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Author Topic: Did Doctor Who invent Steampunk?  (Read 1502 times)
5tephe
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« on: May 19, 2011, 08:18:10 am »

Now there is an interesting question.

And here is a guy who makes a pretty good argument in this post of his (fantastic) Doctor Who blog, that the answer is "Yes".

Specifically, that David Whitaker (editor for the first season and a half of Doctor who back in 1963, and consistent writer on the show for many years during and afterward) came up with it in 1967, and had been subtly inserting into the series all sorts of references to Alchemy for years!

Anyway, that is a great blog - my current favourite - and I thoroughly recommend both reading that post, and then working your way through the entire set of articles.
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markf
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« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2011, 01:07:57 pm »

Since Verne's "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas" (1869) and other steampunk classics by the masters which hit worldwide fame in the Victorian era and prefaced Dr Who by at least a century there is ample evidence that 'historical science fiction', as it was called in the NY Times in the 1960s, had been around and wildly popular before the invention of the Tardis.  Whether once calls it steampunk or another term du jour has little relevance to the principle of its historical sci-fi core. markf
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TimeTinker
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« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2011, 01:23:28 pm »

I am firmly of the opinion that steampunk is little more than a label tagged on to a theme which is part of the Western World's cultural make up.  The Victorian so called "Scientific Romances" have had a massive impact on our cultural identity and these have been revisited at frequent intervals ever since they were published.  They have also inspired other works (at least in part) which have added to this fertile ground of Victorian fantasy.    Visual interpretations of these works (both original Victorian ones and subsequently) have both a conscious and unconscious influence on subsequent works - textual, graphic and moving media.  This should be viewed as an expansion of the material rather than an evolution since there is no single strand of development.

it is impossible to extract modern steampunk from what has gone before.  The precedents are part of our developmental socialisation and have influence even if we deny their "pedigree".

Steampunk can therefore be seen in three different ways:

(1) An overarching idea of (at least in part) Victorian inspired science fantasy.

(2) A modern community or movement which refers to the first.

(3) A caucus of work which exists in isolation and valid only from the date of Jeter's joke naming of the genre.

The third position is untenable and the first two are virtually inextricably linked.

Doctor Who inventing steampunk? No way whatsoever in relation to the three options above.  Doctor Who having a new storyline or plot device that hadn't been used before. Quite possibly.
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bicyclebuilder
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« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2011, 01:49:26 pm »

Although Doctor Who is a fantastic series, it is (in my opinion) not Steampunk. I'd go with TimeTinker's #1 way. "An overarching idea of (at least in part) Victorian inspired science fantasy."
If I would have to classify Doctor Who, I'd say somewhere bitween Dieselpunk and Cyberpunk. Pre-PC punk? sixtiespunk? Doctor Who is looking forward in time from a 1960's point of view.

All of the above is IMHO.
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Just call me Rob
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« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2011, 02:12:09 pm »

Nope. Definitely not.

I read some of that blog, then did a search for the term steampunk in the wall of text.
His justification is that an Alchemical time machine in Victorian England = the invention of steampunk.
I think not.

I really didn't enjoy reading the blog in general really, very badly written in my opinion.
My suggestion to anyone contemplating it is to do a quick search for the term steampunk, Read the few paragraphs around the first instance of the word.
Then search of the next instance and see how impressed the author is that Dr Who invented steampunk years before punk was invented.
Alternatively – don't bother. Smiley

I get the impression the author is just trying to make them fit together whatever the cost.
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Atterton
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« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2011, 07:43:44 pm »

Ehhh, no. I´m not sure there´s more to be said.
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Dr Fidelius
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« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2011, 01:09:35 pm »

Well, given a large enough mallet we can bash anything together.  But no, Dr. Who is an enjoyable collection of stories but there is no reason to burden it with also being the wellspring of a currently fashionable sub-genre.

This claim brings no insight into either Dr. Who or Steampunk.  It reeks of bandwagon-jumping.
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bicyclebuilder
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« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2011, 01:56:47 pm »

So, Dr. Who didn't invent Steampunk, but what about Dr. No?
And Dr. Evil? Dr. Dre? Doc Brown?
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Capt. Dirigible
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« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2011, 03:17:56 pm »

So, Dr. Who didn't invent Steampunk, but what about Dr. No?
And Dr. Evil? Dr. Dre? Doc Brown?

Surely Doctor Moreau would be a more likely candidate?

Or Doctor Jekyll...?
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markf
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« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2011, 03:19:06 pm »

or Dock of the Bay? markf
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bicyclebuilder
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« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2011, 03:22:30 pm »

"The Bay" shoppingmall has a doctor?

What about Doctor Snuggles?
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markf
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« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2011, 03:28:07 pm »

You mean the late Dr Snuggles (after Dr Giggles iced him). markf
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Capt. Dirigible
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« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2011, 03:28:24 pm »

Doctor Myeyes...Doctor Zhivago...Doctor Kisskiss...Doc Leaf...Doc Holliday...Doc Yumentri...Doc Savage..Doc Green...Doc Erpants..

OK.I'll stop now..
« Last Edit: May 20, 2011, 08:04:50 pm by Capt. Dirigible » Logged
Professor Oilcan
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« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2011, 03:34:06 pm »

Not yet but he will!
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bicyclebuilder
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« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2011, 03:35:49 pm »

No no, please. Carry on.
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Capt. Dirigible
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« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2011, 04:11:15 pm »

No no, please. Carry on.

Carry On?  Why didn't you say so?

Dr Tinkle..Dr Kilmore..Dr Stoppidge..Dr Nookey...Dr Prodd..Dr Watt
("Doctor who,Sir?"..." 'Watt'..'Who' was my uncle")









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Rockula
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« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2011, 07:56:06 pm »

Doctor Who did not invent Steampunk...yet.
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Capt. Dirigible
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« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2011, 08:06:30 pm »

Quote
Not yet but he will!


Quote
Doctor Who did not invent Steampunk...yet.


I'm stuck in a loop!!!
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Rockula
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Nothing beats a good hat.


« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2011, 08:54:42 pm »

Quote
Not yet but he will!


Quote
Doctor Who did not invent Steampunk...yet.


I'm stuck in a loop!!!


I posted first but the other guy had a time machine. Honest Guv.
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Atterton
Time Traveler
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Only The Shadow knows


« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2011, 09:00:11 pm »

The TV-series Wild Wild West dates back to 1965, so predates this episode by 2 years anyway.
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