Steampunk was a constant buzz at The Write Stuff, a writer's conference in Pennsylvania this past weekend. I'm on my way home from it now, a little worn out but definitely charged up. I attended pre-conference workshops by Donald Maass, author of Writing The Breakout Novel and The Fire in Fiction -- really great experiences for my own writing -- but every steampunk fan would have been thrilled by the excitement about the genre throughout the conference. It wasn't just from authors, either. The head of one publishing house wrote about how steampunk was her personal new passion and was working on several projects in the genre. A literary agent for one of the largest New York agencies commented on the surging interest in the genre shortly before adding, "Right now, if you have the best-written vampire novel the world has ever seen, you still probably won't get it published."
Back in the mid-1980s the Academy of Game Critics -- a much more laid-back collection of folks than their name suggested -- gave out satirical awards to new games, awards of a decidedly negative character. When Space: 1889 came out, they gave it the "Strontium 90 Award," for the game concept having the shortest half-life. Who would ever remember such an off-beat concept in twenty-five years?