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.
Continue reading “Is Steampunk Radically Political?”
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.
Continue reading “Steampunk Means Different Things in Different Places”
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.
Continue reading “Are We Punks Through and Through?”
When I first head of What Lies Beneath the Clocktower, I was delighted. A choose your own adventure novel in a steampunk world! I am a big fan of those adventure books and have quite a collection of the old D&D Endless Quest books, as well as the classic Steve Jackson/Ian Livingstone adventures and Joe Dever’s Lone Wolfbooks. So, I delved into this particular adventure with enthusiasm.
The setting is fittingly moody and slightly dark. The protagonist is an absinthe-addicted gentleman of leisure and he (or rather — you) stumbles into an unexpected underground civilization beneath Paris.
Unfortunately, the train of the story quickly loses steam. There are too many storylines and they do not connect or intersect. Once you have chosen a path, there is no going back. Depending on what choices you make at the beginning (after deciding to actually investigate the commotion), you are in for a really short adventure.
Continue reading “What Lies Beneath the Clocktower”
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”