This past weekend, Madame Rowdy’s Traveling Infoshoppe attended Teslacon 3, Madison’s immersion Steampunk Convention. As an off-shoot of the Madison Infoshop, Madame Rowdy and her Victorian Luddite sidekick Ollie distributed a collection of zines assembled specifically for a politically-curious steampunk crowd. Zines were filled with essays on race and identity, radical history, and viewing the genre through critical lenses. Many essays hailed from blogs such as Beyond Victoriana and Steampunk Emma Goldman, or were borrowed with permissions from Steampunk Magazine (an anachro-anarcho favorite!). Many steampunkers were thrilled to be presented with free radical literature, and we had some fun interacting with bourgeoisie in-character. A near mutiny arose when the Queen herself toured the spaceship upon which we were traveling — punks, vagabonds, and airship pirates barraged her with shouts of “Death to the Empire!”
Our favorite steampunk union, the Airship Workers of the World, distributed posters calling for decent conditions for steerage and the ship’s crew, and an uprising of the Ninety-nine Hundredths. They shared with us and other con-goers their union-made patches, a must-have for any socially progressive steampunk. We were also happy to support the folks at Combustion Books, who shared their talents and knowledge of period card games and Victorian sex-ed. They even cured a few of the con’s elite of their fascism using tesla-coil electro-shock therapy!
Zine titles available through Madame Rowdy’s Traveling Infoshop include:
- “Steampunk and Identity” by various authors
- “A Healthy Alternative to Fascism” by Steampunk Emma Goldman
- “Anti-fascist Deiselpunk” by P. Djeli Clark
- “Asians in the Americas” by Ay-leen the Peacemaker
- “Boldly into our Patina’d Future: How Speampunk Can (Help) Save the World” by Margaret Killjoy
- “Bombing Victoria: A Story of Fenian Dynamiters & British Intelligence” by Kevin Mullens
- “Fiesty Ladies of the 19th Century” by various authors
- “From the Wilds of America: Analyzing the Idea of ‘British Colonial America’ in Steampunk” by Ay-leen the Peacemaker
- “On the Atrocities Administered in Appalachia: A Primer on Mountain Top Removal Coal Mining” by Madame Rowdy
- “My Machine, My Comrade” by Professor Calamity
- “On Race and Steampunk” by Jaymee Goh
- “Steampunks Around the World Unite: Multiculturalism in Steampunk” by Ay-leen the Peacemaker
- “Knights of the Road: The Dawn and the Rise of the Tramp Printer” by Charles Eberhardt
- “What Then, Is Steampunk?” by various authors
- “To the Tramps” by Lucy Parsons
Extra zines will be available at the Madison Infoshop kiosk at Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative. For digital copies, or to recommend zines or essays, please get in touch with Madame Rowdy at firstname.lastname@example.org. Perhaps she’ll get one of her automatons to turn them into .pdfs and make them available at the Madison Infoshop digital library…. someday.
Also available at Rainbow Bookstore shortly will be a collection of works from Combustion Books, including the recently debuted A Steampunk’s Guide to Sex, as well as A Steampunk’s Guide to the Apocalypse, White is the Color of Death, and Catastrophone Orchestra. We’ve had our noses in these books since getting a hold of ’em! And as usual, Steampunk Magazine is almost always available at our favorite radical bookstore.
Update 12/7/12: Madame Rowdy’s Traveling Infoshoppe’s zines are now available at the Madison Infoshop Digital Zine Library! Check ’em out!