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TOPIC: Nature and Elements of Steampunk. A Manifest

Nature and Elements of Steampunk. A Manifest 3 years 11 months ago #2428

Several things of late have caused me to ask myself what exactly is this Steampunk for me? Certainly, the genre began as a branch of Science Fiction, and it continued to be so but it has, just as certainly, blossomed into something far more than that. So today I sat down to explore the world of Steam as movement and metaphor.
Would love your comments, additions, and suggestions.



:woohoo: Steampunk as a movement is a yearning for self definition, much as the Renfaire, Burning Man and other such communities are. Such movements allow one to say This is who I am, re-defining and reinventing ones self to fit your potential and self image, objectives defined in some way by your own actions from this point forward. A world in which who you are is defined, not by what you did yesterday, but by the very next thing you do.

:woohoo: Steampunk is about the durable as opposed to disposable, about quality as opposed to quantity, about the unique as opposed to the mass produced. As such in much the same way as in the Burning Man community, it is firmly a part of Maker culture, honoring those who build and do and taking pride in the fruits of their efforts. In other words, in the Steampunk ethos, artisans still hold a place of high regard and anyone marketing junk for mere profit is likely to find themselves excoriated for it....and out of business.

:woohoo: Steampunk honors knowledge and experimentation!! Again, a part of Maker culture. A huge percentage of the monikers taken by Steampunk affecianados include things like "Doctor" or "Professor" in the name. Steampunk heroes and villains tend far more toward Captain Nemo, Sherlock Holmes, Professor Augustus S. H. X. Van Dusen... There are few purely machismo archetypes in the genre and the strong and stupid tend to be portrayed as thugs rather than as role models.

:woohoo: Steampunk honors achievement over wealth, and the bold over the complacent. Adn I love it for that. If you can explore the Arctic and still run an investment company, so much the better, but it is likely the former that will be attached to your name, not the latter. No one in Steampunk whines that explorations should be stopped because "who will pay for it when they have to be rescued?" as I've often heard around in other movements. Steampunks know that the cost of NOT exploring, not adventuring and learning and risking, far outweigh the expense of sending an occasional rescue team after an errant airship (which itself becomes a bold adventure). The glitterati, the bored, privileged and useless, do appear in the genre but seldom as it were in starring roles.

:woohoo: Steampunk is all about civility. Mendling around with it.. Steampunk adopts the formalisms of Victorian speech to bring civil address to what is increasingly becoming a mean and Uncivil society. It is a projection of a gentler, less angry time onto our present world and sadly needed.

:woohoo: Steampunk is the world we might have gotten had not greed and cheap energy intervened. It is often depicted as an outcome of the Victorian age in which the nasty bits of Victoriana: Poverty, pollution, racism, Imperialism, sexism, and class privilege, have been transmuted into a world of mutual respect. It is a world in which, at the very least, a pleasant life is obtainable by virtually everyone and in which the fortunate feel compelled by society to accept a greater level of obligation to the society that made their success possible.

:woohoo: Ironically, Steampunk by its explorations of abandoned 19th century technology, its use of steam and of Tesla's theories, is far "greener" than our current solutions to our needs in many cases. In some ways, the genre allows us to abandon the convenient but costly in favor of older, more responsible methods of doing things.

:woohoo: Steampunk is about freedom!! A decoupling from consumer society, from governmental overreach, from corporate hegemony. It is about a life at a human scale, often a very large one but still one controlled by makers and users. Not by investors and bankers.

:woohoo: Beauty is as important as function, it is key to the good and pleasant life. Music should be beautiful, sewing machines should be beautiful, guns and gardens and airships and dinnerware, all should be a feast for the senses.

:woohoo: Steampunk is insidious. It is a revolution hiding in whimsey, an iron fist in a scented lace glove. It is an ebony cane with a brass head backed by six years of Bartitsu training.

Oh well, did I miss something?!?!?! :S :dry:
Last Edit: 3 years 11 months ago by RustySkirt.
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Nature and Elements of Steampunk. A Manifest 3 years 11 months ago #2430

WHERE DO I SIGN THIS DECLARATION? :P
Never seen all Pros. declared like this. In perfect order. Some annotation could make this very popular.
think about it
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Nature and Elements of Steampunk. A Manifest 3 years 10 months ago #2465

Remarkable work Rusty :ohmy: I guess you found this somewhere.
Doesnt matter becouse I have just a few lines to add on my own

For me Steampunk is colonisation of the Past so we can dream about future. Re-envisioning of the past, with the hypertechnological perceptions of the present. I do enjoy this sepia-toned reality.
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Nature and Elements of Steampunk. A Manifest 3 years 10 months ago #2467

Do we all need to justify our endless imagination? I deny that possibility.

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