This article is from 2009 and was written before debate about the “Victorientalism” sub-genre in steampunk. Please click here for a more recent take.
With the increasing contact with the East and its ensuing colonization, people in the West became fascinated by this strange new world. For centuries, adventurers, novelists and romantics had been interested in the lands beyond the horizon. Europe had all been explored and people became more and more familiar with the world they lived in. The Orient was still a realm of mystery, inhabited by alien people, exotic and sometimes cruel, with customs that Enlightened Europeans thought of as barbaric; a place where time had stood still.
An age-long Orientalist tradition of those who studied the East has in our times been criticized for its presumed bias and even racism. In the realm of steampunk, however, we can safely recreate the Orient as it was described and depicted by nineteenth-century authors and artists who might never have seen it. All the myths and miracles of the East that enchanted the Victorians can come true.
Continue reading “Introduction to Victorientalism”
Now that the cold weather of the freezing season is upon us, steampunks and dieselpunks can rejoice, because now everyone is finally able to layer without overheating.
And, of course, also wear fabulous coats and winter accessories to top it all off. Continue reading “Winter Fashion”
Are we all thinking of Abney Park? Good, that is one example of airship piracy. Now this band is, of course, not the definitive representation of the airship pirate. Pirates come, as they have always done throughout history, in all shapes and sizes.
Any type of pirate can be used as the base for your airship pirate persona. Whether you go back to historical pirates such as the infamous Edward Teach, a.k.a. Blackbeard, take inspiration from Captain Jack Sparrow or simply start out with a base of good solid steampunk fashion, everything goes, and you can make it all work. Continue reading “The Sky Pirate Style”
You sir, yes you. Take a look at your fine wardrobe and the styles you hold dear. Those of the elegant, refined, understated gentleman. A far cry from the powdered wigs and scented noblemen whose influence, without our Beau, would have dominated the fashions of Europe — and thus the world — for many years longer than they have done. Continue reading “Beau Brummell: The Most Stylish History Maker”
The Venetian Carnival evokes thoughts of a centuries-old tradition of lavish celebration. A seemingly timeless event, with it roots in the thirteenth century, the carnival is known the world over for its elaborate costumes; as a playground for the nobility, the wealthy and the common man alike; a time of celebration, dancing, gambling, intrigue and just plain old craziness of every kind imaginable.
A more perfect backdrop for a steampunk story seems hard to imagine.
Continue reading “The Carnival of Venice”
The aristocratic aesthetic is quite probably one of the most representative of the fashion aspect of this movement. Continue reading “The Aristocrat Style”
Toby Frost’s début novel, Space Captain Smith, is a highly enjoyable read of daring-do and regular wit and humor.
The book takes steampunk into the far-flung future of the twenty-fifth-century British Space Empire, where our moustached, stiff-upper-lipped hero, Isambard Smith, battles a multitude of marvelous bad guys, such as the evil Empire of the Ghast and the religious fanatics of the Republic of New Eden.
Continue reading “Space Captain Smith”
Dinotopia is a lost island where humans and dinosaurs live together in peaceful interdependence. Artist and author James Gurney introduced Dinotopia in a series of illustrated books beginning in 1992.
Continue reading “James Gurney’s Dinotopia”
It sounds like something out of Jules Verne or The Jetsons, but in 1870 a “pneumatic subway” ran under Broadway in Manhattan.
Continue reading “New York Pneumatic Tube”