Android Karenina by Ben Winters is a steampunk take on Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel and, indeed, the plot resembles the original to a great degree, with all familiar protagonists present.
They are incarnated in a way befitting a steampunk setting, though. Android Karenina is set against a high-tech steampunk background, placed in a pseudo-nineteenth-century Russia.
Continue reading “Android Karenina”
There is a gaggle of different people to be found within steampunk culture. Everyone has their own opinion about what it means to be a member of the steampunk community. Trying to find a specific mindset that unifies steampunk as a subculture can be a difficult undertaking therefore.
Continue reading “Thoughts on the Ideology of Steampunk”
Of all the steampunk novels I have read, The Dream of Perpetual Motion is the strangest and most bizarre. If I had to sum it up in one sentence it would be this: “Shakespeare’s The Tempest written in a steampunk world while Shakespeare was on a bad trip.”
Dexter Palmer draws heavily on The Tempest in his novel. The original features on several occasions and we meet strange versions of Prospero, Miranda, Caliban and Ferdinand. They are all protagonists in The Dream of Perpetual Motion to varying degrees of importance.
Continue reading “The Dream of Perpetual Motion”
I think I look at steampunk differently from most folks I run into.
To me, it’s a fandom. I am a member of steampunk fandom. When I mention this to people, especially folks who have never been a part of other fandoms, they tend to deny it.
Continue reading “The Steampunk Fandom”
I admit shaking my head whenever I read the work of a reporter proclaiming the “death of steampunk,” thinking that someone has negligently ignored his or her bosses’ deadline and found themselves scrambling for topic.
Quite to the contrary, steampunk appears to have been enjoying a slow but steady climb in popularity throughout the past half decade or so, for many reasons.
Continue reading “A Steampunk Party”
As steampunk becomes more recognized, moving further into the mainstream, questions have arisen concerning the nature of the genre and, pertinently in these politically tense times, its political persuasion, if any.
Continue reading “Steampunk: An Utopian Expression?”
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”
Reactions to the Victoriental issue of the Gatehouse Gazette (March 2010) have been pretty fierce. The opinions of those provoked by it may best be summarized by Ay-leen, who noted that using the phrase “Victorientalism” to imply a “positive, transcultural blend” of cultures is “misguided.”
Others have been less nuanced in their renunciations of what they assume to be our position.
Continue reading “In Defense of Victorientalism”
As a genre, steampunk was hardly political. Cyberpunk, in its reverence of alienated hackers and all sorts of outcasts, might carry some political weight, but the very term “steampunk” was coined as a joke (by author K.W. Jeter in 1987) and never meant to describe the sort of movement we know today.
Because of its newly-acquired subculture status, steampunk has made bold fashion and design statements, but it struggles to find an ideology. While some recognize anarchist potential in putting the “punk” back in steampunk, others emphasize that steampunk is inherently apolitical. Others yet seek a middle way by interpreting the “punk” as a broad rejection of modern-day consumerism and the loss of individualism associated with twenty-first-century industrial society.
Continue reading “Steampunk Politics Anno 2010”