Steampunk

Long time no show.
Apart from getting ready to leave Cambridge and become a hobo, I seem to have spent a lot of the past few days squeeing over steampunk. There’s Neal Stephenson’s Diamond Age on the one hand, and Miyazaki’s Castle in the Sky on the other.
I adore the almost Heath Robinson aesthetic of massive machines patched together from scraps of metal. It makes everything seem functional, compared to the gleaming, polished steel of most futurism.
The thing that bugs me is: where on earth does the ‘punk’ come in. Cyberpunk as a genre stripped out all of the politics and most of the rebellion, but there was at least a glimmer of connection between the cyber and the punk. But what politics there is in steampunk is a hearkening-back to empire, occasionally scattered with a bit of affection for the people being destroyed by it. Steampunk made with real punk: there’s something I’d enjoy reading.

1 reply on “Steampunk”

Hello, if you enjoy steampunk, maybe you will like to engage in project Effacrum (www.itlaw.sk/effacrum), although like most of the nowadays’ steampunk settings (Mieville’s Bas-Lag, Eberron, Arcanum), the term is being used rather loosely, losing the “punkish” aspect. I guess it’s a bit of a contradiction, really, because the punk part can be well placed, felt and appreciated only in a world of rigid authoritarianisms and formal social control. I suppose cyberpunk substitutes the real world imagery while fantasy steampunk has to forge its own social demons so that the spirit of rebellion and apoliticism can truly shine.

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