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Author Topic: Questions concerning the 'Classic Steampunk Texts'  (Read 1942 times)
violet-skye
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« on: March 06, 2007, 07:03:40 pm »

Hello everyone,

I've never posted here before so I hope you'll be patient with me. I am carrying out a piece of research for my university concerning the genre of steampunk and how it has evolved from Victorian texts.

I would like to get some reactions from genuine fans of the genre as to what steampunk means to them and whether they feel that the genre has evolved from classical Victorian texts - such as perhaps H G Wells, or not.

Due to the nature of my research i will have to commit myself to studying one or two books/films in depth which somehow define the genre. I know that it will be difficult to choose and so I’ve decided to ask you as readers what you feel to be the classical works of steampunk. (I was thinking of starting myself with The Difference Engine). Are there any works which you feel sum up the genre perfectly, any works which are classics within the genre?

I'd really appreciate any suggestions - i want my research to reflect what real fans of the genre actually read (or watch)and love. At the same time the works have to be representative of the genre.

I hope you'll take the time to reply and excuse my own lack of knowledge

many thanks
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Josh of Vernian Process
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« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2007, 12:20:54 am »

You may want to read (arguably) the first Steampunk novel, Michael Moorcock's "A Nomad of the Time Streams" (1971).

There's a more detailed post in this forum somewhere else regarding that book.
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« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2007, 01:41:39 am »

Though I haven't completed the whole thing yet, I completely agree with VP.
A Nomad of the Time Streams fits my strange preconceptions of steampunk much better than the Difference Engine...
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irisclara
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« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2007, 10:20:04 am »

One problem I have with connecting Victorian adventure fiction with the modern steampunk ideas is the relatively well mannered Victorian hero. A good steampunk story should have a mad genius. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea fits this but Journey to the Center of the Earth doesn't.
Just my 2 cents.
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« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2007, 10:30:35 am »

I think that Victorian science fiction is just that: science fiction written during that time period.

I happen to enjoy this genre more than the typical steampunk novels that began coming out during last part of the 20th century.

Although their fans readily mix, it is important to note that they are different groups of literature.

If you are going with the Victorian stuff though,  Wells and Verne, of course, but you might also look at the Prof. Challenger series by Conan Doyle (Journey to the Center of the Earth, etc).  Some of the Sherlock Holmes short stories also exhibit (in my mind) elements of science fiction (Genetic Modification, Strange Inventions that allow the villain to commit the crimes, fantastic explorations, etc.)
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« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2007, 04:40:53 am »

I must agree with Messrs. Process and Dragon - as much as I enjoyed (most of) "The Difference Engine", I found myself wondering where Mr. Bastable was hiding....  Smiley
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« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2007, 05:07:36 am »

To me, steampunk is a modern genre, based on ideas expressed in the science fiction of Jules verne and the like. The old science fiction is not actually steampunk.
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