Saturday, May 2, 2009

Steampunk - What Does That Mean?

Steampunk Theme Pendant

As I've probably mentioned way too often, in three weeks I'm going to be at Bay Con 2009, Santa Clara, California. The theme of this year's con is "The Lost Sky City of Pyrocumulon" and as the official newsletter of the con said: "- steampunk is key". This text from a link on my Google search into steampunk is apt, "Steampunk is the intersection of technology and romance." I would elaborate that it's the intersection of pre-electronic, pre-silicon based technology, i.e., late 19th Century.

While steampunk can be realized by adopting a Victorian look and style, with the right kind of accessories, one can also imagine it as how one would look if they had descended from an alternate timeline which has led to a present day where steam engines and mechanical devices are still the backbone of industry and electronics are a curiosity, a side show. Per this, snipped from Wikipedia, "Other examples of steampunk contain alternate history-style presentations of "the path not taken" of such technology as dirigibles, analog computers, or digital mechanical computers (such as Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine); these frequently are presented in an idealized light, or with a presumption of functionality."

Those of us old enough to remember the TV show The Wild, Wild, West should easily be able to envision the look and feel of steampunk - Artemis Gordon was definitely a steampunk scientist. My first introduction to steampunk (although I'm pretty sure I didn't know that term, nor associate this with it) was the book, The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling published in 1990. I frequently re-read it just for the fascinating imaginings of a world where steam is king.

If steampunk still puzzles you, some visuals might help and I've done the Googling for you:

In General (gadgets, home decor, costuming):
The Steampunk Workshop
Brass Goggles

In Jewelry:
Earthenwood Studios - Melanie is going to Penguincon and shares one of her pieces.
Rivka's Mom - the absolute master of the look
Nouveaumotley's Etsy store - lovely pieces
poetsummer's Etsy store - vintage look, romantic and steampunk styles

Steampunk themed comic (one of my favorites)
Girl Genius

Tomorrow I'll be posting my Wanderings Around the Beadosphere again. I haven't seen anyone take me up on last week's offer to share these links around on their blogs, but I'll still post links, and the offer remains open!

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Blogger Wendy T. Gibson said...

I love how William Gibson writes both cyber punk and steam punk! He is my fave author! Altho I'm not keen on vintage, I adore good steampunk. Great article!

May 2, 2009 at 9:21 AM  
Blogger Dawno said...

Thank you Wendy!

May 2, 2009 at 10:18 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Great info! I do like looking at steam punk pieces and like the rebellious spirit about them.

I'd like to think I'd be a bit of a rebel in the victorian era with a little bit of "punk" spirit!

May 2, 2009 at 5:13 PM  
Blogger Dawno said...

Thanks, Lisa! Darling new stuff on today's Bead A Day post - promise to drop by and comment soon!

May 2, 2009 at 6:38 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Steam punk is such fun! I'll have to check out Gibson's book - and I'd not thought of Artemis & steam punk, but, yes!

Your blog, like Lisa's & others, makes me want to play NOW! *lol* Thank you for all you share...

May 3, 2009 at 6:52 AM  
Blogger SteampunkSupply said...

Wonderful post and links to some of my favorites!

I heard a terrific definition of steampunk the other day:

If it looks Victorian and like it was designed by a mad scientist with a transverse aetherscope balloonship (and matching thanato-hypnotic kaleidocannon), it's probably Steampunk.



June 30, 2009 at 10:03 PM  
Blogger Dawno said...

Thanks for stopping by, Melanie. Love the definition, will be sure to use it!

July 1, 2009 at 7:12 AM  

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