Convention Report: SteamCon 2013

Steampunk Superwoman, Batwoman, and Poison Ivy. Taken at Steamcon.

One of the joys of SteamCon is the wealth of costumes. These lovely ladies were at my last panel, the one on cryptozoological expeditions. Supposedly there was a steampunk Wonder Woman there too, but I never spotted her.

Lisa Mantchev described it best when she Tweeted: I’ve never actually been run over by a Zamboni full of glitter, but that’s what it feels like after a really great convention.

That’s how SteamCon was. I arrived Friday afternoon for the Steampunk Reimagines Fairy Tales. This was a writing-focused panel, and I’d like to see future SteamCons make a wider space for a writing track, since this was jam-packed with attendees. Lisa Mantchev was our excellent moderator, and J.R. Boyett, a fellow participant in the FairyPunk project, was another panelist. We talked about how to create stories that best take advantage of the steampunk setting, without making it seem as though you’re just gluing a gear on it.

Later that evening, I had the first of my three panels on Victorian explorers. This was the best of them, because it focused on women explorers, and that’s an area I am reasonably well-read in, because I love some of those stories so much. That session included moderator Carmen Beaudry, Lori Edwards and another exquisitely garbed woman whose name, unfortunately, I didn’t catch. It was AWESOME and we all had a lovely time. I’ll mention some of the names we touched on, and urge you to go look these ladies and their amazing stories up: Harriet Chalmers Adams, Gertrude Bell, Isabelle Eberhardt, Mary Kingsley, Annie Smith Peck, May French Sheldon, and Lady Hester Stanhope, among many others.

Saturday was two more panels on expeditions, first one with Joshua Merrill-Nach on Great Quests of the 19th Century and later one on cryptozooological expeditions with a last minute substitute panelist whose name I know only as “Sean,” unfortunately, but who was terrific. Both panels were pretty full, the second one standing room only.

Sunday morning, I read from “Her Windowed Eyes, Her Chambered Heart” to a small but select audience that included the fabulous Sandra M. Odell. And then I made one last pass through the wonders of the dealer’s room and retreated home. Adieu glitter and goggles!

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About Cat

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches by the shores of an eagle-haunted lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov's, Clarkesworld Magazine, and the magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Her story, "Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain," from her collection Near + Far (Hydra House Books), was a 2012 Nebula nominee. Her editorship of Fantasy Magazine earned her a World Fantasy Award nomination in 2012. She is the current President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). She is currently working on Exiles of Tabat, the third book of the Tabat Quartet. A new story collection, Neither Here Nor There, appears from Hydra House this fall.
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