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Interviewing the AH Community: Nick Ottens of Never Was Magazine

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
That's a good question on steampunk's bigger gender parity. I'm assuming it's down to this point: "many people coming to steampunk through art, DIY, fashion and events, and only then discovering the literature, whereas straight-up alternate history is almost entirely literary." Multiple points of entry for steampunk, some in areas women have tended to dominate (and in events case, are social), and you don't have to know much to enter as the immediate appeal is the aesthetics, so you can attract more people.
 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
(I wonder if you could do an AH event like the steampunk ones? People dress up and hang around a replicated AH setting. One that's preferably not a depressing one, "so the Nazis won, lads, and if you can identify who at the event is SS-GB you win £50")
 

Gary Oswald

Old and Foolish now
Sea Lion Press staff
Pronouns
he/him
That's a good question on steampunk's bigger gender parity. I'm assuming it's down to this point: "many people coming to steampunk through art, DIY, fashion and events, and only then discovering the literature, whereas straight-up alternate history is almost entirely literary." Multiple points of entry for steampunk, and some in areas women have tended to dominate (and in events case, are social) .
Sure, but like coming from fanfiction communities to AH communities the idea that a literary community would be less attractive to woman is an odd thought.

Fanfiction sites do actually contain a fair amount of pure AH, tbf. They just tend to be called 'Five things that never happened to Frederick the Great' and labelled 'RPF, slash, Frederick/Katte, Frederick/Voltaire, happy ending au'.

I think most of it in the Ah community, is self perpetuating. Women aren't going to join very male heavy spaces when they can do the same things in their own spaces.
 

Gary Oswald

Old and Foolish now
Sea Lion Press staff
Pronouns
he/him
Take for instance this story by a very old fandom friend. That's genuinely just a very good piece of straight AH. It's just she shared it in livejournal groups and fanfiction sites rather than AH forums because that's her background.

Steampunk is different because it seems to me that the two communities have much more overlap. I don't think it's a coincidence that my article writers are all male and Nick's aren't.
 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
Sure, but like coming from fanfiction communities to AH communities the idea that a literary community would be less attractive to woman is an odd thought.
I'd definitely disagree the literary part is the problem per say. Possibly more that to fully get everything from it, you'd need to know at least something about the original history (same with fanfic AUs) and that's a barrier to people in general.

And if places like AO3 are doing regular AH, we need to rethink a lot because that means AH The Community is heavily male but there's another one elsewhere not calling itself that (and means AH The Target Demographic For Sales is larger if it can be exploited!)
 
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