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In Defence of Steampunk, the Pastoral and Empire  
04:46pm 28/10/2010

So I have seen the recent blog entries, and I have heard the baying of the hounds calling for my head, and the head of any other who vaunt such corpora of literature as steampunk or fantasy, though the calls may come from brothers in arms of the speculative realm. There is an issue here that I must needs address, and now I come to it: I have heard enough of this rodent speech, these vagrant's lies and ne'er-do-well's slander! I have had enough of this empire bashing!

Do they who slander the noble concepts of imperialism and hierarchy truly understand what they critique? Are they unaware of both the natural slide in history towards the imperial ideal, and against whatever fantasy they conjure up to tell themselves that they, indeed, live in the best of all possible worlds? Let me tell you something about empires - the achievements we take for granted, the works of art that steal our breath away, the grand histories that inspire and warn us; without empire, these simply would not have been.

Do we stand in awe of the arc de triomphe? Do we not marvel at St. Peter's Square, or stare in hushed silence at the grandeur of the Taj Mahal? These achievements of architecture would not have been possible if not for the noble vision of great families, seeing in history and in their resources the opportunity to make something tremendous, powerful, nay, transcendental with the work of mere mortals' hands!

But perhaps architecture speaks to too little? Where would the arts be without the patronage of royals? Where would the sciences be without the leisure opportunities of the ruling classes affording the masters of mankind the luxury of speculation and investigation, the capital to endeavour with bold, new instruments to explore the mysteries of the natural realm? Whether 'twas by heredity or lording of industry (two spheres that are not distantly related), we have naught but empire to blame for the great things we enjoy!

As the ideal of the empire was muddied with populist misconceptions, subjugated in equal parts to both "the market" and "the proletariat," the quality and endurance of all these achievements have deteriorated. We've watched as grand cathedrals were replaced with anonymous glass obelisks, as rich poesy has been reduced to minimalist doggerel.

And the sciences, yes, the sciences, you might say, have made life so swell for all! They have given industry such unparalleled opportunities, brought discovery to such unknown heights! And to that I must say you could have a point. We cure diseases, even as we come to trademark brand new and unconquerable ones. We derive through alchemy and slavery new wonders that we send out to the masses, that we placate them with, that we use to convince them that all's right in the world – and the dross left behind from our philosopher's stone comes in the mercury-blighted waters, the toxin drenched soils, the dead-eyed gaze of small, brown children half the world over that we ignore as we relish our rare-earth minerals and precarious perch on the top of the economic heap. Oh, what opportunities science has indeed afforded us, and what leaps forward we've made!

Perhaps you are catching on to how I speak persistently in the collective first person, that I do not exclude myself and my ilk from participation in these forces, equally terrible and wonderful in the mind of the rabble? I do this with purpose; I do this to address the greatest conceit in all of these miscreants' accusations, that namely being that the imperial paradigm has somehow been displaced. Oh, yes, dynasties will rise and fall; fortunes will be won and lost through marriage, market and massacre! What, praytel, for an instant makes us think that the way things were are not the way they still are? Did China grow powerful through democratisation? Was it not its naked imperial aspirations, and its due treatment of the hoi polloi precisely what has ingratiated it to the West so much, as to ultimately bring it to a place of economic supremacy? And what about the West? Has it not been our transnational subjugation of indigenous peoples, our economic spheres of influence in the "developing" world that have allowed our longevity to increase, our comforts to mollycoddle us into oblivion (and in your dissent, I hear softly that assumption that a longer life is a better life – again, what rubbish!)?

And at what cost, you might wonder, have our supposed empire-free great leaps forward come? Have you seen the hacked and scarred remains of the world we've left behind? The environmental tolls that were simply impossible to rack up in the world gone by? None of this affects me, of course, but I am of this ilk that you purport to loathe. Yet I agree, in the grandest way, that there should be no reigning in of science and industry! But what utter hypocrisy to say, that in liberating these things, we must somehow shackle the will of the ruling elite? I say it is both hypocritical and foolish, for the ruling elite makes itself such through these very devices upon which the modern world is built, and those who aid the ruling elite in such endeavours receive the prestige of joining them as masters of the world!

Wherefore do you cry against hereditary monarchy? A monarch can manage and inspire with as much efficiency and care as any democracy, to wit, they give face to the complex that defines people's lives, and not only a face, but a purpose! And wherefore do you bemoan the yearning for the countryside? It would truly take a phenomenal disconnect from our naturalest yearnings to decry anyone's longing for a clean, uncluttered environment. It was we, in fact, who defrauded many of their lands and forced them into industrial servitude that caused the shift from rural to urban, and cause it to this very day. Again, science paved the way for making it possible, both the disenfranchisement of independent farmers, and their return to slavery in those wonderful pits in the inner-cities!

Now, again, science and commerce have conspired to draw them out from the pits, and shuffle them into suburbs and office buildings. We grow them into creatures resembling spores more than animals, and you blame them for pining for a time when they worked with their hands? We have achieved a surveillance state, which when combined with the current profound apathy,  could potentially silence all rebellion, all freedom, and all hope for eternity, and you try to blame them for looking back at times which while magnificent in their drudgery were yet hope-filled in the way that it afforded them opportunities to get back at us? Could McKinley, Franz Ferdinand, Leopold II and Empress Elisabeth have gone the way they did in this present era? Who has the energy or motivation any more!

The Victorian era was indeed kind to my kind, but we cannot take away that they were tumultuous times wherein the founding members of the INSENSÉ (as well as other groups vying for world domination) had yet to master the science of mass-herding, when the ideas of "classless society" and "historical inevitability" didn't elicit the guffaws from us that they do now. The hopes of ever escaping imperialistic machinations, too, seem to have died with empires.

And what have we now, my detractors? Do we have utopia? Is there a teleology in your transcendence-stripped metaphysic? I tell you no, this is a dystopia of the highest order, and it took great effort on our part to manufacture it this way! Is it assumed, then, that humanity is going forward, onward and upward, science leading the way? What balderdash! What a misapplied appropriation of Lord Darwin's findings, to assume that evolving means improving. Did you not read Wells's documentary notes from the future? Do you not already see the obvious cleavage of society into Moorlocks and Eloi? Do you not see how the selfsame comforts and commodities you vaunt – all made possible by our kind, mind – are creating a future bereft of achievement or hope? Do you think it will go on perpetually, that industry will always sustain itself, that economics are not a zero-sum game? Let me inform you now, despite present opinions otherwise, that all of these things are! And when that end comes – when we have twisted the Sahara into being a rainforest, and reduced the rainforests to deserts; when every last Chinaman, African, Hindustani and Latino has the consumer power and avarice of any Western Europe or Japanese bourgeoisie, do you think Earth will be able to survive?

Do you place faith in (laughter beyond laughter!) our governments or corporations to conjure the magic that will allow interstellar space travel? Certainly, my family mastered this art long ago, but let me also inform you, it will not save us! Our comforts, our commodities, they are but the fever dream that comes before the black sleep of Malthusian certainty! Why, yes, the pastoral does look rather pleasant momentarily, too, now that you ask.

So enough with decrying empire. Enough with decrying these retrospectives towards more "barbaric" and "brutal" times. I pray, too, that you see these excursions, these wish fulfillments, these fantasies precisely for what they are - the magic mirror showing true when upheld to your pristine view of the modern world, and the naïve hope you maintain that humanity will improve, and science will save us all.

I do not care whether we are saved or not; my kind do not care whether we are saved or not. We care only for power, for longevity, for our own lives against the lives of our children and grandchildren, our countrymen and those foreign to us. It matters not. Just remember still that we built this world. It is upon the bedrock of our machinations that you come to critique us from your lofty, comfortable realm of middle-class arrogance.

And it makes us laugh, and bide our time, and even, at points, pine for better days.

Vivat imperium!
August Wahnsinger

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Brooklyn Indie Market's Steampunk III – A Word from the Host  
11:06pm 25/10/2010

© 2010 Gabi Porter

Well, it looks like I've made it into some form of a media outlet or another, again. This isn't good when one is so intricately involved with a purportedly covert group bent on world domination, but perhaps I'm being too harsh on myself. Most people seemed pleased, to some extent, with my capabilities vis-à-vis introducing fashion designers and dance companies. Some people from a small, independent publication known as Time were there, as well as a couple of courteous potential test subject from Lx.tv. Among others.

The designers were delicious, the company exquisite, and I was handed a bottle of gin for my troubles, so all in all, I suppose I should thank Mr. Williams for alerting me to this event. More new media, I'm certain, shall be coming out in the following weeks with regards to all this.

Enjoy it while you can,

August "I Am a Host and You Are the Parasites!" Wahnsinger

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It’s Time Again  
07:09pm 28/09/2010

I took an extended leave starting about a year ago. It came at a friend’s suggestion. “You’re feeling stifled in this realm, August!” he said. “Go explore Andowan some more. And, errm, send me notes.”

So I did just that. I ventured to Andowan using the dimensionally-transcendent powers that are mine by birth, and I stayed a little over a year in the greatest universe that I have known. I dined with elves, hunted tyrannosaurs and even found myself in a drinking contest with Aggression himself. I lost, naturally, but it was still an incredible moment.

But I was invited back recently.

Mr. Williams said he missed me. This is highly likely, as his life is small, pathetic and trivial compared to mine. He also mentioned something about some speaking engagements. Nothing thrills me more than sharing my discoveries; I happily obliged.

This past weekend, it occurred to me that as much as I love Andowan, there is still much I can accomplish here, even from my Canadian lair (where, nonetheless, everything is just one trans-dimensional pneumatic teleportal away). So, I’m back.

I don’t think I shall be going anywhere.

The extended holiday that I wonder Mr. Williams might have had in mind was a bad idea. He needs me. I can feel it.

Yours truly, etc., etc.,

August “Overcoming Material Limitations with Scathing Sarcasm and Dramatic Irony” Wahnsinger

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At Long Last  
04:12pm 05/10/2009

This day has been forthcoming since æons untold, and now, it has arrived!


 Steampunk Tales Issue 3

In this issue, you shall behold what occurs when the strange events that define my quotidian existence conspire against me in a tale of intrigue, bloodshed, darkelves and cockney robots!

YES! You may purchase and download (for the quite reasonable price of US$1.99) Steampunk Tales, Issue 3 where in Mr. Williams's tomfoolery fails to get in the way OF MY PUBLISHING PLAN OF DOMINATION!

Here are the applicable direct links for the media that this issue is available in:



MobiReader eBook

It's also available on the Kindle if you happen to have one of those things.

At last, my plans are coming to fruition! Soon, you shall all enjoy the mirth of my writings, or suffer!

Yours truly,
August "Huzzah! What a Glorious Feat!" Wahnsinger

mood: giddygiddy
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The Calming Effect of Finishing Stories  
01:00pm 08/05/2009

It's been a while.

I've been traveling a good deal lately, but that's only the half of it. Those following my Twitter feed will note I've spent some time in Switzerland, some time in New York and New Jersey, and the other places I've visited? None of your beeswax!

But two things have chiefly occupied my time lately: the finishing of several stories and the adjustment to a tighter budget.

These stories that I have just lately formulated passable drafts for involve the recent and distant history of the illustrious organisation to which I belong – the Inter-National Society for Exploring Nature, Science and the Ésoteric (INSENSÉ). Hopefully these stories prove to be of interest, and result in nominally increased sales for the august publications that they eventually appear in.

There is the other matter of the tighter budget. It appears those fools from the Illuminati (AKA the Bud Light of shadowy organisations vying for world control) are messing around with the economy again, those bastards, and it's throwing both world governments and INSENSÉ for a bit of a loop. I had my latest grants denied, and right now INSENSÉ can't subsidise my inter-galactic pan-dimensional deathray research, either. I've had to scale back a bit, and I'd be lying if I said it hadn't thrown me for a bit of a loop.

Hopefully, hopefully, this is the end of my ætherweb-malaise, however. There have been spurts of activity, of course, but six weeks is far too long to go without proper blog updates.

By the way, I have some upcoming public appearances:

16 May – Steampunk Picnic in Central Park

5 June – Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors... the fashion show bit.

13 June - SNAP* Ultimate Alt Couture Shoot

Oh, and if you're not going to DragonCon, you might want to reconsider this decision.

That's all for now...

mood: mischievousmischievous
music: The Damned - "Love Song"
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After a Week My Full Visual Faculties Have Returned  
03:03pm 23/03/2009

...at least for now.

For those of you who had not caught wind of this yet, on Saturday I completed the first draft of a short story titled "The War Effort".

"The War Effort" follows Timo Malthusset, an Eglantran partisan fighting to liberate his homeland from the Hermangens. Timo is convinced that he is destined to wed one of the gods' messengers, thereby ensuring the gods' favour and re-establishing the covenant his people once shared with them. With the gods once again firmly on the Eglantrans side, he knows they will win the war.

When he finds the heavenly lady upon whom his heart is set, Timo pledges to serve her and win her love. Though seemingly unaffected by Timo's offer, the lady asks him to come with her. Timo journeys to a strange new realm with his beloved, but has little time to relish its wonders before he is introduced to Valnal, a red-robed messenger who is given charge over the messengers' servants. While in Valnal's custody, Timo endures horrors that eviscerate the faith he had in his war, his nation, his gods and himself.

Of course, having only completed a first draft at this juncture, the account still calls for much revision and assessment. I am generally pleased with how this tale has developed though. It stands at just under 5,000 words, and has given me a solid base with which to craft a notable piece.

I am excited about the potential here. I hope others will join me in celebrating the return of my eyesight.

Best wishes,
August "Beating Down the Dimensional Door" Wahnsinger

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Sporting Matters of the Ancestral Kind  
05:55pm 18/03/2009

I have a confession to make that may surprise some of my more esteemed colleagues who, shot through with Platonic notions about sport and physicality, might take umbrage at this statement: I enjoy English football, and I follow an English football team.

Do not look down upon me, please! For I am a fifth-generation follower of this club. They are as much a part of my birthright as my membership in the INSENSÉ, my massive fortune, and the preternatural ability to contact alternate dimensions (though truth be told, everyone has the ability to contact alternate dimensions; most people just don't). Like all good things inherited from my family, it has not come without a fair share of grievances and hardships, especially this season.

Truncated for the Friends - Click to Read On...Collapse )
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Regarding This "RaceFail" Phenomenon  
03:49pm 13/03/2009

It seems that the trickling tentacles of what has been dubbed "RaceFail '09" are stretching to the furthest limits of these ætherwebs, or at least, the portions of the ætherwebs with which I have familiarised myself, namely those dedicated to so-called speculative "fiction". Oddly enough, at the behest of several esteemed individuals, I joined the web-log and community site "LiveJournal", whence these grumblings originate, only in time to witness this rude discourse's metastisisation.

I have terribly little to say concerning the subject beside this: when it comes to humanity, my only real considerations regard what kind of test subject a specimen may make, and as any man of science will tell you, one can never judge test subjects by their ethnicity, race, religion, class or sexual preference. No, 'tis not that which is on the outside that matters, but only what is on the insides...

With that, I take my leave of you.

August "Equal Opportunity Vivisector" Wahnsinger

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Lohn Basdansir Slowly Makes His Way Into This Dimension  
10:49am 27/02/2009

Upon hearing that the representative and agent for my affairs in New York City, one Mr. Austin Williams, has finished reviewing my short-story cum novelette, "The Soulsucker of Aneuma", I decided to contact him through the psychic voxificator that I had installed in his head while he was sleeping a few years back.

"Mr. Williams", I hailed him, "how do you do?"

"August! That was quick."

"I can read your thoughts, Mr. Williams."

"Oh, yes. That thing  you put in my head several years ago."

"Yes, but let us not dwell. Now, tell me, your thoughts on Mr. Atherton's circumstances?"

"Well, August, I obviously like the premise a great deal. I mean, selling your soul for a résumé? I'm sure a lot of people can empathise with that."

"Most fortuitous. Then, did you have many troubles editing this work?"

"Yes, well, there was a lot of awkward wording here and there in what you gave me. I had to modify some things ni light of 'Chekhov's gun'."

"Such as?"

"Well, I clipped off a lot about the steel-workers brotherhood. I made Mr. Menthelon from the office a little more anonymous, as he never really shows back up again. There were other cuts, too. I took out the entire scene with the brothel–"

"You mean the succubus, because that wasn't exclusively a brothel. It also served as an opium den, and underneath, there was a temple dedicated to the lords of hell."

"Right, well, the succubus turned into succubæ, but the building itself was removed from the narrative. Umm, what else?"

"You took out the brothel!"

"But you just said it wasn't a brothel!"

"Oh, never you mind that! Now tell me what else has been removed."

"Well, I curtailed various scenes, I augmented others at points. I brought it down from around 15,000 words to just a little over 11,000."

"Those are words that shall not be replaced so easily, Williams."

He sighed. "Yes, I know, Gus, but 11,000 words is still a thousand too many for most publications."

"Hm." I huffed. "Could we serialise it?"

"That may be our best chance, but the tale really does sort of work best as a whole, y'know? "

I drummed my fingers on my easy chair.



"I don't know how open to the idea of a serial most editors would be."

"I don't either."

"I think you still need to do more revisions before we can shop this one around."

I imagined Mr. Williams standing across from me in my drawing room, his shoulders slumping, his face cast down, a slight shiver running through him as I focused my disappointment like a carefully calibrated ion beam. "Do you know how long these visions have incapacitated me, Mr. Williams?"

"Years, sir, I know, but–"

"No buts! This must be ready for publication by the morrow!"

"By tomorrow, but Gus!"

"Don't but me you hooligan reject! I asked for editorial revision that would make this a story worthy of the ages – and you come to me sobbing about having too many words!"

"I'm just telling you he truth, Gus!"

"Silence! If you cannot revise my work to satisfaction, find me someone who will!"

"I'll take it by some of the writers groups I know."


"And maybe give it to some other friends for a going-over."


"And, umm, I'll try to submit it to publications as soon as possible."


I broke off communication with Mr. Williams so he might continue his work. I was disappointed, yes. It was a setback. I even wondered if perhaps Mr. Williams's perennially low self-esteem might have gotten in the way of his proper evaluation of the work, but I had not the time to dig further.

I summoned one of my lemming butlers, and asked for a refill of my cappuccino. "Oh, and one more thing, Charles," I said, "I shall need to extend my presence on the interwebs shortly. Please see to it that I have a Live-Journal account set up."

Charles, ever the dutiful servant, obeyed. Mr. WIlliams, however, has disappointed me thus far. At least in this regard.

mood: disappointeddisappointed
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A Brief Introduction  
03:04pm 26/02/2009


You may not know who I am, but you will learn. Oh! Yes! You will learn!

My name is August Noel "Gus" Wahnsinger, but this has not always been the case. I was born Augustus Ritterman Wahnsinniger von Totenheim to a Yugoslavian soldier of fortune named Vikki. I was abandoned at an early age and raised by the voice-actor who brought Yoda to life in the Croatian version of The Empire Strikes Back. I never learned Croatian though, and to this day we have never spoken to one another.

My adoptive father, unable to bridge the language gap despite his most articulate flailing and hand gestures, felt he had no choice but to send me to the United States, which was rather difficult considering that at the time we lived in a communist country(Sweden).

I remember upon my arrival in America thinking, "Vad är det stank?" or in English "What's that smell?" It turns out, that smell was just New Jersey, where the Stature of Liberty and Ellis Island both actually reside, much to the dismay of many angry New Yorkers. Ellis Island had been closed for some time, but that didn't keep me from trying to get in there. When I was finally directed to the proper building for immigration purposes, which also just happens to be an IRS building, they still managed to butcher my name.

Around this time I began receiving messages from another world. Strange, uncanny messages. When I told them to the space-aliens who had custody of me, they said "That's absurd!" and beat me with probes so that I'd stop making up such strange stories. I wasn't making them up though, and the messages kept coming. They were messages about elves, kings, bald men with swords who lived in sewers! Oh, they were fantastic and amazing! But I couldn't find a single keyboard, typewriter or word processor on the entire spaceship! Imagine my frustration!

When I was twenty, I returned to New York City, hoping to find a way to get these messages out of my head. What I found there were plenty of Gaps and Starbuckses, but no mental disgurgitators like what I was hoping for. Daunted, bewildered, I went to the only place one could find true solace - the Bronx Zoo. There, a helpful penguin named Chester advised me to take a soul-searching trek into the wilderness, where I might finally discover my purpose.

I began wandering the American countryside, starting in Nebraska, and making my way southwestward. A few days later, I gave up on America, and decided I should seek out my other penguin friends to the far North in Canada. When I reached the Yukon, imagine my dismay to find out that penguins only live in Antarctica! I settled for befriending the local lemmings, which though rewarding, has also proven an emotionally draining and difficult experience.

I sit high upon my throne in the Canadian Rockies as I mentally project this onto the internet. I have begun the process of replicating the messages in my head so you, the consumer/editor/hot chick I'm trying to impress, may also find the meaning and life behind the words that have stained my mind all these many years.

Consider yourselves forewarned and introduced.

Yours truly,
August "Incredible Power!" Wahnsinger. Esq., Ovrlrd., etc., etc.

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October 2010  

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