|TL;DR: Steampunk Universe, as it exists, has a few potential issues. I want to hear your thoughts about these issues along with possible solutions - or if we’re just imagining it. Enter your comments into the Google form (requires sign in) at http://goo.gl/forms/tS0MHsJXCPhRi87F2 or send an e-mail to email@example.com . We are on a bit of a time-schedule here; while I'm accepting comments through Friday, the earlier the better.
Let me remember that the impact of criticism is often not the intent of the critic,
but when the intent is evil, that’s what the block button’s for.
And when I eat my critique, let me be able to separate out the good advice from the bitter herbs.
And that advice is what brings me to you today.
Steampunk World addressed a very specific problem in a very specific subgenre that was still gaining in popularity. Likewise, there was a growing popular demand for representation of people of color in all types of fiction - and steampunk was as near-perfect an example as you could find where that needed to happen, and loudly.
Though Sarah and I recognized the need for Steampunk World, we were nervous. We’re both white, so we were concerned that others would misinterpret our efforts as exploitative. But we did not see anyone else doing a collection like we were doing, and saw how excited others were about the idea. So we did it, despite our fears.
And its success - not just for itself, but in the success of other anthologies, films, and more both featuring and edited and written by people of color - is exactly what we hoped for. Our goal was to kick down the door and change what steampunk meant for others.
So when we approached Steampunk Universe, we explicitly did not want to do the same thing. And that led us to focusing on disabled and aneurotypical people - another category of people who are rarely featured in fiction outside of the occasional use of stereotype, as Abed points out here: