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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Steampunk Is Dead

That is, steampunk is dead if it ever was alive.

steampunk's death was announced in the comics today. When a hipster young people's fad appears in the fogiest of newspaper comics, you know it's dead.


Please do not disparage, for this a timely death.

steampunk has been around for quite a while, and this genre has produced very little of substance. It's mainly about a phony Victorian re-creation,where everyone is a crazed goggle-wearing inventor, and the women show flesh and are addressed by their first name sans "Miss" or Missus". The most prominent pop culture eruption was an epic movie failure,"The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen". steampunk is a lot like "The Wild,Wild West" gone bad.

However, steampunk has motivated many young people to read Jules Verne's classics. That is a good thing.

BTW, I recommend the very short "Paris in the 20th Century" by Verne. My local library had a copy. Although this story was deemed too scandalous to publish during Verne's lifetime, it is shocking how much he got right about life in the Western World in the early 1960s.

Time to clear the air, as I'm doing finger warm-up exercises for NaNoWriMo.

No, dammit, this isn't steampunk.

Astute readers may have noticed my (unwritten to date) Novel for this year is about steam and steel. Rest assured,this is an alternate history,not a steampunk fanfic. CAVEAT: I am in no way guaranteeing the final result won't be an alternate history fanfic. I'll read what's there in December,and my evaluation will determine whether or not it's fanfic. Basically, if it sucks, it's fanfic.

My original intent here is to stick to the reality for which steampunk is no more than a sad, adolescent revisionist fantasy. This raises some challenges. I have not yet found an opening to present a female character of worth. Victorian women in gentry and professional class families lived pretty separately from the "men's world". Victorian Englishmen rarely even spoke of their wives. Certainly, speaking of a single woman was out of the question, unless I introduce a cad.

Fortunately, Jules Verne was a little more open this way, but not much. An interesting factoid about Verne and women in his stories - in one of his novels, a female gearhead-type character wore trousers. The publishers edited that descriptive bit out. I guess that was too risque for his teenage boy readers of the time.

I said, No, Dammit,this isn't steampunk.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


Anonymous said...

Forget Jules Verne - go for The Difference Engine (Sterling and Bruce). They're the boys who really got steampunk going. But I do agree with you - seeing it in Luann is a sad, sad day.


Steve said...

The Difference Engine was good. I can't recall if it was even called steampunk back then.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't - because The Difference Engine was the very first (to my knowledge) book that dealt with this idea, beyond a few small stories. It was after this book that the idea caught on.

Steve said...

Three days and 8,000 words into this it's really looking more like historical fiction than alternate history. The history surrounding these events is too rich and interesting to change.

Anonymous said...

Even Datamancer can't sell his keyboards on ebay for his asking price. He has a few up and only one is selling so yes steampunk is dead !!!

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