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Where Are the Steampunk Republicans?

Something I noticed reading the Twitter feeds of a number of American steampunk enthusiasts: they’re all anti-Republican.

I hesitate to say they’re Democrats, because the party might be too centrist for them. The number of disparaging tweets about conservatives in general, and Republican legislators and presidential candidates in particular, was high, though.

So where are the steampunk Republicans? Are they hiding? Do they even exist?

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Is Steampunk Radically Political?

There has been substantial buzz regarding steampunk as a radical political movement recently. The notion has been stated as a fact by some, i.e., radical political ideas are an integral part of steampunk. It was even declared as such in an article featured during the latest Steampunk Week on Tor.com.

I find this most puzzling. I have on a number of occasions made political statements on my blog, I am an active member of a political party, but it does not influence me as a steampunk.

To be more precise, if I had to define a political stance for my version of steampunk, it would be radically different from my real-world views.

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Did Adolf Hitler Survive the War?

Stories of Adolf Hitler surviving the war to die an old man in Spain or South America have been around since he committed suicide in his bunker deep below Berlin in April 1945.

Historians have largely dismissed these claims. Skull fragments, long held in Russian archives, were believed to prove that the German dictator perished together with his dream of a Thousand Year Reich, but an archeologist and bone specialist who examined them in 2009 concluded that they most likely belonged to a woman.

This has only fueled the conspiracy theories.

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Steampunk Means Different Things in Different Places

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.

Not with steampunks.

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Nazis Take to the Moon in Iron Sky Prequel

Iron Sky

Dieselpunk fans will be familiar with the Iron Sky project. The independent film production will depict the Nazis plotting an invasion of Earth from their secret refuge on the Moon.

In anticipation of the film’s release, Iron Sky is releasing a prequel comic adventure.

The first issue, “Bad Moon Rising,” depicts the Third Reich’s survivors in Antarctica preparing to board UFOs bound for the Moon. They will build a base on the far side of the Moon to stage another attempt at conquering the planet.

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Are We Punks Through and Through?

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, Vazquez tries to postulate steampunk as an anticapitalist “revolutionary spectacle” that is able to fill the “something” he feels is missing from our world 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.

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Ignition City

Ignition City

In 1930, three bold astronauts reach space. Fifteen years later, World War II is interrupted by a Martian invasion. As a consequences of those events, humanity starts exploring its Solar System and heroic astronauts contact alien species and have incredible adventures.

But that is the past.

The present is the year 1956, when no one cares about alien worlds and the final frontier anymore. Spaceports are being closed down and the only place from which rockets take off is Ignition City, a metropolis located on an artificial island on the equator. Here the last astronauts live in exile.

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Half Full, Half Empty: Russian Dieselpunk

Did you know that only one year ago the most populous dieselpunk community on the Web was the Russian one — about one thousand members? It was also among the oldest, established in 2006.

No surprise: starting conditions for the genre were extremely favorable. It was defined relatively early, in an article by Mikhail Popov published in SF & Fantasy World monthly in December 2004. Actually, this article helped to promote dieselpunk in the same way as a well-known publication in DarkRoastedBlend did four years later. So when in the English-speaking world dieselpunk’s right to exist was questioned and disputed, in the Russian-speaking networks it was legitimate and widely acceptable. Different communities, from weapon geeks to noir freaks, adopted it to label weird devices, retrofuturist art, megalomaniac projects, rare war machines, etc.

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