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gondwanalon's avatar

What do you know about Steam Punk?

Asked by gondwanalon (20690points) February 13th, 2012

I just heard about Steam Punk. I watched this and kind of get the feeling that it is sort of a revolt against modern technology and modern fashions. I was in San Francisco last month and I didn’t notice any Steam Punk types while there. So maybe not too many people are into it or I just wasn’t paying attention.

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14 Answers

AshLeigh's avatar

My sister knows more about it than I do. So I’ll send her a link to this question, in a moment.
But as far as I know it’s anything that looks futuristic-ish and old westerny, I think?

LezboPirate's avatar

Most people only dress that way for fun. Not daily. Have you ever seen Wild Wild West though? That’s pretty Steam Punk.

LezboPirate's avatar

Oh man, that made me laugh.

Aethelflaed's avatar

It’s sort of like, imagine that you’re living in 1875. What’s your hope for how the future and technology play out? What is someone in 1875 (or whenever in the Victoria era) sure is going to be true in 30 years – like how we say, in 30 years, we’ll all be in hovercrafts and food will only come in pill form. What if someone in 1875 was working on the basic idea of a smartphone, but could only use technology of the day? If you were living right alongside H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, but were hoping to become the new writer on the scene, what would you write?

I also know it gets a lot of criticism for romanticizing an era that did really despicable things (like, to poor people, and to people who weren’t white) and not really dealing with the human rights aspect of the time.

cazzie's avatar

It is basically cos-play for people who love a certain genre of Science Fiction.

auhsojsa's avatar

There is a Steam Punker on Fluther actually. It’s more a Seattle or Portland thing I think. It’s whatever to me. It kind of reminds me of what music might have sounded like right before “Water world” happened. I don’t dig on their music, because it’s fantasy based which is fine, but it’s not my kind of belief.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

It is a strange form of nostalgia that lends itself to cool design and story telling.

I think it is close to what @Aethelflaed is describing, but the stories I have encountered seem a little different. You imagine you are living in 1875, and technology exists that can duplicate our technology, either in secret, or right out in the open. Or you imagine you are living today, and we have not invented certain technologies, but have advanced others to absurd extremes. So, for example, the airplane was never discovered, but giant dirigibles full of thousands of people commute into the cities every morning.

It is notable for what it excludes. Internal combustion never catches on in these imaginary universes; miniaturization, artificial fabrics, electronics, and especially plastics, do not exist. Computers can exist, but typically large differential engines running on steam. Steam powers all machinery; external combustion.

Think of everything cheap and disposable in the current world. Now imagine we never pursued the technology that led to it. The world is dirtier, everything is dusty and loud and covered in oil and grease, but is much more intimate for being so.

downtide's avatar

Steampunk is inspired by writers such as Jules Verne and HG Wells, and is what happens when you put science fiction into a Victorian setting. The technology of the Steampunk genre is mostly steam-driven.

One of my favourite modern steampunk stories is this one: The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters

filmfann's avatar

I have a friend who is very involved in Steam Punk, and he seemed to be there years before there was an actual movement. He is a Bay Area artist, and has been known for taking his Locomotive looking car down to Burning Man.
The video gives a good description of what SP is. I think it’s terrific!

The_Idler's avatar

An early, and great, steampunk novel, from two pioneers of cyberpunk, William Gibson and Bruce Stirling: The Difference Engine

Very cool.

I know over the past few years it’s evolved into more of an aesthetic/artistic movement.

It is basically, as others have indicated, fanciful technology with Victorian aesthetics and sensibilities.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

I have a (seriously strange) web acquaintance who is the absolute spitting image of that dude. He writes all sorts of science fiction including steampunk. His preferred style is kind of like what Peter Venkman of the Ghostbusters would have been wearing had the movie been filmed in 1948 instead of 1984.

jerv's avatar

@auhsojsa Seattle, hometown of Abney Park, arguably the best known Steampunk band. They put on a great show, and the band is extremely friendly. And it seems like every time I go to Studio Seven, I wind up within inches of accidentally body-checking their lead, “Captain” Robert, between sets as I wander to the snack bar.

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