Nature: How Science Makes Sense of the World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.


  1. Sounds action-packed. Can't wait. I am a novice as far as steampunk goes, but I am fascinated by it. I have Wells and Verne on the TBR, but you know how it is with reading lists.

  2. Harry, you're the first person to ever call one of my mission updates "action packed." Thanks for making my day.

  3. Nawh, thanks! I'm not actually Canadian; I just live here. But thanks anyway!

    And I think you were the one to come up with Canuck steampunk!


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