Nick Ottens is the owner and editor of Never Was magazine. An historian by training, he works for an international consultancy and writes about political and international affairs for the Atlantic Sentinel.
In a discussion about the punk in steampunk at The Steampunk Forum, Vagabond GentleMan from the United States raises an interesting point: steampunk can have different meanings depending on one’s location.
Vagabond GentleMan suggests that steampunk isn’t a genuine sub- or counterculture because, unlike earlier countercultures, it isn’t just scattered but divided geographically.
When a New York hippie in the 1960s traveled to San Francisco, he “pretty much found that the West Coast hippies had the same basic sociocultural mores and the same basic ethos” that he had, according to Vagabond. When punks from Los Angeles traveled to Baltimore, “they found that though there might be some superficial differences in self-presentation or philosophy, they knew the Eastern punks were gonna ‘be about’ the same sorts of things.” Same thing with Goths.
Is steampunk more than gears and goggles? According to Pablo Vazquez, “We can’t ignore that even though the name began as a joke, we are punks through and through.”
Writing for Tor.com‘s steampunk week, Vazquez tries to postulate steampunk as an anticapitalist “revolutionary spectacle” that’s able to fill the “something” that’s supposedly missing from our worldview today.
Vazquez admits that “we can’t exactly pinpoint” what’s missing, “but we know it’s missing.” He just feels it, you know. The future looks “cold and endangered,” Vazquez adds, so we must look back at the steampunk era for inspiration. Continue reading “Are We Punks Through and Through?”
As dieselpunk is gaining popularity and recognition as a genre, dieselpunk enthusiasts are endeavoring beyond the restraints of fiction in an effort to frame a dieselpunk aesthetic, a dieselpunk culture and, ultimately, a dieselpunk philosophy.
Several months after, after the eleventh issue of this magazine, dedicated to “Victorientalism”, sparked fierce debate in the steampunk community about the genre’s complicated relationship with colonialism and race, the owners and editors of some of the community’s most prominent blogs and publications gathered to explore the possibility of organizing a “Great Steampunk Debate”, where, for a limited time, steampunk enthusiasts could come together and discuss the political side of the movement.
The debate would entail the whole of the spectrum of steampunk and ideology, with discussions ranging from the roles of class and gender in the genre to topics about the influence of anarchism and the significance of steampunk’s maker culture. Continue reading “The Great Steampunk Debate”
Steampunk has come a long way in recent years. No longer an obscure subgenre of speculative fiction, steampunk today encompasses besides literature and film, design, fashion and a community that spans worldwide. Although firmly rooted in British Victorianism, steampunk enthusiasts hail from all nations with fascinating variations on the theme being explored in France, Japan and the United States especially.
As the steampunk movement continues to grow, it is only inevitable that the many people involved in it try to shape it to their personal liking. There is no harm in that. Steampunk is a versatile concept that can adapt to different times, different places, different philosophies even. New interpretations of steampunk should always be welcomed as refreshing in the first place before we attempt to dissect or, eventually, discard of them. Continue reading “Steampunkness: A New State of Open Mind”