Wild Unicorn Herd

A POC/non-white/mixie nerd scrapbook. Because we’re awesome.





Something I was reminded of:

Nobody ever talks about the problematic elements in the source material for Steampunk.

I tried to bring it up at a Steampunk-themed convention and got crickets and a room full of stinkeye. Nobody wanted to be reminded that one of the core tropes of the genre was White Male Is A Genius And Builds A Gadget/Robot, Then Goes And Conquers Those PoC Over There And Then Steals Their Treasures.

And damaging Victorian worldviews, morality, and social mores.

And these things DO leak into the revival of Steampunk. Or Neo-Steampunk. Or whatever we want to call it.

And people either don’t know the history of the genre or, if they do, they want to ignore it all.


Silver Goggles - “Worn by the steampunk postcolonialist when engaging with issues of race, representation, diversity, and other such exciting adventures as one might find in our genial genre”

Beyond Victoriana - “the oldest-running blog about multicultural steampunk and retro-futurism—that is, steampunk outside of a Western-dominant, Eurocentric framework.”

Ay-Leen the Peacemaker makes zines about antifascism, asian-americans and anti-King Coal activism in steampunk.

Nisi Shawl is writing a steampunk novel set in the Belgian Congo (I LOVE HER)

Amal El-Mohtar is amazing, and has specifically talked about the problem of writing steampunk-without-steam, and addressed it in fiction: To Follow The Waves

(tl;dr I love all these people, and I will really be sad to miss WisCon this year)


Thanks so much for the rec! Let me throw some more at you:

Steampunk Magazine: THE first magazine about steampunk, founded by anarcho-anarchist Magpie Killjoy. They are very much into discussing the -“isms” of steampunk, and are actively pro-social justice and stuffs.

Steampunk Emma Goldman — Putting the politics into your steampunk and steampunk into your politics. And her Facebook too is worth a follow.

The Chronicles of Harriet — On the forefront of steamfunk, African/African-American steampunk, run by Balogun Ojetade

moniquill aka Monique Poirier, social justice blogger, Seaconke Wampanoag steampunk

jhameia aka Jaymee Goh — Owner of Silver Goggles. This be her tumblr.

There are other steampunks who are politically-conscious and want to talk about that. Many of them answered my question about steampunk & politics here: http://beyondvictoriana.tumblr.com/post/47042618748/what-role-do-feminism-and-queer-politics-have-in

Other folks, feel free to shout-out here too!








Just bought this movie with April, it looks so bad I can’t wait to watch it

It has Liam Neeson. It can’t be too bad.



Also I think Watson was wearing khakis at one point

The badness of this film is legendary.

FYI. I’m just saying if you happen to be recovering from surgery and have taken all the drugs this is an EXCELLENT movie to watch.


Once I Googled it and learned it was made by The Asylum, it all made sense.

Apocryphal flying machines

(I think jhameia was talking about this on Twitter a little while ago.)

Bill Higgins investigates the legend of Wan Hu.

I could have sworn there was another similar legend that actually came from China, but it could have been balloons à la Larry Walters or another type of flying machine. Combing Wikipedia turns up nothing much. Any Chinese history buffs out there?

Episodes in early aviation, free for the steampunking:

  • Bartolomeu de Gusmão, priest in 18th-century colonial Brazil, invented an airship named the Passarola. Contrary to legend he probably didn’t make impressive flights, definitely wasn’t hounded by the Inquisition about it, and absolutely certainly didn’t make a daring escape from the Inquisition aboard his airship and fly all the way back to Rio de Janeiro, battling sky-pirates on the way.
  • Charles A. Levine, a Jewish millionaire who was the first passenger on a transatlantic flight. Due to this and that, he and his pilot, Clarence Chamberlin, didn’t beat Lindbergh—theirs was the second flight, though they beat Lindbergh’s speed and distance. He had some super catchy Yiddish songs written about him and I’m gonna see if I can convert one into a format that isn’t fucking RealAudio.

The steampunk gospel

Via Jha, Pat Robertson-founded, hardcore Religious Right academy Regent University has its very own steampunk club! I was just about to make a joke about “If anyone wants to take your top hat, give them your corset and bustle as well”, but they beat me to it: “In the beginning the Great Engineer invented the Great Airship and the Earth - Genesis 1:1”.

To quote Saved, “Is nothing sacred to you people?”

(I lol because my friends tried to convert me all through my youth and exposed me to hilariously kitschy Christian media and “witnessing tools” I love.)

Tor.com » The Problem With “Asian Steampunk” »

Jess Nevins urges steampunks to expand their historical horizons, citing intriguing facts like

  • Zeppelin pirates are a staple of steampunk, but nautical pirates were a reality in the waters of Southeast Asia. Notable among these were the female pirates, from Zheng Yi Sao and Cai Qian in the beginning of the 19th century to Lo Hon Cho and Lai Choi San in the early part of the 20th century. These women were captains and admirals, commanding dozens of ships and leading them into battle from the front, gaining reputations as fierce fighters. According to a contemporary Chinese account Cai Qian Ma even commanded ships with crews of niangzijun, “women warriors.”


  • From the mid-17th century through the 1920s Chinese novels translated into Mongolian were in huge demand in Mongolia, and there was a flourishing trade in them. But the problem for the Mongolian bookbuyers and booksellers was not only the bidding wars which would break out with Russian, Mongolian, and Chinese buyers, but that getting the manuscripts back to Mongolia to sell was difficult because of the very real chance that those transporting the books would be attacked on the way back by bandits wanting to get the manuscripts and sell them for themselves. This resulted in decades of adventurous Mongolian book traders as skilled with sword and gun as they were at selling books.