Steampunk Sunday: Steampunk of other Cultures

coollogo_com-176107698When people think of Steampunk, their first thoughts are of Victorian England, cucumber sandwiches, gears, gadgets and corsets, but in the last few year I’ve been seeing a lot more multicultural Steampunk stories, and I must say, I’m excited about future prospects for the genre.

Steampunk is coming into its own; breaking out from under the yoke of assumptions of what Steampunk should be to the freedom of possibilities and what it can be. Characters of other nationalities are taking center stage in stories and I think this will strengthen the genre even more and bring us even more stories of wonder and excitement. How about Steampunk Ninjas? Or Steampunk stories placed in India or even Africa? Imagine flying over the Dark Continent or the burgeoning Australian outback in an airship? What mechanical creatures will await us, inspired by exotic places of South America or even closer to home? What if there were Steampunk Native Americans? What if we headed to the Great White North via a steam-powered submergible under the arctic ice? It boggles and excites me that there are new and exciting adventures waiting for us.

Yet we shouldn’t limit it to just nationalities. Another diversity we should consider is sexual diversity. With the growing acceptance of the gay and lesbian lifestyles, characters of this sexual orientation add a new flavour and a new dynamic to Steampunk stories. I will admit, the latter may take some readers a bit to get used to, but isn’t that was fiction is about? Letting our minds explore the wonders and possibilities? We shouldn’t restrict our creative energies to the same old trope. Let’s spice it up a bit, with flavours from all over the world.

What do you see in the future for Steampunk stories?

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Steampunk Sunday; The Toys of Steampunk

coollogo_com-176107698When I first looked into writing a Steampunk story, I was captivated by the technology of the genre. Captivated and more than a little intimidated. The little (or big) gizmos and gadgets are an important element in the genre. Some would even say it’s what makes the story, and as creative as I like to think I am, technical stuff is not my cup of tea. It reminds me too much of math. 😛

I wrote a post some time back about this subject.

https://darkeconteur.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/how-much-steampunk-does-it-take-to-be-steampunk/

The gadgets in Steampunk are as fantastical as the worlds and clothing. They are built with cogs and gears, brass and metal, but as strange or silly they might look, the reader must believe they actually work or risk pulling their audience from the story. It doesn’t matter how big or small, or even how far-fetched, if you can make the reader believe the technology exists or could exist, then you bring so much more to your story than just another fantasy gadget.

Check out these Steampunk gizmos.

http://www.pinterest.com/marshallg/gears-gadgets-gizmos/

http://www.pinterest.com/mandersmadness/steampunkitemsgadgetsgizmos/

Your ships can navigate the ocean, the air, or even space if you choose. Your weapons can be clockwork  and shoot bullets, or house a chamber inside that creates deadly rays. You’re only limited by your imagination, so let your creativity soar and see where it takes you.

Steampunk Sunday – Steampunk Fashion

Found on Steampunk Parade

Found on Steampunk Parade

One of the things that drew me to the Steampunk genre was the fashion. Mainly Victorian-based, the Steampunk world is full of corsets and skirts, goggles and top hats, frills and fancy dress. I read somewhere that Steampunk is what happened when Goth’s discovered brown.

I love the dressy part of Steampunk fashion. There is nothing casual about any of it and one could almost imagine people of Victorian era actually wearing these outfits. There’s also a bit of daring to them as well, especially for the outfits for women. Steampunk women embody the rebellious side. They break with tradition, are more free-spirited, and it reflects in the clothing. The more rebellious outfits I’ve seen have pants instead of the long skirt, a big no-no in Victorian era, but if you’re travelling around the world and getting into all sorts of interesting situations, you can’t very well do it wearing a long skirt now, can you.

Fashions for men are a little more embellished than normal. Most men’s outfits I’ve seen lean toward a scientist or outlaw-type, as they represent more of the outlaw than gentlemen aspect. I could be wrong, but I’ve seen very few outfits for men that were not geared this way.

I have a Pinterest board dedicated to Steampunk fashion.

Steampunk Fashion

When I started the board I was pinning just about anything, then I noticed how some

Found on Huangstudio

Found on Huangstudio

of the fashion was less Steampunk and more sex. Not that there’s anything wrong with a sexy outfit, but considering the era this genre takes place in, I find it out of place for a scantily-dressed woman. Rebellion and free-spirited does not mean that you show off everything the Goddess gave you.

I plan on putting together a Steampunk outfit. I’m going to start from the top down, as I already have a few ideas in mind.

Steampunk Sunday; Inspirational Art.

One thing that attracted me to the Steampunk genre was the art. Now I’m not talking about the oodles of pictures of everyday things with gears and cogs glued onto them. No. I’m talking about the art inspired by the genre. Beautifully drawn worlds that depict strange and wonderful worlds full of flying machines, strange inventions, and beautiful outfits. If you go on Pinterest you’ll see some incredible artwork. Some of them just floor me they’re so beautiful.

http://cghub.com/images/view/150634/

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/29766047510808870/

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/29766047510776133/

It’s pictures like this that inspire me to write Steampunk. To be a part of this fantastical world of gears and steam and Victorian sensibility, to add to these worlds, or create a new one where just about anything goes.

If you write Steampunk, what about it inspires you?

How much Steampunk does it take to be Steampunk?

coollogo_com-176107698This is a question I’ve been struggling with for the last few months. How much of the technology needs to be in the book? I suppose it has to do with what the story is about. If it’s more of a technical story then you need a certain amount to carry off the plot, but if it’s a romance, maybe not so much. I found, and am in the process of, reading several Steampunk novels to get a feel for this tech issue.  Mind you, the first few books I found I couldn’t get past the sample offered so…

I think like everything else, the technology in Steampunk should be relevant, but not forced. You don’t randomly throw in a ghost or two in a paranormal romance, so why do the same with technology in Steampunk? The trick is understanding the technology you’re creating. Do you know how steam-combustion works? This is the foundation of the entire genre and a basic understanding is necessary otherwise you will get people questioning the validity of your story. Research is more important with the genre than any other. Okay, maybe as much as a Science Fiction novel (especially if you’re writing hard SF).

For that reason, I think this genre will be exciting to work in.

Steampunk Sunday: Can You Steampunk it? Pt 2

Several weeks ago, I gave you some ideas and links as to what the Steampunk genre was. I’m still fascinated with this genre, and the world I can build within it. One thing that struck me when I attended the Steampunk panel at WFC last November, was how versatile the panel hoped future stories would be. The analogy they used was that the Steampunk genre was like a cup that other genres could be poured into. This would back up some of the sites I found where Steampunk was teamed up with paranormal or fantasy elements.

http://www.steampunk.com/what-is-steampunk/

What is the attraction to this genre? Is it because of the simplicity? Victorian era is well romanticized even though it was a hard life, and the clash between old world values and a new era of technology was certainly pushing the boundaries of society. Is it the world of possibilities that Steampunk opens up? The adventure? There’s a certain sophistication with Steampunk. The idea that people were more technologically adept I think, has a lot to do with it.

So, it brings me to my questions, Can you Steampunk it? Do you think you could write something in the genre?

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