Parliament and Wake

Parliament and Wake is a website that features a series of incomplete books that explore the outer reaches of their Steampunk world. The stories are entertaining to read and accompanied with some fantastic Steampunk fashion photography. The website is updated often with new segments to ongoing sagas, so it’s worth visiting often.

Here’s the lead photo on Part Four of the Fenn Cycle, published on the 27th of December:

But what really attracts me to Parliament and Wake is their take on Steampunk philosophy. The believe, as I do, that the “punk” in Steampunk is more than just a powerless suffix. In their section entitled, “Are We Steampunk?” they have this to say about the political lens through which they view Steampunk. This is just a segment of a larger article on the topic, but this is the heart of their argument:

… we understand that people want to dress up as airship captains because it’s escapist and fun. Go for it, have your costume contests and carry around all your guns. We just want you not to stop there. Think, even if it’s just for thirty seconds while you’re adjusting your goggles, whether it might not be worthwhile to be a little bit “punk.” Go tear down a minor tyrant who tells you that you can’t wear a 20th century helmet and still be Steampunk. See how it feels. We bet you’ll like it. Maybe you’ll like it so much that you’ll decide you’d like to take on some bigger tyrants too. Maybe you’ll start wondering why we tolerate the existence of a company like BP, and whether tax cuts for bankers when 10% of the United States is unemployed are a good idea. Maybe you’ll want to tear a little bit at the belly of a social behemoth while you’re throwing your pageant for its grand, decrepit, so-called golden ages.

Any group that promotes the arts and political awareness is sure to get my vote of confidence, and I’m happy to say that Parliament and Wake definitely fits the bill. You can follow their every developing stories through their website, and connect to them through Facebook.

4 comments on “Parliament and Wake

  1. Larry says:

    Very cool site. Thanks!

  2. Rhianon Jameson says:

    It’s hard to object to the desire to make the “punk” part of “Steampunk” more operational. I’m not sure that it serves the community to limit political awareness to fuzzy left-wing talking points, though. “Maybe you’ll start wondering why we tolerate the existence of a company like BP…” For a group concerned about confronting “tyranny,” a phrase like “tolerate the existence of” should set off some warning bell, but it seems to be said with no sense of irony. (And, for all of BP’s faults, would you rather have a $100 billion company spill oil – BP has already spent $40 billion in its cleanup effort – or a $10 billion company, as the latter, in the face of a $40 billion+ mess, would simply declare bankruptcy and leave the problem to someone else.)

    Similarly, “whether tax cuts for bankers…are a good idea” might be a good thing to ponder, but the answer isn’t obvious to me.

    Combining fiction and political activism isn’t a horrible thing, but it tends to be fraught with danger, particularly when good fiction writers are not necessarily incisive political (or economic) thinkers.

    • aeflint says:

      I don’t think that Parliament and Wake’s definition of political Steampunk is the only definition therein, nor is it the encompassing expression of the Punk and Steampunk. It’s one of many views, and as a portion of the larger discourse, what they have to say is valid.

      I also hesitate to agree with you on the danger of combing fiction and political activism. Some of my favorite pieces of fiction from 1984 to many of the works of Alan Moore are potent political fiction pieces. Many fiction writers are not necessarily concerned with political or economic issues, but some are, and some are able to express those concerns in an entertaining and thought provoking way that combines politics and good writing.

      Being a fiction writer does not necessarily exclude one from being able to formulate an intelligent political or economic opinion.

      • Larry says:

        Mr Jameson, sir. I have serious concerns about your last statement concerning fiction and activism. Since, we’re talking steampunk here, take the Victorian era classic, Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Stowe, for example. As Abraham Lincoln said when he met the author, “So this is the little lady who started this great war.” Or the 1906 (still within the era for steampunk) novel “The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair in which there is no doubt about it’s great affects on society. Yes, fiction and activism goes very well.

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