The Steampunk Forum at Brass Goggles
October 20, 2017, 10:25:29 pm *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
News: Brassgoggles.co.uk - The Lighter Side Of Steampunk, follow @brasstech for forum technical problems & updates.
 
   Home   Blog Help Rules Login Register  
Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: A different explanation of why (insert any given prefix-punk) is not Steampunk.  (Read 3024 times)
Adml. Etherington
Snr. Officer
****
United States United States

Airship Pirate


« on: May 09, 2007, 09:39:53 pm »

This question is raised all the time, and I had a thought of a different way to illustrate the point.

Basketball is a game involving baskets, and balls. There was a game, and the term was coined to apply to that game. Lacrosse also involves baskets (on the end of sticks) and balls, however, no one would ever ask "Why isn't lacrosse basketball?" The answer is because "basketball" applies to a specific game, and lacrosse is not that specific game. This makes lacrosse no less valid on any level. It merely does not apply to that definition.

Similarly, there was a small subgenre of literature that was created, and a term, "Steampunk" was coined to apply to that. Thereafter, a subculture sprang up which adopted the aesthetic of that literary genre, and the term was given an additional definition for when it was applied to a subculture, rather than a literary subgenre.  Saying that any given prefix-punk is not in fact steampunk does not invalidate that genre/subculture in any way. If I tell you that sandalpunk is not steampunk, all I'm telling you is that sandalpunk is not based around the aesthetics of a romanticized pseudo-victorian style and a fictionalized alternative post-victorian technology. This is a fact, and in no way demeans sandalpunk or any who may embrace sandalpunk, it is merely stating that your apple is not an orange because it is an apple.

Agree? Disagree?
Discuss.
Logged

The walls between art and engineering exist only in our minds.
 - Theo Jansen
Atterton
Time Traveler
****

Only The Shadow knows


« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2007, 09:47:43 pm »

That is why the term steampunk isn´t that good. I think a term like retro-fiction or so would be better, which would then incorporate steampunk, dieselpunk, the flintstones and such.
Logged

Resurrectionist and freelance surgeon.
Adml. Etherington
Snr. Officer
****
United States United States

Airship Pirate


« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2007, 09:53:56 pm »

Steampunk is fine for describing steampunk.

If you want to talk about steampunk, dieselpunk, any-punk all together, don't say steampunk. Say retrofuturism, or retro-fiction, or prefix-punk.

When talking about sports in general, you don't say "basketball" and expect it to mean all sports. You say "Sports".
Logged
The Grand Duchess
Snr. Officer
****
Patior Sed Supervivo


« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2007, 10:12:21 pm »

Steampunk is fine for describing steampunk.

If you want to talk about steampunk, dieselpunk, any-punk all together, don't say steampunk. Say retrofuturism, or retro-fiction, or prefix-punk.

When talking about sports in general, you don't say "basketball" and expect it to mean all sports. You say "Sports".

Thank you.  I was hoping someone would say this.  I don't know why there is this desire to lump everything under steam punk when there are terms like 'speculative fiction', 'science fiction', 'fiction', 'retro-futurism', 'historical fiction' and 'what-if?'. Nor does all steampunk have to have steam or mechanical objects, anymore than all science fiction has to have hard science or spaceships. Steampunk doesn't have to be set in Europe. It just has to happen somewhere on earth (or related to earth in some way) during the mid-to-late 19th century- it doesn't even have to be 'Victorian'.  It can be 'post-Civil War', 'La Belle Epoque","the Gilded Age', 'the time of the czars', 'The Prussian Empire', 'The Raj', 'during the Opium Wars', and so on. Britain may have thought it was the center of the world and therefore the measure of history, but the French, Russians, Prussians, Chinese, Indians and Americans might have disagreed.

Names have meanings.  They identify things, and not just to individuals.  They are not about preference.  It doesn't matter if an individual thinks a rugby ball should really be called a volleyball- it's not called a volleyball, because there's already something with that name, and other people have formed a consensus to use that name. Whether you as an individual think something is the best name for something or not is beside the point. Unless you can get a large number of people to agree on a name change based on cogent logic, you have to live with the name. Or you can invent your own kind of 19th century speculative fiction genre ('stories only about mutated toys that were built in the 19th century and brought to life by an alien force!') and name it anything you want.  If the stories are compelling, and other people are willing to write stories like that, your name will stick.  If not, not.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2007, 10:15:10 pm by The Grand Duchess » Logged

A true alternative subculture is one that not only questions the social status quo but poses viable solutions to some of the perceived underlying problems. Difference from the norm is not the same as superiority to the mainstream unless it can be  argued that the difference is positing a better way.
Atterton
Time Traveler
****

Only The Shadow knows


« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2007, 10:29:29 pm »

I just think if you wanted to get retro-fiction some respects as a literary genre, it would be better to not do a divide and conquer with making all those different genres such as sandalpunk and dieselpunk.
Logged
The Grand Duchess
Snr. Officer
****
Patior Sed Supervivo


« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2007, 12:34:31 am »

I doubt that actual writers are doing that.  Quite frankly, all that matters are the opinions of writers and their critics.  Fans simply read- they do not contribute to the definition of a genre.
Logged
Smaggers
Zeppelin Admiral
******
United Kingdom United Kingdom


You cannot mesmerize me...I'm British!


WWW
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2007, 07:42:22 am »

Steampunk is fine for describing steampunk.

If you want to talk about steampunk, dieselpunk, any-punk all together, don't say steampunk. Say retrofuturism, or retro-fiction, or prefix-punk.

When talking about sports in general, you don't say "basketball" and expect it to mean all sports. You say "Sports".

Thank you.  I was hoping someone would say this.  I don't know why there is this desire to lump everything under steam punk when there are terms like 'speculative fiction', 'science fiction', 'fiction', 'retro-futurism', 'historical fiction' and 'what-if?'. Nor does all steampunk have to have steam or mechanical objects, anymore than all science fiction has to have hard science or spaceships. Steampunk doesn't have to be set in Europe. It just has to happen somewhere on earth (or related to earth in some way) during the mid-to-late 19th century- it doesn't even have to be 'Victorian'.  It can be 'post-Civil War', 'La Belle Epoque","the Gilded Age', 'the time of the czars', 'The Prussian Empire', 'The Raj', 'during the Opium Wars', and so on. Britain may have thought it was the center of the world and therefore the measure of history, but the French, Russians, Prussians, Chinese, Indians and Americans might have disagreed.

Names have meanings.  They identify things, and not just to individuals.  They are not about preference.  It doesn't matter if an individual thinks a rugby ball should really be called a volleyball- it's not called a volleyball, because there's already something with that name, and other people have formed a consensus to use that name. Whether you as an individual think something is the best name for something or not is beside the point. Unless you can get a large number of people to agree on a name change based on cogent logic, you have to live with the name. Or you can invent your own kind of 19th century speculative fiction genre ('stories only about mutated toys that were built in the 19th century and brought to life by an alien force!') and name it anything you want.  If the stories are compelling, and other people are willing to write stories like that, your name will stick.  If not, not.


Yes.
Logged

"I should probably finish one project before taking on another, but the badger won't fit in the freezer." -Steamblast Mary

http://smaggers.deviantart.com/
http://www.bongofish.co.uk
Clym Angus
Zeppelin Admiral
******
United Kingdom United Kingdom


Lord of Misrule


WWW
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2007, 03:05:51 pm »

you see this is the problem with trying to nail down the definition of something that's used to define multiple sections of human experience.

By rights carrying your example on, no one is steampunk or any -punk for that matter. One would only be a "fan" of steampunk maybe "advocate" as it's root is not from "fanatic". But then this all comes down to grammer and useage. So what is "steampunk"? Noun, adjective or verb?

It is not my place to say, it is merely (as Etherington began) the raw and provocative beginning of a very interesting discussion. Shall we?
Logged

Cory
Guest
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2007, 05:55:10 pm »

I also don't think it helps that people are inventing names for genres that don't actually have any works in them to speak of. "Sandalpunk", for instance. Nor is there a really substantial reason for making up a genre name for The Flintsones when it's just about the only concept of its kind. People are just getting off on inventing genres with -punk suffixes because they want to, not because it's necessary.
Logged
Atterton
Time Traveler
****

Only The Shadow knows


« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2007, 06:56:26 pm »

I don´t think steampunk is a very good term anyway, there isn´t really anything punk about it. I know it stems from Gibson, and it didn´t really fit that story either. Extending the word punk for other things such as clockworkpunk just seems bad.
Logged
Baron Verndorf
Zeppelin Captain
*****
United States United States

Mad Philosopher and True Gentleman


WWW
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2007, 03:09:32 am »

I generaly describe steampunk to those who done know it as a 'Genre, Asthetic, and lifestyle based off the victorian/turn of the century steam/mechanics technology.' This usualy gets the point across pretty well. I think the problem is that alot of steampunkers are mechanics and inventors and the such, which are used to having well classified, established terms for things. This does not apply to Steampunk because it's not something that can be easily defined no more than 'Goth' can be defined, or 'Emo', or 'Punk'. Theres always going to be people who look at it a different way, treat it a different way, and use it a different way than you, or even the majority.

Now that isn't to say that we shouldent atempt to establish a basis, but i think that you just always have to keep the human element in mind when trying to do so.
Logged

You may be a mad scientist, but I am a mad philosopher.
Caffeinated Gent
Snr. Officer
****
Do you feel lucky, steamPunk? Good.


« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2007, 02:42:09 pm »

Nor is there a really substantial reason for making up a genre name for The Flintsones

Oh, you mean StonePunk?
Logged
CapnHarlock
Zeppelin Overlord
*******
United States United States



WWW
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2007, 03:03:18 pm »

That really does give the term "A Punk Rocker' a whole new meaning Wink
Logged

Jeremiah Cornelius Harlock
At Your Service

"It's so hard to know if you're bound for a fall,
But better to have tripped than never danced at all."
"Dancing Under The Rose" - The Albion Band.
Caffeinated Gent
Snr. Officer
****
Do you feel lucky, steamPunk? Good.


« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2007, 03:40:28 pm »

A most astute observation!
Logged
Cory
Guest
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2007, 05:10:55 pm »

This does not apply to Steampunk because it's not something that can be easily defined no more than 'Goth' can be defined, or 'Emo', or 'Punk'. Theres always going to be people who look at it a different way, treat it a different way, and use it a different way than you, or even the majority.

I've never bought this argument for Goth or Emo, let alone Steampunk. Goth certainly has a more elaborated definition than, say, a computer part, but it has a definition. And of course, definfitions are invariably tied to historical development, which is why to understand what Goth is one must know Goth's history. Likewise with Steampunk: to get a feel for the genre, one must understand how it developed. Steampunk, like Goth, cannot just mean anything to anyone. You can't call Toby Keith a Goth musician or Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow a Steampunk movie... anyone who does is simply wrong and diluting the term to the point of rendering it meaningless.

Personally, the best definition I've arrived at (appearing on my page's FAQ) is:

Generically, the term Steampunk is used to include fictional works from the genres of Victorian-Edwardian Science Romance, Gothic horror, Steampunk, Imperialist Adventure, Voyages Extraordinaires and Edisonades.
Specifically, Steampunk is a relatively new genre within Science Fiction set upon imitation or critique of the style, technology, characters and/or themes of Scientific Romance, Imperialist Adventure, Edisonades and Voyages Extraordinaires, often with the inclusion of Gothic horror elements.


But I also really like John Clute's simple, one-line definition: "Steampunk - a term which can be used to describe any sf... set in
any version of the previous century from which entropy has been banned as a metaphorical governor of the alternate industrial revolution of choice"

Now yes, definitions are always arrievd at by consensus... but that's just it: by consensus. Steampunk, or any genre, doesn't just mean whatever anybody who comes along thinks it means. The label has meaning. Toby Keith is not Goth, Rammstein is not Rockabilly, Jane Austin is not a Science Fiction writer, Nigeria is not Canada.
Logged
fmra
Snr. Officer
****

Dollmaker


« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2007, 11:43:12 pm »

Toby Keith is not Goth, Rammstein is not Rockabilly, Jane Austin is not a Science Fiction writer, Nigeria is not Canada.

I'm envisioning a world where Toby Keith dresses like Marilyn Manson, Rammabilly is the fashionable music the teenagers are listening to, Jane Austin took one too many magic mushrooms and ended up writing about martians having fancy dinner parties overflowing with sexual intrigue, and Canada invaded and conquered Nigeria in order to bolster its cultural diversity.

Creepy Smiley
Logged

Tempus Rerum Imperator.

"But that's not steampunk hjghahkahjkfdsahjklfdsa!!!!!11one11" -- Anachronist

20,000 leagues below Chuck E' Cheese
CinnamonAndSpite
Guest
« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2007, 04:15:49 am »

... That... Just amused me alot!
Logged
Baron Verndorf
Zeppelin Captain
*****
United States United States

Mad Philosopher and True Gentleman


WWW
« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2007, 08:19:59 am »

This does not apply to Steampunk because it's not something that can be easily defined no more than 'Goth' can be defined, or 'Emo', or 'Punk'. Theres always going to be people who look at it a different way, treat it a different way, and use it a different way than you, or even the majority.

I've never bought this argument for Goth or Emo, let alone Steampunk. Goth certainly has a more elaborated definition than, say, a computer part, but it has a definition. And of course, definfitions are invariably tied to historical development, which is why to understand what Goth is one must know Goth's history. Likewise with Steampunk: to get a feel for the genre, one must understand how it developed. Steampunk, like Goth, cannot just mean anything to anyone. You can't call Toby Keith a Goth musician or Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow a Steampunk movie... anyone who does is simply wrong and diluting the term to the point of rendering it meaningless.

Personally, the best definition I've arrived at (appearing on my page's FAQ) is:

Generically, the term Steampunk is used to include fictional works from the genres of Victorian-Edwardian Science Romance, Gothic horror, Steampunk, Imperialist Adventure, Voyages Extraordinaires and Edisonades.
Specifically, Steampunk is a relatively new genre within Science Fiction set upon imitation or critique of the style, technology, characters and/or themes of Scientific Romance, Imperialist Adventure, Edisonades and Voyages Extraordinaires, often with the inclusion of Gothic horror elements.


But I also really like John Clute's simple, one-line definition: "Steampunk - a term which can be used to describe any sf... set in
any version of the previous century from which entropy has been banned as a metaphorical governor of the alternate industrial revolution of choice"

Now yes, definitions are always arrievd at by consensus... but that's just it: by consensus. Steampunk, or any genre, doesn't just mean whatever anybody who comes along thinks it means. The label has meaning. Toby Keith is not Goth, Rammstein is not Rockabilly, Jane Austin is not a Science Fiction writer, Nigeria is not Canada.

You make a good point, but i think your taking my initial statement to far. I did not mean that these things have no set definition. What i was trying to say is that while it has a broad definition, everyone has a different spesific definition. I can promise you that the second you try and define Goth in any terms more spesific then a, if not vauge, then at least general, words, it really wont be that difficult to find a goth who disagrees with you. While there are certain established factors of a catagory (there have to be, or else it wouldent exist), the spesifics is where people do, and always will quibble. My basic point is that youll never be able to pin the details down cus theres alot of people with different opinions on them. I think we can all agree on the broad basics.
Logged
Caine
Gunner
**
United States United States


Rivetsmith and Astroscavenger


« Reply #18 on: May 12, 2007, 06:20:59 pm »

Steampunk is used a as a catch all a bit too in my opinion. I'm not saying that Dieselpunk and Sandalpunk can't be variants of the Steampunk Genre, all I'm saying is that you don't call Football Rugby. You might say that Rugby is a variant of Football, but that doesn't make it the same thing, they just have some things in common. So, although I don't think that Steampunk should be used when what really means Dieselpunk, it's also okay to have Steampunk be the main genre and let the others be branching offs of Steampunk. In the same sense that you have Cricket, Softball, Baseball and Tee-Ball, they all come from the same root, but they certainly aren't all Baseball.
Logged

It's like I always say: All extremely intelligent people should be cremated as a matter of public safety.
Baron Verndorf
Zeppelin Captain
*****
United States United States

Mad Philosopher and True Gentleman


WWW
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2007, 12:45:09 am »

Steampunk is used a as a catch all a bit too in my opinion. I'm not saying that Dieselpunk and Sandalpunk can't be variants of the Steampunk Genre, all I'm saying is that you don't call Football Rugby. You might say that Rugby is a variant of Football, but that doesn't make it the same thing, they just have some things in common. So, although I don't think that Steampunk should be used when what really means Dieselpunk, it's also okay to have Steampunk be the main genre and let the others be branching offs of Steampunk. In the same sense that you have Cricket, Softball, Baseball and Tee-Ball, they all come from the same root, but they certainly aren't all Baseball.

I completely agree with this. My original point was that youll never get everyone to agree on the spesific rules of rugby though, only that it's different than football (exept you can because thats a sport with spesific rules, and steampunk ins't... you get my point, the metephor stands).
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.20 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.289 seconds with 16 queries.