By now, you’re all probably tired of hearing about Spaceglam. You’ve likely seen all the young dudes in sequined jumpsuits and screw-down hairdos at science fiction conventions. You may have read Simon Sleek’s Diamond-Dimple Starboy trilogy. Spaceglam is big stuff these days; rumor has it, even David Bowie thinks it’s pretty cool. But for those of you who are still unaware of this scintillating sub-genre, here’s a quick introduction.
Spaceglam is a love of a future that is already impossible, but fabulous anyhow. Spaceglammers (or spacers, glammers, glitterstarlings, future-retroists or whatever you want to call them) are not content with a cold, mechanized view of the future but prefer a flashy, sparkling, skinny, androgynous vision of the 1960s and 70s. “We spacers live in a tight-fitting, beautiful never-never, an interplanetary disco full of velvet sexbots and rayguns shaped like golden boy-parts,” says Roxie Asteroid of Fresno, CA.
The origin of their movement is a matter of debate; some cite Michael Moorcock’s Jerry Corneilus novels, others credit Syd Barret, Zolar X or the early works of Stanley Kubrick. “No, it begins and ends with Barbarella, for me,” says Steve “Astrid Ladycakes” McKinney, noted Theremin player for The Translucent Rocket Lads. “I mean, Duran Duran, right? Need I say more?”
Despite its growing popularity, many glammers insist they are not part of a fad. On his blog, SilverLoveMotherShip.com, Simon Sleek writes: “I’ve been like this as far back as I can remember. I would steal my parents’ cocaine and watch Space:1999 in a kimono when about five years old. It’s part of me. These kids you see nowadays, with their WalMart eyeliner, gluing cheap glitter on mullet wigs, making ‘Uranus’ jokes. They’re not real Spaceglam. I mean, if you aren’t going to do it right and take it seriously, go make up your own retro-geek combo. Go dress like a Victorian grease monkey or something.”
A growing number decry this sort of criticism as elitism. “So what if I buy my sequined eye-patch at Hot Topic?” Buzz Warhol wrote in response to Sleek’s post. “So what if I steal my grandmother’s shoes and spray-painted gold moons on them? So what if I’m not actually bisexual or alien? So what if Parliament Funkadelic scares me a little? Who are you to say what is and what isn’t spacey?”
Whenever rules replace innovation, it can be difficult to assess whether a subgenre is fading away or simply stratifying and solidifying its reputation. Straining for a sense of definable authenticity can, in and of itself, kill the momentum. Only time and hairspray supplies will tell whether Spaceglam has staying power or is merely a bright, swanning supernova.