Thursday, March 7, 2013

Steampunk.

So that thing I mentioned I might go to in the last blog post... Well, I went and it was super cool.
My library brings in guest speakers sometimes to talk about stuff. I went to a doll one once... and various ones on homeschooling.
Tonight's speaker, however, was talking about something super cool.
A little genre called "Steampunk" which some of you are familiar with.
I recently started to read Steampunk. I started with the Larklight series by Philip Reeve and went on to read the wonderful Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld (I've reviewed both series. To read my reviews go to the top of the page and turn right at 'books.' Then scroll down until you find the name of the book and click the orange link. And actually, if I were to be honest... the first Steampunk book I ever read was the Sherlock Holmes book I got at the Christian book store. That definitely had a Steampunk element in it).
Steampunk is a very unique genre. It mixes several genres together.
As I see it, Steampunk is basically an alternate history set in the Victorian era filled with steam-powered machines.
The lady had two ways of defining Steampunk. One was: Steam = All steam powered, gas lights, ect. Punk = Rebellious, edgy.
The other was.... What do you get when you mix mad scientists, top hats, gas masks ("Are you my mummy?" Let it be said here that she was using Larklight as an example), robots, detectives, clockworks, time travel, history, scary monsters, mechanical goofies, cowboys, zeppelins, romance, and aviation? You get Steampunk!

Steampunk is a relatively new genre. There were, however, precursors in the genre. They kind of laid down the foundation - thought outside of the box for their time and came up with new, fantastical ideas. These authors were H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, and even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of Sherlock Holmes.
The first actual "Steampunk" authors were Tim Powers, James P. Blaylock, and K.W. Jeter. They all published Steampunkish books around the 1980's and their publishers didn't know what to classify the books as. Sci-fy? Fantasy? So, K.W. Jeter came up with the term Steampunk.
Since then, Steampunk has grown and more people have found about it and it is becoming popular.

What are some common things you see in Steampunk?
Almost all Steampunk is set in the Victorian era (mid-1800's-early 1900's) or has a Victorian era flair to it. So you see a lot of Victorian stuff in Steampunk.
But mixed in with that is crazy inventions and space travel and time travel.


There are also a lot of gears in Steampunk. And, of course, steam powered machines. (And weapons too. Lots of cool weapons, it seems.)


You also see a lot of top hats and goggles.


Which leads me into Steampunk fashion....
Again, it's all very Victorian. Suits and vests for the men. Top hats, goggles, and cool boots for everyone.... For the women, it becomes a bit more complicated. Steampunk women usually wear tight dresses (but back then, all dresses were tight because of corsets) and corsets with high heeled boots (with weapons concealed within).
Lots of layers for both men and women... The outfits are kind of haphazardly. They look somewhat sloppy - like the characters are on the run from something and wear what they can find. I like the look. It's cool. It fits with the whole gears and steam-powered thing.


And I just HAVE to share this next picture.... It's Wil Wheaton who played Wesley Crusher in Star Trek The Next Generation. I personally love Wesley. And Wil too! Wil Wheaton is a huge geek and always has been. He runs all his own websites and has published several books on geekiness. He also plays computer and strategy board games. He plays Dominion and Ticket To Ride, which are two strategy games I love to play with my Dad and Cousin.

 

I'm not exactly sure if the picture is meant to be Steampunk or not.... But it sure looks like it! Wil Wheaton, his wife Anne, and the TARDIS. Ah, perfect. It's one of my favorite pictures. (Edit- Sure enough, it IS meant to be Steampunk! They are actually posing here in merchandise for a Steampunk store... Which I will enumerate on later).

As Steampunk grows more popular, more and more books and movies are being written and produced. One thing that the books have in common with each other is their writing style. They are written very much in the style of the Victorian era - flowing, beautiful, with big words that need to be looked up in the dictionary.

A few Steampunk websites that the lady mentioned....
One is Steampunk.com which has a list of Steampunk books.
Then there is a Steamcon.com which has a list of where Steampunk Conventions will be held in the future (Evidently there are Steamcons as well as Star Trek cons and Comicons!).
Gentleman's Emporium.com has Victorian style clothes and accessories for men and women.
Clockwork Couture is a website featuring Steampunk style clothes and accessories which you can buy and it is for this website that Wil Wheaton and his wife posed. So I guess the police box maybe wasn't the TARDIS.... But it still looks like the TARDIS and Wil Wheaton is a Doctor Who fan soooo.....
Anyway, I checked out all these websites briefly and they all look super cool! Especially the Clockwork Couture because of Wil and Anne Wheaton. =)
(However, everything looks super expensive! But it's still fun to look at.)

 
What I really like about Steampunk is the creativity. Because it has so many genres poured into one, you can literally do ANYTHING! Just so long as you stay within the parameter of steam-powered Victorian-era stuff. But you could be a cowboy or you could time travel or you could be in space and meet aliens.... Anything! Plus, the fans are so creative! Perhaps the biggest thing I love about being a geek is the imagination.... To be a geek, you have to imagine that this or that is actually happening. You can take what the creators started with and you can expand it. You can become a part of it! You can build things (like TARDIS's or Enterprise's or Steampunk computers, bikes, cars, etc). You can make your own costumes like the ones above.... You have to be creative to be a true geek and Steampunk really fits into the category of creativity.

So that's what I learned today. =)

Live long and prosper!

3 comments:

  1. I do love Steampunk. Those pictures you found are so cool! And I totally agree with what you said about being a geek. (Your other post about fandoms was really good too, by the way. Kudos!)

    This summer, I'm actually going to try to make my own Steampunk-style costume. Fingers crossed it turns out okay :P

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  2. I want a steam car, and bird. I don't know why I want a steam bird...but it would be fun. And a TARDIS. But even a not steam TARDIS would be fun. (Jack and I watched the Are You My Mummy? one today)

    There are Star Trek actors in Hwiwi 5-0? Jack's friend's mum likes it and we watch it sometimes and I will look now for them all because I like Star Trek.

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  3. Steampunk...I maybe have heard of this before...
    Oh! Top hat! I need to keep my eyes out for one of those.

    Thank you for your comments lately. Things are a little better here, and your comments were a big encouragement.

    Keeping a happy outlook on life was hard for me for a long time. I allowed myself to get depressed and sulked for so long, feeling sorry for myself and saying I had a right to. But a friend once told me, I can choose to be happy. It isn't always easy, but I always feel better when I am happy. (Sometimes my means of getting happy ends with me curling up on my bed with tea and My Little Pony cartoons...but I've just added it to my list of quirks...)
    And growing up, becoming an adult, isn't as bad as many have made it out to seem. So long as one remembers to remain the person God has made them to be. (Too many adults become alike and seem to forget all the things they used to enjoy.)
    Anyhow, those are my thoughts behind it...

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