By the way, the great artwork above is from a Kickstarter campaign called Clockwork Universe. Its a sciFi anthology that looks really cool. Check it out!
As I've said on this blog before after the Red World trilogy is done I plan to write a science fiction Steampunk series. Nothing new or ground-breaking there.
However, I've had two things that nearly deflated my enthusiasm for the series. First, about a year ago I ran across a blog post written by an author who discusses, or rather calls out authors and readers of Steampunk in general for not including minorities in steam punk fiction. He was pretty aggressive in his accusations - I would have approached it differently but he had a good point. I don't remember the blog address right now. To be honest, I never really thought about authors purposefully excluding blacks and other minorities in Steampunk but that most people write about what they know. Most whites don't know much about blacks today (sad how people of every color don't bother to expand their associations but that's a subject for another blog post) and hardly anyone knows what black American life was like after the civil war. It's as if we were invisible. Simply not there. It's up to black authors to change that. It is up to me as a black woman who is also an speculative fiction author to write about what the plight of blacks might be in the Steampunk era in speculative fiction. In fact, I'd set about thinking up ideas for my story for this new series. But then I went: darn! When this series comes out what is the first thing people will think? That I am writing this series simply to be politically correct, that I am guided by multi-cultural politics, which I dislike - and that I am writing it in response to this tempest in a teacup.
I am not. I'd thought of writing this story for about two years now and I'd heard about and read the article after I came up with the idea. Shucks! I was *not* happy to encounter that article! Crap!
But it gets better - or worse, depending on how you see it.
A few days ago I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Adventures in SciFi Publishing, and it was a two part episode show featuring Larry Correia. What floored me about these new episodes? Well, Correia wrote a new Steampunk series with many aspects that I was planning to put in my own series. There's the secret society (although I believe this is a steampunk trope and not so bad actually) there are a group of people who have decided to become crime fighting heroes to combat the looming evil or forces of darkness (yes I am adding this trope as well in my own series) more and more people are acquiring mysterious super powers - yes this is also my idea for my own series I was so upset I didn't know what to do and I turned it off to gather myself together. So now, if I write this series somebody's going to accuse me of copying Correia. Crap.
Great. Just great. There are some differences, though. His dark forces are supernatural, mine are not. And of course, my main characters will be black, with a few Native Americans and Asians and Caucasion characters. In any case, I will still write it but I was crushed when I heard this. All of this has crushed me. I guess we writers all get our ideas from a similar, unconscious wellspring, do we not?
Oh well. That's life. :(