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K.W. Jeter and the Birth of Steampunk

“Personally, I think Victorian fantasies are going to be the next big thing, as long as we can come up with a fitting collective term for Powers, Blaylock and myself. Something based on the appropriate technology of that era; like ‘steampunks,’ perhaps….”

Letters of Note pins the term steampunk to a letter from sci-fi author K.W. Jeter in 1987.

K.W. Jeter!  He came to a party at our house in Beaverton, Oregon, probably about 1989 or 1990.  Steve Miller (not that Steve Miller) and I were living in a duplex and I believe the occasion was our annual clambake. (Like every other year, it was clam-free.) I’d never hear of Jeter, and that was the only time I met him. He was a pleasant, if reserved, guy.

Farewell Horizontal had just come out — that was 1989, I see — and after somebody tipped me off that Jeter was an author I read the book and found it quite engrossing.  I had no idea of the Philip K. Dick connection at the time

Now I have to go back and read Jeter’s steampunk novels, which were reissued last year.

Also, I had no idea steampunk was a 24-year-old concept. I thought it was a hipster thing from 5 or 6 years ago.

This has been the sci-fi Writer’s Journal for a Saturday.  Be well, do good work, and stay vertical.


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