New guest: Karin Tidbeck

KarinTidbeck_Ubåd_Farve_05302013_30-220x300 We proudly present our seventh guest: Karin Tidbeck. Karin has published prose and poetry since 2002 and has had great success with her 2012 novel Amatka. Her short story collection Jagannath won the Crawford Memorial Award the year after. Furthermore, she works as a creative writing teacher, maniscript coach, and translator. Welcome!

What I learned from teaching steampunk

Not everyone has taught steampunk at college level. Nowadays I’m one of the few who can actually say that I have this experience.

jag-forelaser-feb-2014I spent one week in Karlsham, at the Blekinge Institute of Technology, lecturing and leading discussion classes for a course in game design. The course has a different theme every year, and this year the theme was steampunk.

We had many interesting conversations during this week, and I learned a lot myself. There were especially two aspects of steampunk that I saw with new eyes after talking with the students.

One was multicultural or global steampunk: to start from another point than Victorian London as the foundation for your steampunk vision. This topic led to discussions about the way we tend to place ourselves at the centre of the world, but also about cultural appropriation and how to respectfully approach the cultural heritage of others.

The other was centered around technology and power. Some come to steampunk through a kind of longing for the visible and impressive technology, perhaps even technology that you can understand by looking at it. The whole maker-aspect — people who build and construct things — is centered around taking control of your own physical belongings and surroundings. There are ideals like having personal and durable tools and objects, as a contrast to the mass produced and impersonal. On another level this is about having a relationship to your own technology, and we also got talking about things like controlling your own computer and data.

Many of the questions and themes that we touched on during this week will be considered when we make the programme for the Steampunkfestival. This will be a fun weekend mixing the high and the low, the deep and the superficial, the challenging and the entertaining. It’s my hope that we will all discover new aspects of what steampunk is and what it can be.

Book discussions

bokcirklar There will be three book discussions during the festival.

Friday: The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray by GoH Chris Wooding.

Saturday: Kleptomania by Kristina Hård. In Swedish.

Sunday: Little Brother and Homeland by GoH Cory Doctorow.

Cory Doctorow’s books are available as free e-books on his website. (Read this if you want to donate.)