Philip Reeve doesn't like steampunk

At least, not anymore. From his blog:
The Guardian sat up and noticed Steampunk this week . The article itself is so cursory that it's barely worth reading, but there are a lot of interesting comments, including one by Lyndon Ap Gwynfryn which echoes my own growing doubts: "Steampunk is the stupidest of all subgenres of speculative fiction... To retrospectively associate contemporary Victorian science fiction, which was forward looking and progressive, with a self consciously anachronistic and frivolous genre like steampunk is deeply insulting to great writers like Wells and Verne."

But me and Mr Ap Gwynfryn are clearly pretty much alone in feeling this way, (although one of the other comments says, rather perceptively, "Zzzzzzzz") There's no point in complaining: the rise and rise of steamy punky things now seems unstoppable.
So Mr Reeve wonders why we nostalgics don't revel in the wonders of the Atomic Age instead. He coins "Atompunk" (which, he later admits, is a term that's already floated out there for a while). It seems rather like what we know as "Dieselpunk" though...

Comments

  • I'm afraid I don't agree with Mr. Reeve. His assessment seems a bit harsh, especially for a sensitive writer.

    Am I correct in assuming that Atomicpunk and Dieselpunk are not quite the same? I thought Dieselpunk era started at the end of the First World War and ended in 1960.

    Whereas, "Atomicpunk" continues through the early 1960's to embrace the latter Kitsch/Googie movement, until the minimalist style took hold around 1967.
  • I fully agree with mr Reeve. Especially when considering some other utherings.

    Steampunk had gone far beyond the point it was a fun alternative to contemporary cyberpunk (back in the good old... 20 years ago). It's a shame it hasn't moved onward since, and now rests in pieces in the realms of the "do it yourselvers" culture who only add more cogs to a device than it can actually bear, and don't retrospect steampunk from a new angle.
    I am fighting this. Because I happen to like good old fashioned steampunk as we head two decades ago. I also listen to Duran Duran, as a matter of fact, and like it for the same old sake.
  • Yaghish wrote:
    It's a shame it hasn't moved onward since, and now rests in pieces in the realms of the "do it yourselvers" culture who only add more cogs to a device than it can actually bear[...]
    I don't know what Steampunk was like twenty years ago, but I did think there would be a bit more interest in inventing and improving. You know, building things that... work? I personally enjoy the aesthetic aspect of the genera though. It invites a great deal of diversity by accepting "Ottensian" optimism, "Piecraftian" despair, and everything in between. Steampunk can't be "deeply insulting to great writers like Wells and Verne." because they are inspiration. No one is trying to rewrite their place in history.
  • Steampunk can't be "deeply insulting to great writers like Wells and Verne." because they are inspiration. No one is trying to rewrite their place in history.
    On the other hand, there are many people who sincerely do have the opinion Wells, Verne, c.s., actually wrote steampunk literature. They did not. Yes, they have been inspiration to many a steampunk, but they never ever wrote a single word of steampunk. Simple because in their era, it wasn't retro what they put into scifi.
  • Yaghish wrote:
    [...]they never ever wrote a single word of steampunk. Simple because in their era, it wasn't retro what they put into scifi.
    Well, yes, of course they weren't retro, but few people have any choice but to follow their example when creating new fictions with a similar tone. Some science fiction writers of today follow the lead of Verne and Wells to produce images of "a future that could be" if technology continues to develop as it seems. It produced an updated scifi to show us things such as wondrous space operas and the cyberpunk genera. The writers got bored and decided to turn everything on end, just for a change of pace. For spice they wrote "a future/past that could never be" and accidentally made Steampunk. People have just ran with it from there. There was never any intentional disgrace or offense behind the creation of Steampunk; I'm not certain anything in the genera or subculture has been done on purpose :)

    There will always be people in the world that object to anything that is different. They will find a way to make their disagreement loud and difficult to ignore in hopes to tear down and destroy whatever it is they object to. Christian fanatics at ComiCon for example. I don't think nerds are worshiping superheros and I don't think Steampunks are shitting on history! It is a way to have fun. It is a way to create. It is a way to express serious ideas in a way that won't bore the socks of of everyone. Sure there will be offended people, getting uppity is a hobby for people to. If they would rather grouch than laugh it's their prerogative. Steampunk doesn't even make light of sensitive issues like race or sexual orientation. The argument against Steampunk given is weak once you look beyond the emotional wrath...
  • I agree with you Jac.

    I have great admiration for those who are willing to be original. They have a lot of courage and I think they contribute a great deal.

    There is nothing wrong with being creative within a specific set of boundary conditions. Steampunk is like twelve-bar blues... it seems restrictive but you can make a lot of blues music nonetheless. By this logic, I think Steampunk will be around for a very long time.

    By the way Yaghish, Reflex is still one of my favorite videos.
  • 1. first of all it's rather harsh what he's saying since he probably makes the most sales from his Larklight series off steampunks.

    2. if he thinks it's so stupid, then why does he invent a fucking steampunk universe in the Larklight series?

    Seriously, sometimes people need to THINK before they unleash something on the fucking internet.
  • What in God's name's going on here?Is Philip Reed's brain being time-shared by a steampunk writer, also named Philip Reed, who wrote Larklight?
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