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Steam Engine for the Soul: Steampunk in Literature, Art Music, and Pop Culture

An overview of steampunk, its origins, and its place in pop culture.
by

Amber Ryder

on 14 April 2011

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Transcript of Steam Engine for the Soul: Steampunk in Literature, Art Music, and Pop Culture

Steam Engine for the Soul:
steampunk in popular culture What is steampunk?
a multi-textual aesthetic which first began to form in the late 1980s, imagines the world as it was during the early Victorian era, when steam power still fuelled machines (Onion, 2008) A Little History...
Steampunk has its roots in Science fiction, originating with authors like H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. To those in the subculture it is... A love for the aesthetic beauty of the machine A return to individuality and a retreat from mass production Whatever the hell you want it to be The genre came into its own in the late eighties and early nineties, when authors who were primarily invested in the cyberpunk genre, including K. W. Jeter, William Gibson, and Bruce Sterling, began to write alternate-history narratives set in familiar-yet-unfamiliar Victorian times and heavy on technology and anachronism. For example... The Difference Engine (1990) by Gibson and Sterling Morlock Night (1979) and Infernal Devices (1987) by K.W. Jeter Some point to The Differnce Engine as a defining work of the genre. K.W. Jeter is credited with coining the term steampunk. So...Under what philosophical category dost steampunk fall? Answer: It defies categorization Steampunk, in some sense, stands outside of chronological periodisations of modes of thought – such as “modern,” “anti-modern,” or “postmodern” – and defies categorisation within the ideologies of previous technology-based social movements (Onion, 2008). However... Most steampunks would probably tell you that they are reacting to modern homogeneity. Expressing a discontent with the developed landscape that is not exclusive to steampunk thought, Margaret P. Ratt, for example, writes in SPM that she believes that most steampunks “look at the modern world about us, bored to tears, and say, „no, thank you. I‟d rather have trees, birds, and monstrous mechanical contraptions than an endless sprawl that is devoid of diversity” (Ratt 2006: 1). (extract from Onion, 2008) Examples in current literature... Homonculus (2000) by James P. Blaylock The Steampunk Trilogy (1997) by Paul Di Fillipino The Anubis Gates (1997) by Tim Powers The Boneshaker (2009) by Cherie Priest Johannes Cabal the Necromancer (2010) by Jonathan L. Howard Examples in Art, Music, Film and Pop Culture Just Because... Onion, Rebecca. "Reclaiming the Machine: An Introductory Look at Steampunk in Everyday Practice." Neo-Victorian Studies 1:1 (Autumn 2008), 138-163. WORKS cITED Artwork Sam Van olffen graphics. "Paris Steampunk. steampunkpics.blogspot.com/2009/01/sam-van-olffen-graphics.html. Apr. 10, 20011. ..."Le Tunnel du Mystere." steampunkpics.blogspot.com/2009/01/sam-van-olffen-graphics.html. Videos Abney Park. "Airship Pirates." music video. Youtube. Steampunk in Oxford. Youtube. "Steamboy." movie trailer. Youtube.
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