01 July 2013

Steampunk and other such things

 Steampunk: what you may not know

For just about anyone that is interested in anything Turn of the Century, you may or may not be familiar with the term "steam punk". For those of you who are unfamiliar with this term, here's a little video that may answer some questions:

Okay, now that this one singular interpretation of the word "steampunk" I am here to clear up a few things! While each different author or creator in the steampunk genre have their own view on what the definition of "steampunk" is, we can all agree on one thing: retro-futurism. 

I know some of you are looking at this word and wondering what on Earth that could possibly mean. Let me clear it up for you - or elsewise confuse you just a little bit more. retro-futurism can mean either of two things (and often both at the same time). The first thing retro-futurism refers to is this "what would the future look like if it were designed by the great Turn of the Century thinkers?" Namely, the future as Edison, Tesla, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Edgar Rice Burroughs saw it.  The second, and possibly more controversial view of retro-futurism, is a future built of reflections on the Turn of the Century. 

"Purists" who consider themselves "true steam punks" tend to lean more toward the first definition. These steampunks focus more on the "steam" than the "punk" part of their cultural name, and, in fact, will even go so far as to get on people's cases about whether dieselpunk isn't an entirely different sub-culture than steampunk, even though they exist in the same era, and a diesel engine works the exact same as a steam engine, just with a different fuel. These people are the ones that seem to simply relive the late 19th century with large fancy machinery. This is best reflected in the film Steamboy - which, if you've ever watched it, is pretty self-explanitory on this front.

The other group tend to put more emphasis on the word "punk" than the word "steam", not really caring about sub-sub-cultures. These are the overly creative ones that create an alternite reality where steam age devices still function and airships still roam the sky. The most prevelant in this group seem to be in the music field. Abney Park, for instance , even go so far as to create an entire back story for their band which explains their sudden transition into the steampunk culture.

These two groups, however, intermingle frequently and, in spite of many contentions on the subject of all things concerning steam and punks, they still manage to have a good time. 

For further explaination on the steampunk culture, or if you're interested in getting more involved in the steampunk genre, I'd recommend the following two websites:

The World of the Shadow Cast

 Now, in spite of all this bickering between the purist steam punks and the jazzy fun-loving steam punks, there's a class that seems to pretty much get shunned by steampunks with a shrug of "well, I don't think that really counts." This narrow-minded view of steampunkery leaves a good number of stories and creative works that might be considered steampunk outside the realm of steampunkery. Take, for example, my world.

The Shadow Cast Chronicles, as you may know, takes place "less steam, more punk" retro-futuristic/alternate-reality society. For those of you still thinking that the stemapunk genre is what happens when goths discover the color brown, you might be a little surprised by the brilliant colors and flavorful characters in my stories. You may even think that my world would be better classified under the catagory "cyberpunk", but that's where I'd like to tell you that you're, sadly, mistaken. (Cyberpunk is a topic for another time, so don't even get me started.)  Allow me to share with you some fantastic little peaks at things you might find in my world:


 In conclusion, I suppose what I'm trying to say is: if you're looking for a simple definition of steampunk, you're looking in the wrong place.

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