1.- The interviewee
G. D. Falksen is an author, lecturer, public speaker, and MC. He also studies history and blogs for Tor.com. While his repertoire spans a range of topics, he is currently most noted for his steampunk work and is one of the most recognizable figures in the steampunk literary genre and the related subculture. He is the author of The Hellfire Chronicles series, which includes Blood In The Skies and Ash On The Wind, and the Ouroboros Cycle series.
2.- Steampunk as literary genre and… subculture?
Q.- Your article ‘Steampunk 101’ is one of the most popular introductory pieces to the genre. You begin this blog post stating that ‘in three short words, steampunk is Victorian science fiction’. This may be an excellent way to describe Steampunk in a few words, but we would like to go a bit further. We could not help but notice that your official bio goes ‘he is currently most noted for his steampunk work and is one of the most recognizable figures in the steampunk literary genre and the related subculture’. In your opinion, is there a real Steampunk subculture at present?
G. D. Falksen (G. D.).- Yes, I feel that there is absolutely a steampunk subculture. Steampunk fans have developed a very real and thriving worldwide community with a shared sense of identity and common interests. Steampunk has fashion and music, art and literature, and I think it truly can be called a subculture.
Q.- In 2011 we wrote a blog post entitled ‘Steampunk raison d’être: it’s all about values’. Which values do you think that could be considered characteristic of Steampunk?
G.D.- Obviously specifics will vary from person to person, but I there is very much a shared love of art, history, and craftsmanship. In my experience, fans of steampunk are polite and creative, and they believe in getting along with others.
Q.- Your most recent novel, The Ouroboros Cycle Book One: A Monster’s Coming-Of-Age Story is receiving really positive reviews and we know that you are very satisfied with the result. When will the next book of the cycle, A Cautionary Tale For Young Vampires, see the light? Is there any other forthcoming release that we should keep in mind?
G.D.- A Cautionary Tale For Young Vampires is planned for release in 2014, and the third book in the series will follow in 2015.
Q.- The Ouroboros Cycle Book One: A Monster’s Coming-Of-Age Story is a fully illustrated paranormal adventure with vampires, werewolves, cults, science, intrigue… has anyone told you that this could be very close to Steamgoth?
G.D.- I like to describe A Monster’s Coming-Of-Age Story as a paranormal adventure story, so it certainly draws upon influences such as Victorian Gothic and classic adventure tales along with historical fiction.
Q.- Due to our attendance to Wave Gotik Treffen 2013 we have been exploring Steamgoth recently. As historian, you have paid attention to the darker side of the Victorian era in the past, for example with articles like ‘Steampunk and History’. Do you think that there could be room for the development of Steamgoth as autonomous movement?
G.D.- It’s certainly a possibility. It really depends on whether people interested in both steampunk and Gothic themes feel the need to develop a distinct subculture rather than existing as fans of both genres. And honestly, that’s entirely their decision: there’s neither a right nor a wrong choice in that regard. Though there is certainly ample room for exploring the darker side of the Victorian Era in steampunk.
Q.- You have been speaker in many events and lecturing is a frequent activity in your agenda; fortunately there is no need to choose but, if you had to do it, which Steampunk event would be absolutely indispensable for you?
G.D.- I honestly would feel wrong playing favorites. There are just so many wonderful ones out there.
Q.- We know that you have experience working for the videogame industry. Knowing that developing videogames is almost script writing, may we expect any future project for the cinema industry? If you had the chance to see one of your literary works transformed into a movie, which one would be the perfect choice?
G.D.- It’s always a possibility, but my primary focus has always been prose fiction. So while I expect I will do more script work at some point in my career, I don’t think it will ever eclipse my novel-writing work. If I were to have any of my current works adapted into film right now it would definitely be The Ouroboros Cycle. It’s been the result of over ten years of work and I would love to see a really good movie adaptation of it at some point.
3.- The importance of Steampunk jewelry
Q.- You have a very active presence in social media, making the most of these resources to communicate with your fans and share your inspiration sources (like we do). A glance at your Pinterest account, for example, will suffice to realize that you a pay meticulous attention to the detail and it is also obvious that jewelry has a place in the universes you create. How should Steampunk jewelry be from your point of view?
G.D.- I think it’s important that people realize and appreciate the level of fine detail and adornment that existed in the 19th and early 20th centuries. For fans of steampunk, I think jewelry really is an incredible accessory option that should definitely be explored. In addition to staples like earrings, rings, and necklaces, tie/cravat pins and lapel pins are wonderful options.
Q.- ‘If you’re afraid that your outfit is “too Victorian” you’re probably doing it right’, you said in 2008. We agree with you and think that 19th century jewelry should be point of departure for Steampunk-inspired jewels. Which other influences would you point out?
G.D.- I quite agree. Jewelry has the ability to tie an outfit together in wonderfully subtle ways. More generally, I think all forms and styles of 19th century fashion should be kept in mind. In addition to suits and dresses, there are shoes to be considered, hats, gloves, eyeglasses, ties, scarves, etc. My advice has always been to “start Victorian and then add” when constructing a steampunk outfit. Find historical imagery that you like and would like to copy, then modify for embellish to taste.
Q.- Would you dare to describe Steampunk jewelry with a single word?
G.D.- I always hesitate to describe anything so complex and diverse in only a single word, but if I were to try I would probably say “elegance”.
Q.- Would you tell us a bit about the ‘Falksen Fox Charm’? Have you ever considered the possibility of designing jewelry?
G.D.- The fox has always been a favorite animal of mine and its symbolism as a clever trickster creature is just so appealing. When I was speaking with RockLove about doing a charm associated with me, the fox was the obvious choice.
Q.- Do you think that there is a place for Steampunk fine jewelry?
G.D.- No doubt about it. The wonder, creativity, and beauty inherent in steampunk makes fine jewelry a natural fit.
Q.- Some of your portrayals are among the most popular images to represent the Steampunk aesthetics and anyone can clearly see that you care about your attire. We are convinced that jewelry for men deserves to be brought into focus (this is why we designed our Sky Captain Series, nominated to this year’s Steampunk Chronicle Reader’s Choice Awards). Should jewelry for men receive more attention?
G.D.- One of the tragedies about modern fashion is that men are often discouraged from taking pride in their appearance. But historically men have always cared greatly about their appearance and have worn jewelry and accessories. Just going back to the 19th century, it was normal for men to adorn themselves with watches, rings, tie pins, and lapel pins, and I would love to see them revived today.
Q.- May jewelry for men recover the importance that it had in other periods of history?
G.D.- I certainly hope so.
Q.- Thank you so much for giving us this opportunity to exchange opinions with you, just one last question to bring this interview to an end. Is there anything else you would like to add?
G.D.- I’d like to encourage people to explore the things that they love. Steampunk is such a large and diverse topic that there really is room for every fan to find what they love about it.
Disclaimer.- The opinions or statements expressed in this interview are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views of Decimononic.
3.- Next interviewee!
On the 15th of June we are publishing the interview for Aleksei Sigaev, a master jeweler who lives in Moscow. He is a member of the Creative Union of Artists of Russia and the winner of the National Competition in Jewelry Design “Golden Constellation” 2002. In addition, he is very well known for his ‘modding’ skills. He is an active member of the Russian ‘Steampunk’ community and many of his creations can be found at Steampunker.ru.
Remember that all the published interviews are available for your delight: ‘Steampunk jewelry tonight with…’ the brief interviews series by Decimononic.