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”
According to the blog The Flying Fortress, there are “two flavors of dieselpunk”: a pre-nuclear “Ottensian” dieselpunk (named after me!), which revels in the bliss and progress of the 1930s, and a post-nuclear “Piecraftian” dieselpunk, which is sometimes post-apocalyptic.
Continue reading “The Meaning of Decodence”
Sam van Olffen is a talented dieselpunk artist from France whose work has been featured at exhibitions throughout the world. He kindly agreed to answer some questions about himself, his work and his thoughts about the genres his creations are associated with. Continue reading “Interview with Sam van Olffen”
Gerry Canavan has assembled a great collection at his blog of depictions of New York’s Statue of Liberty in various states of decay. We spot vintage pulp covers and posters of modern-day films such as The Day After Tomorrow (2004) and Cloverfield (2007) as well as imagery from comics and video games like Red Alert 2 (2000).
Continue reading “Lady Liberty in Ruins”
This peculiar sight is the Ješted Tower: a 94-meter tall structure on top of the Ješted Mountain near the town of Liberec in the Czech Republic.
The tower was built between 1963 and 1968 by architect Karel Hubácek. In its lower sections it houses a hotel and restaurant, the interiors of which are delightfully retro. In its upper sections are numerous transmitters for television broadcasts.
Continue reading “Ješted Tower”
This enormous double-decker train was supposed to connect the major cities of Hitler’s Germany on broad three-meter gauge tracks.
The Breitspurbahn, as it was called, was a personal pet project of Adolf Hitler’s, who enthusiastically embraced a suggestion from his building master, Fritz Todt, to construct a new high-capacity rail system for Germany. Continue reading “Hitler’s Super Train”
More giant snow globes? Not exactly. This odd thing stood in Cleveland, Ohio and was known as the “Timken Tank” after the man who built it, a H.H. Timken. Continue reading “Steel Ball Sanatorium”
Art Fitzpatrick is one of those forgotten heroes of the Golden Era whose romantic advertisements for period automakers as Lincoln, Pontiac and Studebaker continue to enchant up to this very day.
Continue reading “The Art of Art Fitzpatrick”