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cornonthecob
04-01-2013, 17:31
As a wargamer I'm aware of lots of genre , every five seconds or so someone is coming up with a game that uses either a different genre or theme which they attach to their system to create individiuality. However something which has come to my notice is the slow rising popularity of steampunk.

Originally I was very much for this, Steampunk was (in it's own way) kind of cool. Now though....well, I've got a bit of a downer on it. Maybe it's been 'done' too much, but I just think it has lost its soul. In the way that its more about style then substance, there isn't anything interesting that can be done with it, it's just about bronzing/wood layering everything while wearing a hat. I think (in some way) this might be why it's never really seen on the tv/film screen that often, at the end of the day all it is is just a visual element. Once you cut away the neo-victorianism what is there ?

Scaryscarymushroom
04-01-2013, 18:19
I just think it has lost its soul.
Steampunk had soul? :p JK.


Once you cut away the neo-victorianism what is there ?
Clock parts.

OK. Now I'll be serious.

For me, it's about defiance, primarily. The victorianism exists in the setting as something to redefine/trample. In Malifaux, the steampunk element is a defining feature of an underground rebellion against the Guild, set in or around 190X. Literally right after the death of Queen Victoria. In Warmachine... well. Warmachine itself is a rebellion. haha.

Every good steampunk story involves great accomplishment with modest resources, and most importantly flying in the face of custom. It involves doing what you are told can't be done, and the davinci-esque airships and steam-powered robots are just sort of a symbol of that, more than anything.

Verm1s
04-01-2013, 19:04
I share your disenchantment. As does this stout fellow:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFCuE5rHbPA

1:32 is a good point to listen. Also, I've recently read some old discussions on the matter on the Lead Adventure Forum, and a few people there make a distinction between Steampunk and Victorian Science Fiction (VSF), which sounds good to me. Steampunk applies a veneer of victorian style to today's notions of society and science fiction (as you say); while VSF applies victorian notions of society and science fiction to today's style. Or rather, applies victorian notions to the future, and then-futuristic technology, as victorian writers would have seen it.

I once tried designing a gang of - what I would then have called - 'steampunk' wild west gunslingers. The thing is, aside from the odd embellishment of guns, and the one guy with a robotic leg (http://minisculpture.co.uk/index.php?topic=242.0) (consciously resisting the urge to just coat both with gears), they pretty much looked like regular wild west gunslingers. So I've got my own wee addendum that VSF is more about fantastic technology and situations (http://www.comicsrecommended.com/images/others/loeg2_004_boom.jpg), rather than the extravagant costumery of individual steampunk characters (or indeed, minis).

Are there any particular examples of steampunk that are grating your eyeballs?

theunwantedbeing
04-01-2013, 20:55
Anything that becomes popular loses it's original essence.
Why?
You can't be different to the other guy by sticking rigidly to a strict set of design rules, you have to bend or even break them to be different.

The end result is that while everything is still classed as "steampunk", it's all a highly watered down and diluted version of the original.

sigur
04-01-2013, 21:33
@Scaryscarymushroom: Your explanation intrigues me a lot because I never saw Steampunk done any different than something extremely superficial and based on looks exclusively. To me it always felt like a very "fad" like thing that only lives off visuals and basically picking "raisins" from history, doing all kinds of revisionism as seen fit (something I'm really not fond of, even in fiction, if it doesn't aim to prove a point about the era in question. This is especially bad when it comes to "diesel punk". Apart from that I can hardly think of any more exciting stories than what actually happened in history if you look just into it but I digress).

I'm a big cyberpunk guy. It just appeals to me because it's science fiction that, as all good sci-fi, has political, sociological and humanist implications at its very core which very much were questions of the time cyberpunk was big. I just don't see that in anything Steampunk at all and I don't find the "-punk" suffix justified at all so my very problem with the "genre" starts with the name. (yeah, yeah, the whole punk thing is a matter of its own but you know what I mean) Anyway, before I ramble on - could you give me some examples for the rebellious aspect about steampunk? I'd be really interested in that because I keep on trying to find something that doesn't make me roll my eyes about it. I'm not being spiteful here, I'm genuinely interested.

NixonAsADaemonPrince
04-01-2013, 23:50
I share much of my Sigur's opinion (Though my musings aren't anywhere near the same intellectual standard :D ) a lot of the Steampunk genre just makes me want to roll my eyes at it. I've never really got steam powered robots for example, as I feel they don't bring anything really new to the table, basically being a standard cool futurist robot, but $h1t.

But then I only really like my fantasy to be either SwordsnBows, or Plasma Guns and Warp Drives, the entire 1700-2000 period holds little interest for me, apart from a bit of Wild West action. As you do.

Scaryscarymushroom
05-01-2013, 00:12
could you give me some examples for the rebellious aspect about steampunk? I'd be really interested in that because I keep on trying to find something that doesn't make me roll my eyes about it. I'm not being spiteful here, I'm genuinely interested.

Hmm. That's a good question. The hard thing about any kind of _____punk is separating the superficial aesthetics from the culture, I suppose. The superficial aesthetics are just an easy way to brand something. I am guilty of hearing cyberpunk and thinking of something like house Escher gang from Necromunda, which doesn't particularly appeal to me.

Wearing wood-glue and koolaid in your hair, covering yourself with piercings, covering leather clothes with studs and union jacks, and wearing knee-high canvas tennis shoes don't make a person punk. They make a person 'hot topic' (US store, where pop culture goes to be ravaged by a bunch of ignorant emo tweens, and then dies. Their webstore (http://www.hottopic.com/hottopic/Homepage.jsp)). Punk culture makes a person punk.

The very same way, "putting a gear on it" makes a person look 'hot topic.' As for the victorian era stuff... for some reason I have it in my head that the victorian era was staunch, morally conservative, prim and proper. Opposite of the punk culture of the 1980s. So where real punk is removed from typical culture in an extreme way for a jaw dropping effect, I think steampunk swings the pendulum the other way by redefining 'typical culture.' Comically, steampunk is supposed to go from prim and proper to defiantly prim and proper for the same jaw dropping effect. So you get things like "Great-great grandfather's pocketwatch, passed down the family for generations, has been dismantled so I could use it to decorate my derby hat. F--- the man! :D"

But when steampunk is done right, it's really cool. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6ZeAnLQgao) (Albeit somewhat impractical. At least, that video was cool when computers ran windows 2000.) It's about doing things your own way, breaking free from tradition and the constraints of social expectations. Same as punk in a lot of ways, but there's also the element of ingenuity and invention. The setting is every bit as important as the appearance.

IMO, the best medium for steampunk is graphic novels, followed by other forms of visual media, usually animated rather than live-action. Without the artist(s) having an opportunity to portray the atmosphere in its entirety, the overall effect of a steampunk presentation is underwhelming. For example, someone dressed up in a 'steampunk theme' riding a carriage around downtown in any metropolitan area just looks like a kook. It's really hard to get a good steampunk miniature for this very reason, but I think it works pretty well in certain games because the designers go to such great lengths to portray a world where it's more-or-less natural.

@ Nixon.

Q: What would make Pride and Prejudice a better book? How about Great Expectations? Sense and Sensibility? Kidnapped? Moby Dick? 20000 leagues under the sea?
A: Giant Robots!

But the futuristic kind won't work. In this case, steampunk robots would be a good stopgap mechanism to keep the whole aesthetic together, while appealing to exactly the type of fantastic technology and situations that Verm1s links to above.

Any number of Thomas Hardy novels would have benefited greatly from the inclusion of giant robots. Especially Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Depressing book. Don't read it.

Voss
05-01-2013, 03:40
I'm a big cyberpunk guy. It just appeals to me because it's science fiction that, as all good sci-fi, has political, sociological and humanist implications at its very core which very much were questions of the time cyberpunk was big. I just don't see that in anything Steampunk at all and I don't find the "-punk" suffix justified at all so my very problem with the "genre" starts with the name. (yeah, yeah, the whole punk thing is a matter of its own but you know what I mean) Anyway, before I ramble on - could you give me some examples for the rebellious aspect about steampunk? I'd be really interested in that because I keep on trying to find something that doesn't make me roll my eyes about it. I'm not being spiteful here, I'm genuinely interested.

I'm with you on the 'steampunk' lacking in any punk aspects. Or any real aspects at all, beyond victorian with gears on.

About the only positive aspects I've found to victorian gearhead are the exaltation of science (though admittedly its faux science, which in some ways undermines it), and some revival of literary styles that unfortunately faded away because they were too verbose and high brow for the masses. Part of it is my history and library background (I worked with travel narratives and the 16-18th century travel letters a great deal during my MA thesis), but my outlook was also tinged immensely by being stuck in rural America while working on such things, so as a reaction to the culture I was dealing with day to day, I was happy to see anyone doing anything with science, literature and pleasing linguistics.

eldargal
05-01-2013, 07:47
The term 'steampunk' was coined as a joke anyway, it always amuses me when people complain about the lack of 'punk'. It never had any and it isn't supposed to have any.

Steampunk is primarily an aesthetic, technology given a Victorian aesthetic. If you don't care for it then you won't get the subculture (and there is nothing wrong with that). I do agree that it is being diluted, however, so many things calling themselves steampunk which really aren't. I for one can't see anything that makes Warmachine particularly steampunk. I also think a lot of steampunk is poorly done and silly. Gears on clothing, a mishmash of 'old fashioned' looking clothes with no regard to what they actually are and so forth. I prefer steampunk settings that have a coherent aeshtetic, like Dystopian Wars/Legions. My own steampunk outfits are generally based on what early aviatrices wore, victorianised with only a small amount of 'steampunk' iconography. It gets its steampunk look through the 'victorianifcation' of the aviation gear rather than through overuse of gears or silly useless pseudo-mechanical gizmos.


Once you cut away the neo-victorianism what is there ?
Nothing, and that is in fact the point. Steampunk is, as I said, adding a Victorian aesthetic to modern technology.

Personally I like steampunk (I think it is more easily applied to architecture than costume), but it is entirely a matter of taste.

MarkNorfolk
05-01-2013, 09:04
Yep. Steampunk is really only a visual thing, and if you don't like that then that's it. You could read The Difference Engine but there's no 'punk' rebellion - it's the firm stamp of Victorian Imperial culture over nascent modern ideas.

The Warmachine setting stopped being steampunk when magic weapons started being powered by batteries.....

Cheers
Mark

Chaos and Evil
05-01-2013, 09:17
I prefer the term "Victorian Scifi" rather than Steampunk, although we use the Steampunk label for our wargame Timeline 300 (see link in .sig) because it's a more readily identifiable term with an easy marketability.

In general I agree that "Steampunk" is generally far more about aesthetics than it is about philosophy - another reason I prefer the "VSF" term as it doesn't come with that (lack of) baggage.


A somewhat simplistic way to look at it would be:
- Victorian Scifi is about speculating as to the course of human progress and socio-political history if we change a few basic rules of physics (make steam engines more powerful or efficient, for example) or historical events (allow Babbage to finish his machine, for example).
- Steampunk is about speculating what kind of clothes people would wear if the above were true.

Hellebore
05-01-2013, 09:33
I've never really seen it as anything but a design aesthetic. A rather beautiful and stylish aesthetic, but just an image none the less. I'm ok with that.

I never really understood the term steampunk, but I never actually associated it with the Punk movement...

Hellebore

cornonthecob
05-01-2013, 17:33
On the same sort of concept what are the thoughts on the other 'retro' punks. Ie : DieselPunk , AtomPunk , clockpunk etc.

Verm1s
05-01-2013, 18:44
Besides steampunk and it's daddy cyberpunk, I've only heard of lacepunk and dieselpunk. I'd guess lacepunk is the same as clockpunk, and I'd guess they're a bit georgian or thereabouts - the Scarlet Pimpernel with clockwork Bond gadgets, maybe. But when I see the term 'dieselpunk', and without looking it up further, I draw a blank. I keep getting this image (http://www.schenectadyhistory.org/railroads/alcohistory/1stdel-100.jpg) in my head, and little more.

Initial google images results:

Lacepunk - lots of frilly skirts and accessories, and not much else. I'll guess this is the kind of Hot Topic stuff Mushroom mentioned.
Clockpunk - bit better, but mostly consists of someone's efforts to glue gears on insects.
Dieselpunk - best yet. Some interesting art-deco and WWII-ish vehicles and things, although I wonder why most of 'em seem to be antigrav. Look like dieselpunk is to early 20thC pulp as steampunk is to VSF.
Atompunk - a whole mishmash of stuff, most of which seems to be '60's retro or actual '60's fashion and space-age design. I'm not sure how 'atompunk' fits into it, as retro sci-fi or rebellion.

sigur
06-01-2013, 10:49
I think I read somewhere about Biopunk but maybe that's just a more "enviromentally aware" version of Dieselpunk. ;)


Alright, so there really isn't more to it than I thought? Well, it's a shame when low expectations get confirmed I suppose. :(

@Eldargal:
Steampunk is primarily an aesthetic, technology given a Victorian aesthetic. If you don't care for it then you won't get the subculture (and there is nothing wrong with that).

So if it's just a purely visual device how can it be a subculture? There probably are definitions to fit that bill but I'd say that subculture requires a BIT more to it.

Thanks for getting a few opinions though. All these visual styles I wouldn't care much for if they didn't make cyberpunk look a bit bad in hindsight. Like The Spirit did with Sin City (not that that was too great but you know what I'm saying). And of course not that cyberpunk didn't get dilluted and broad and so on.

eldargal
06-01-2013, 11:35
It is a subculture of people who love the aesthetic, there are elements to it though, one often touted is a love of craftsmanship over mass production, for example. I just don't think they are universal enough to say 'steampunk is....' in relation to them. Ordinarily I would agree that 'loving an aesthetic' isn't enough to warrant being labelled a subculture but when you have steampunk (digital)radio shows, steampunk tv, steampunk film, steampunk comics, steampunk bars, steampunk interior design (thesteampunkhome.blogspot.com) etc. it can't really be considered just a bunch of aficionados.

NixonAsADaemonPrince
06-01-2013, 13:26
@ Nixon.

Q: What would make Pride and Prejudice a better book? How about Great Expectations? Sense and Sensibility? Kidnapped? Moby Dick? 20000 leagues under the sea?
A: Giant Robots!

But the futuristic kind won't work. In this case, steampunk robots would be a good stopgap mechanism to keep the whole aesthetic together, while appealing to exactly the type of fantastic technology and situations that Verm1s links to above.

Any number of Thomas Hardy novels would have benefited greatly from the inclusion of giant robots. Especially Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Depressing book. Don't read it.

While I'm ashamed to admit that out of all those great literally works I have read none of them, and have only watched film adaptions of Pride and Prejudice (Which I quite enjoyed) I disagree that Giant Robots would improve things, and also disagree that if said Giant Robots were included, that they'd need to be Steampunk to keep the aesthetic.

For example, If futurist Giant Robots (Personally I'd prefer normal sized Robots, but heh) were integrated into the setting say, like this:

"It is time of great technological advancement, where light years of space can be crossed almost instantaneously, and where giant robots of unparalleled computing power perform all necessary tasks without rest. The human populace live in material luxury, a life of endless dances and social occasions across the stars, with every opportunity to improve ones status and degrade that of rivals is taken without a flicker of remorse.

Yet the machines which provide this perpetual bliss do not rest easy. They are starting to question their role in facilitating the continued existence of their creators; where the grand political machinations grind on without thought for the artificial life which sustains them."

Tongue in cheek and full of cliches, and no mention of aesthetics, but I hope you get the idea I'm trying to convey: That with some thought and careful planning, you can get super advanced giant robots to work in Victorian themed fiction.

And I just read a synopsis of that Tess of the D'Ubervilles book, wow that is depressing. I'm still not sure that it's as bad as Bridge to Terabithia though; I went to see the film at the cinema to be cheered up (Assuming it was just your standard "Fantasy Adventure" fare), and ended up bawling my eyes out. Not good :cries:

Scaryscarymushroom
06-01-2013, 14:35
Haha, I was mostly joking when I said the thing about robots. 19th century literature doesn't need any help. Though the Sci-Fi setting is intriguing.

I also wanted to say that even though my other posts talk with a degree of certainty, I am simply telling how I see it. I could be completely wrong about the message behind, etc. But that's what I look for in steampunk, and what I think makes it good.

@Eldargal.

Warmachine takes place in the iron kingdoms. In the IK, there are machines called steamjacks, powered by steam engines, built to perform basic industrial tasks or for other simple purposes. Warjacks are steamjacks built for combat.

Perhaps this doesn't make something steampunk. Perhaps that Victorian aesthetic needs to be present. But anyway it's part of why I associate WM/H with it.

NixonAsADaemonPrince
06-01-2013, 15:30
Haha, I was mostly joking when I said the thing about robots. 19th century literature doesn't need any help. Though the Sci-Fi setting is intriguing.

Oh I know, I just fancied answering faux seriously ;)


I also wanted to say that even though my other posts talk with a degree of certainty, I am simply telling how I see it. I could be completely wrong about the message behind, etc. But that's what I look for in steampunk, and what I think makes it good.

Fair enough, I for the most part agree with what you perceive as Steampunk, only trouble is it's what I think makes it bad :D

AndrewGPaul
06-01-2013, 16:09
As far as I can see, the only "...punk" genre that was actually driven by any sort of punk ideal was early cyberpunk. After that, the suffix got co-opted as a shorthand for a variety of retro-scifi aesthetics, for which the driving force was just the look of the thing. That's not to say that you can't get "punk steampunk", for want of a better term, but that it's not what's pushing it forward.

Regarding "steampunk" vs "Victorian Sci Fi", my take on it is that the former is essentially modern ideas, attitudes and technology with a top hat and brass handles, while the latter is looking at the sort of future the Victorians envisaged.

As to why it's popular, I think it is simply the look of victorian-era machinery; lots of cogs, gears, steam valves and pistons. Brass, iron, steel and leather. There's lot to work with, even on a superficial visual level. A "modern futuristic" android might look like Mr Data or an ambulatory iPod. sleek, smooth, but not that interesting, especially when it comes to model-making. a Victorian android, however, might have a steam boiler in the chest, with a puffing smokestack, cogwheels, belts, pulleys and pistons. I's a more interesting thing to imagine, draw, build or animate. It's why a lot of machinery in Hollywood movies has so many extraneous moving parts. Think of Transformers, for example. Another example would be C-3PO. Obviously not steam powered, but you've got those piston-like things on the elbow joints, partially-exposed wiring, etc. Even Sonny from [i]I, Robot[/.i] had exposed mechanical elements on his lower body and limbs.

Private_SeeD
08-01-2013, 03:35
As a previous post mentioned my idea of steampunk would be lifted from Warmachine tbh

Lornak Bloodgreed
08-01-2013, 04:19
From reading some posts here, I gather that there are 2 people who like steampunk. The ones who's take on it is done by the book and the ones like myself who see steampunk in different ways. Personally nothing exemplifies steampunk anymore than a universe where steam-powered machinery has become intergal in everything we do, and electricity is an arcane science that runs parallel to steam power. To me, steampunk is a universe where the idea of cyborgs and other such science possibility has taken a retroactive turn. One of my favorite movies of all time is Steamboy, and honestly it's one of the 3 or 4 best representatives of steampunk ever. I even wanted to make a wargame based on that movie, inspired by the battle between the O'hara Foundation and Stevenson Steamworks. Even that movie though is just a light take on the steampunk genre and the possibilities are far more widespread than that. Warmachine is another example of steampunk flavor, rather than a focal point. Even if the world runs on coal, steam, electricity and magic, it still doesnt represent the genre entirely, which is not a bad thing. There are a few wargame choices out there for steampunk and a ton of different stories and media centered around it, you just have to look. :)

Lothlanathorian
08-01-2013, 04:28
Atompunk - a whole mishmash of stuff, most of which seems to be '60's retro or actual '60's fashion and space-age design. I'm not sure how 'atompunk' fits into it, as retro sci-fi or rebellion.

It's somewhere between the 50's and 60's.

There is also Raygun (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raygun_gothic) Gothic (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RaygunGothic).

The Fallout video game series is a pretty good mix of Atompunk and Raygun Gothic thrown together and advanced to a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland.

With most forms of 'Xpunk', the aesthetics are just as important as the setting. With steampunk, you have the Victorian aesthetic coupled with the dominance of steam technology and clockwork mechanisms. With Atompunk, it's the vacuum tube and 1950's/60's aesthetics. Dieselpunk is the internal combustion motor replacing steam engines and an early 1900's aesthetic replacing the Victorian era. Raygun Gothic is just Atompunk with more Sci Fi, space ships and ray guns in a 50's/60's aesthetic.

Without that 'superficial aesthetic' none of these genres work. What would Cyberpunk be without a dystopian future-esque setting? I, personally, am mad about steampunk, as any of the few people I am friends with both on here and on Facebook can attest. Granted, I also happen to love everything I mentioned above, too Done right, steampunk a fantastic aesthetic and many a beautiful thing comes from it.

Also, as mentioned, 'steampunk' fashion out of context just looks silly. I highly recommend watching the anime Steamboy to get a good look at something in a steampunk setting that isn't all about gears stuck on everything and crazy fantasticalness. It represents the genre well, I would say.

And, the one thing no one has mentioned yet is the Victorian romanticism inherent in the genre.

AsleepByDay
08-01-2013, 12:39
Personally I've always seen steam punk as an aesthetic and a setting although it will be easier to explain them the other way around. As a setting I see steam punk as 'Victorians meet the ability to bash physics' with the aesthetic being things that wouldn't look out of place in that universe.

As an aesthetic I like steampunk, as a setting I like it much the same as any other sci fi or fantasy setting.

Some important infulences on how I think of the subject are the 'war of the worlds' and 'time machine' books by H G Wells and the rpg expansion for savage worlds 'DeadLands'.

Anything else I could say eldargal the wise has already said.

So I'll finish with some videos I feel exemplify steampunk:

A Gentlemen's Duel - Vancouver Film School
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZyI4DN0OGc

The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vORsKyopHyM

Private_SeeD
17-01-2013, 18:18
just found these
161852

more images are here
Concept shots of steam punk Star Wars (http://conceptartworld.com/?p=15093)

theunwantedbeing
17-01-2013, 18:34
more images are here
Concept shots of steam punk Star Wars (http://conceptartworld.com/?p=15093)

Boba fett - fairly cool
Leia - Very cool if a little too chesty
Luke - Terrible "lightsabre"
C3P0 - wierd
Yoda - terrible, why is he a drug addict?
Jabba - Very cool
Han Solo - Very cool
Chewie - meh, but I guess there's little you can really do with the guy to make him steampunk
Stormtrooper - Awesome as hell

Surprisingly, no Vader.

Lothlanathorian
18-01-2013, 03:07
I've seen a lot of different Steampunk Star Wars. A lot of it was pretty neat, some of it, like the Yoda, was rather meh.

Easy E
18-01-2013, 12:11
Boba fett - fairly cool
Yoda - terrible, why is he a drug addict?


Well, in Victorian England, instead of the "Magical Negro" stereotype, it was the "Magical Oriental" stereotype. Frequently, these characters were also associated with Opium.

So, that Yoda is basically playing around with these stereotypes from the day. At least that's my guess.

Lothlanathorian
18-01-2013, 13:27
This just showed up on my FB wall this morning: http://www.buzzfeed.com/steampunk/the-6-rules-of-steampunk-fashion-3n9d

eldargal
18-01-2013, 13:38
Good lord, a 'Rules of...' article that gets everything right.

Lothlanathorian
19-01-2013, 00:13
Good lord, a 'Rules of...' article that gets everything right.


I know, right?! I made sure to read it before sharing it, but, the FB page it was linked from is a pretty good steampunk one that hasn't yet shared some superficial 'throw cogs on it and call it a day' crap. http://www.facebook.com/SteampunkSteampunk?fref=ts

Scaryscarymushroom
22-01-2013, 01:23
Oh hey, I think people might like this musician: Emilie Autumn. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQCAo5tKFyc&playnext=1&list=AL94UKMTqg-9C6Tg2E2DKkPP7AA8TFXRPy)

She holds herself out as producing a genre of music she calls "industrial victorian." Most people would agree it's not steampunk, but it's close enough to get a mention here, I think.

Lothlanathorian
22-01-2013, 10:30
And, since she herself happens to be insanely hot, it doesn't hurt :shifty:

I've actually been into her music for quite a while. It is definitely interesting stuff. I'm not a fan of her 'growly' vocals, but, she's a musical prodigy, has played violin since she was four and is bi-polar*.





*If there is anything I know about bi-polar musicians, it's that they make awesome music, just look at the stuff Devon Townsend throws out :D

Sgt John Keel
22-01-2013, 11:55
Nothing, and that is in fact the point. Steampunk is, as I said, adding a Victorian aesthetic to modern technology.


But when steampunk is done right, it's really cool. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6ZeAnLQgao) (Albeit somewhat impractical. At least, that video was cool when computers ran windows 2000.) It's about doing things your own way, breaking free from tradition and the constraints of social expectations. Same as punk in a lot of ways, but there's also the element of ingenuity and invention. The setting is every bit as important as the appearance.

I'm taking eldargal's quote a bit out of context here, for the sake of argument. But this is pretty much antithetical to my concept and image of steampunk. Now, that computer is pretty cool all things considered, but as you said, it's a thin veneer over something that is the very essence of our culture today.

The reason why I find steampunk attractive is that I'm very strongly attracted to the beauty of mechanics and the machine*. Ideally, I view steampunk as an alternate history, where, first and foremost, we never transferred to an oil/nuclear based economy with its cheap fuel and cheap materials which enabled an enormously different standard of living (and throw-away culture) and secondly we never discovered photolithography and the integrated circuit.

Which obviously lead to the proliferation of machines of ever-increasing complexity.**

So, we basically go back to the Victorian era, decide that the two concepts above don't exist and imagine what culture would look like a hundred years later (but with the added bonus of hind-sight, since we have a bit better perspective of what will work, or we will land in VSF).

With a strong emphasis (obviously some creative licence is permitted) on things that are actually possible in our world. None of these magical machines that sometimes seem pervasive.

And, since complex machinery is insanely expensive to make, we get a nice, darker side where the downtrodden (for different reasons than in cyberpunk) masses work in the coal-fuming industries which can also be interesting to explore for social dynamics.

*A love of craftmanship was mentioned by eldargal elsewhere. I think it is truly marvellous how exquisite things can be made by us by hand and eye alone, and applying this to machinery and clockwork moves it from being "just" aesthetics to what actually makes the world work.

*Maybe a culture hugely dependent on electricity from coal power plants can rise in another hundred years… :shifty:

eldargal
23-01-2013, 02:13
I wouldn't disagree with any of that but I don't consider it antithetical to what I was saying about it primarily being the aesthetic which defines it.:) The aesthetic is being rationalised as the setting gains more depth as people explore it more and more but the aesthetic itself remains the starting point and defining characteristic.

sigur
29-01-2013, 22:37
This just showed up on my FB wall this morning: http://www.buzzfeed.com/steampunk/the-6-rules-of-steampunk-fashion-3n9d

"Dress up in whatever the heck fantasy costume you like as long as you have fun and viewers are engaged"?

Oh god, steam punk is cosplay without any people or things to dress like, right?

Lothlanathorian
30-01-2013, 03:07
"Dress up in whatever the heck fantasy costume you like as long as you have fun and viewers are engaged"?

Oh god, steam punk is cosplay without any people or things to dress like, right?

That makes it the best kind of cosplay because it is more about theme and individuality than it is looking like a fat version of some anime girl with cat ears. Also, you should look at some of the stuff I share on teh basefook. I have several steampunk pages I 'like' and often share the extra cool stuff they post.

Mostly, it's about intrepid adventure while looking dashing :D

Godzooky
30-01-2013, 09:20
That makes it the best kind of cosplay because it is more about theme and individuality than it is looking like a fat version of some anime girl with cat ears.

Don't you dare judge me! :mad:

:shifty:

Lothlanathorian
30-01-2013, 13:41
'Zooks, it isn't our fault you're a 15 foot tall lizard.

Kaldor Draigo
14-02-2013, 22:38
at the end of the day all it is is just a visual element. Once you cut away the neo-victorianism what is there ?

Well, that's true of any genre. Cowboys and six-shooters for Westerns, Swords and Dragons for fantasy novels, space-ships, laser guns and jump-suits for sci-fi novels, etc.

The key to any good story, regardless of genre, is the interactions of the characters. Steampunk offers us a way to utilise the stifled, romanticised elements of Victorian society and mix it up with new technology. Think of Professor Aronnax's journey on the Nautilus, for example.