1.- The interviewee
Austin Sirkin, a scholar and writer who has been studying the Steampunk movement for nearly a decade, and is one of the world’s leading experts on it. His work can be found in various blogs around the internet, as well as in the recent anthology Steampunk III: Steampunk Revolution
2.- Steampunk beyond conventionalisms
Q.- Austin, we love your sense of humour (try reading ‘15 Types Of Annoying Steampunks’ without smiling) and your irreverent approach to Steampunk because we are convinced that a fresh look is essential in order to develop a deeper and wider vision. You have been involved in the US Steampunk scene since 2006 with a prolific activity as divulgator: blogger, columnist, panelist, podcaster… Why is Steampunk so attractive for you?
Austin Sirkin (AS).- Thank you! I think that when you get involved with something you love a lot, it’s easy to lose your sense of humor. Since no one is making tons of money on Steampunk, everyone is involved because they love it. That can lead to a lot of ruffled feathers! As a result, I always try to include my sense of humor in anything I write so as to bring some smiles back into what can be an awfully upsetting dialogue for many.
Steampunk is attractive to me for a variety of reasons. First of all, I grew up reading as much sci-fi and fantasy as I could get my hands on, among which were the classics by Verne and Wells. I also grew up watching reruns of The Wild, Wild West, so I’ve always had an interest in Steampunk since before I even knew that it was a “thing”. Second, my clothing preferences have always leaned toward the fancy and Victorian, so when I discovered Steampunk, it was sort of a natural fit. Third, for the longest time, I wanted to be more involved in costuming, but until Steampunk took hold, it was exceedingly rare to find someone cosplaying a unique character. Practically everyone was dressed up as a character from a movie, or a TV show, or a comic book, or whatever, and let me tell you how hard it is to find characters in popular media that are a little on the heavyset side who have a goatee and glasses; it’s extremely hard! So when the metaphorical Steampunk ship pulled up with the prospect of cosplaying unique characters, I jumped right on board!