Seaside holidays are today a common way for many people to pass their summer vacation. What many probably don’t know is that the summer vacation we envision today, with children playing on and with the sand, people bathing or walking along promenades and piers, are all traditions rooted in nineteenth-century England. Continue reading “Victorian Seaside Resorts”
It’s nearly summer and so the convention season is upon us! Certainly there are conventions all year long, but convention activity really reaches its peak during summer.
At conventions, a lot of people want to do something special, like portraying a loved character but in a steampunk way or using an existing setting (Star Wars, Star Trek, Dr Who) and giving it their very own steampunk twist. Why ever should you not be a steampunk Jedi or Starfleet officer or whatever else you love? Continue reading “Steampunk Your Convention Costume”
People who are drawn to the steampunk and dieselpunk movements often forget that there is more to these genres than the Anglo-Saxon interpretations in film and writing. Continue reading “Iberoamerica: The Lost World”
Sucker Punch tells the story of Babydoll, who, after the death of her mother, ends up in Lennox House for the mentally insane due to the machinations of her evil stepfather.
It becomes quite clear from the start that if she wants to survive with her cranial capacities intact, she’ll have to escape. Enlisting the friends of fellow inmates Rocket, Blondie, Amber and the reluctant Sweet Pea, she starts on a mission to gather items that will aid them in their escape.
To help her in all of this, Sweet Pea withdraws into her own fantasy world, which seems to be some kind of parallel to the grimy reality she really tries to survive in. Continue reading “Sucker Punch”
A fine example of a movie you either love or hate, Wild Wild West (based on the series from years previously, albeit in parody style) will strike your fancy or be written off as complete tripe.
The year is 1869 and the Civil War has just ended. That doesn’t mean that all of the Confederates have given up, though. Led by Dr Loveless, who is literally half the man he once was because of the war, and his futuristic steampunk technology, they plan to take out President Ulysses Grant and claim rulership over the reunited states of America. Continue reading “Wild Wild West”
Half a decade before the first experiments of the Wright Brothers, a wave of unlikely airship sightings spread across the American Midwest in an incident that has become known as the Great Airship Scare. It was America’s first big UFO craze. Continue reading “The Great Airship Scare”
Tor.com‘s Steampunk Month is over. For the last four weeks, the website has published an impressive collection of artwork, essays and fiction that has kept us thoroughly entertained.
About midway through, one article appeared I would like to comment on.
In “There is Totally Punk in Steampunk” Jaymee Goh writes about how the ‘punk suffix relates to the genre and the developing subculture that we understand today under the banner of “steampunk.” Continue reading “Get Your Punk Out of My Steam”
During the reign of Victoria, the women’s suffrage movement began and, shortly after her death, culminated in women receiving the same legal right to vote as men. It was a landmark period in history for thinking about gender equity. Informed by such works as A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, written by Mary Wollstonecraft almost a half century prior to the Victorian era, it spawned such well-known feminist thinkers as John Stuart Mill, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward and Florence Fenwick Miller. In spite of the oppressive atmosphere created by a focus on eradicating “vice” via the Comstock Laws and other means, as well as the caricature of women as weak and feeble-minded by many scientists of the day, women were making strides toward being recognized as equal to men and having autonomy.
This is the historical background which inspires much of steampunk fiction and we should take its lessons to heart when building our steampunk community. Continue reading “Battle of the Sexes: How Steampunk Should Be Informed by Feminism”
As we continue to be intrigued by the question, what defines steampunk? in anticipation of the Great Steampunk Debate to be launched next May, SteamPunk Magazine linked to an interesting contribution by one Kevin Steil at the blog Airship Ambassador entitled “Steampunk is … Reaction, Rebellion, Resolution.” Continue reading “Reaction, Rebellion, Resolution”
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”