In the film, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – based on the bestselling novel of the same name – a young Abraham Lincoln’s life is changed forever after he discovers, to his horror, that slavery is an institution controlled by vampires and the slaves are not to be used for labor, but for food. Lincoln decides that to end slavery is to end the scourge of vampires. Lincoln thus becomes an Abolitionist.
The idea of this took me back to elementary school, wherein we were taught that Abraham freed the slaves after a terrible war between the Northern and Southern United States – fought because the “evil” South wanted to keep slaves and maintain slavery, while the “good” North sought to abolish slavery. A few years later, I learned that what was taught to us in elementary school was as absurd as Abraham Lincoln ending slavery to stop a plague of vampires.
Many Steampunks choose to ignore the horrors wrought by colonialism – slavery, indentured service, sexism, classism; they create a world in which these things do not exist, or are sugar-coated so badly, the world might end up diabetic.
Recently, in response to another blog I wrote entitled What is Steamfunk? Exposing The Big Steampunk Lie – which you can read at http://chroniclesofharriet.wordpress.com/2012/04/05/what-is-steamfu... – a Steampunk said “History is exactly what it says on the tin, an event that happened in the past. Learn its lesson and move forward. The human race will never achieve its potential if we cannot let the past go, and progress to greater things. If race, religion, sex or age is an issue to you, it proves a lack of intelligence, or an example of a small mind, which in of itself is an evolutionary cul de sac.”
Now, I wanted to come back in some clever way, like former enslaved brother, Jourdon Anderson did in response to his former “master” asking him to return to work on the same plantation upon which he and his family suffered. But I…wait…you haven’t read the brilliant letter by old Jourdon? Well, here you go:
TO READ THIS BLOG IN ITS ENTIRETY, PLEASE VISIT:
Charles Stross made a similar complaint some time ago about steampunk, saying it refused to acknowledge the reality of the Victorian age. My response can be found here on my SWAG page.
And the book Stross inspired me to write, full of utter misery, poverty, racism and hatred toward the lower orders/foreigners/women, can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Barnabas-Corbin/e/B004F8H5VA/ref=ntt_athr_dp_...
Steampunk is science fiction/fantasy, set in an alternative timeline; I honestly don't think any complaint that the genre is not realistic enough can therefore be valid. It's not as if steampunk has to be Dickensian in its depiction of reality, though of course it can be if the writer/artist so desires. It's whatever each individual wants it to be. Grim, bloody, and without hope, or colourful action adventure, or anywhere in between... To quote Brian of Nazareth: "We're all individuals!
Yeah it does seem like a pretty stupid critisim for something which largely doesnt even take place in reality. If it did, it would be called history not science fiction.
Actually it is not stupid at all. I critiqued, I did not criticize. For me, fiction is a "turkey drumstick" - the "bone" of reality, covered by the "meat" of creativity. What YOU did was criticize (I am not sure what "critisim" is). To learn the difference between critique and criticism, please refer to: http://chroniclesofharriet.wordpress.com/2012/03/06/a-critic-critiq....
I agree. We are free to write what we will.