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Author Topic: Steampunk Cliches  (Read 2497 times)
Laura
Deck Hand
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United Kingdom United Kingdom


« on: August 07, 2014, 10:00:51 am »

Every Genre has Cliches so what is Steampunks?
What those ones you Love? you Hate? and you just Can't Live Without?
 Smiley
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Fairley B. Strange
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Relax, I've done much dumber things and survived..


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« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2014, 10:18:29 am »

Deck Hands who can't use the 'search' function?    Grin

Spoiler (click to show/hide)
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Laura
Deck Hand
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« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2014, 10:32:05 am »

Thanks! I didn't know about that function Undecided I found people talking about it here and there on other post and one post dedicated to it with the last post being in 2012  Shocked

Would be nice to start a new one....
« Last Edit: August 07, 2014, 11:10:26 am by Laura » Logged
Prof Thadeus Q. Wychlock
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What Watt ?!


« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2014, 11:32:56 am »

Don't worry Laura ....

I'm sure FBS just had a tiny glitch in his grumpy circuits today  Grin

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Argus Fairbrass
Rogue Ætherlord
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England England


So English even the English don't get it!


« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2014, 11:55:35 am »

Cliches I could live without?

Nerf Guns.

Gratuitous gears.

Cliches I love.

Goggles, airships, cowboys n saloon girls, retrofuturistic soldiers, engineering, robots, prosthetics, mad science, Victorians etc. They've all been done to death, but an interest in C19th/early 20th history and literature, plus a love of antique and vintage styling and tech is what got me interested in the first place. If you don't like these things I'd question what on earth you're doing here, so the cliche status doesn't bother me.

There are still innovations from the maker community, maybe in the literature too, but I must confess I've pretty much switched off from the current stuff. But yes we do love our cliches, even so I personally feel we could at least do with a few more.
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Dr Fidelius
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Professor of Applied Paleontology, Miskatonic U.


« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2014, 01:39:15 pm »

If you like them, they are venerable tropes.

If you hate them, they are worn-out cliches.
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The opinions expressed here are my own, and do not represent any other persons, organizations, spirits, thinking machines, hive minds or other sentient beings on this world or any adjacent dimensions in the multiverse.
Argus Fairbrass
Rogue Ætherlord
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England England


So English even the English don't get it!


« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2014, 02:17:45 pm »

If you like them, they are venerable tropes.

If you hate them, they are worn-out cliches.

Lol, nicely put.
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James Harrison
Immortal
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Bachelor of the Arts; Master of the Sciences


« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2014, 08:49:16 pm »

My opinions on this could (probably in fact will) ruffle a few feathers.  Proceed with caution...

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

I think that is about it... for now. 
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MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
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United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2014, 11:22:59 pm »

1. Similarly to Mr. Harrison: Britain as the seat, center and only possible location of all things steampunk. What about what's going on in Japan, or maybe Italy? Manchuria? The Americas? Yes, I know, I'm guilty of same.

2. Steam as the only valid Victorian source of motive power. I mean, yeesh, They had gasoline engines back them, people, and Queen Victoria was still hale and whole after the invention of diesel technology. (late 1880s thru 1890s, for crying out loud).

3. Cartridge firearm technology/muzzleloading firearm technology. There seems to be a definite tendency to assume that either
a. they didn't have cartridges before 1890, or
b. cartridges date back to the regency period. Not entirely wrong, but sheesh...
« Last Edit: August 07, 2014, 11:25:33 pm by MWBailey » Logged

Walk softly and carry a big banjo...

""quid statis aspicientes in infernum"
Argus Fairbrass
Rogue Ætherlord
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England England


So English even the English don't get it!


« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2014, 12:58:25 am »

My opinions on this could (probably in fact will) ruffle a few feathers.  Proceed with caution...

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

I'm going to address this one purely for fun. Goggles can be for eye protection, or ocular enhancement. That's why I personally have different styles for different outfits, and indeed sometimes don't wear 'em at all (gasp).

I do kind of baulk at those Halcyon WW2 style aviator or motorcycle goggles on top hats. I mean rly? how fast do you think you're going to go in that hat? But the more delicate designs that look a bit more scientific, could feasibly be used to assist with seeing down the dark foggy back alleys of that there London you're so fond of. Grin Or special lenses employed in looking for spectral clues in a spooky Sherlock Holmes meets Ghostbusters type scenario. Even to project some kind of HUD or targeting reticule, y'know, something along those lines. Just as utilitarian looking dust protectors, don't seem too out of place on a trail stained cowboy hat or a sandy pith (as indeed they were worn for realz). To me different styles suggest different uses basically, but I do appreciate it if a little thought has been put into coordinating them with the outfit.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2014, 01:02:14 am by Argus Fairbrass » Logged
Maets
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« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2014, 01:52:19 am »

I agree with random gears and nerf guns being overused.
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MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
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United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2014, 05:30:15 am »

Here's another set for me of cliches that I find irritating (I'll add cliches that I love in a bit):

1. The insistence on absolute plausibility and/or scientific /historic/what have you accuracy in storytelling. I like a degree of plausibility that agrees with the tech and science of the story (notice that I did not say "tech and science in the real world"). Lighten up, It's Science Fiction, it's not supposed to be factual. It's fine to prefer such plausibility, but everybody doesn't have to agree on it.

2. The tendency to insist on science as a package deal. Science and the scientific method don't work that way; they're not a religion, and people whose words or opinions don't agree with your understanding of the discipline are not heretics (Thanks to  Lindybeige -the youtuber - for wording this so succinctly. Please pardon my borrowing and paraphrasing).

Contrary to popular belief, one does not have to accept that electricity works a certain way just because one accepted that rain condenses from moisture in the atmosphere, or that lightning isn't hurled by some bipolar frenzied womanizing  guy up in the clouds just because one accepts the idea that water boils at a certain temperature. [my words, not Lindy's. Gawd, That ranting is addictive Wink]. It's about observation and experimentation, not dogmatic rote learning, which is why science classes tend to include experimental exercises (well, mine did way back when, anyway).

3. The rather laughably erroneous idea that Steampunk is an offshoot of the punk movement, when in fact the term was coined to delineate a subgenre of literature - not music. By my lights, Steampunk music is music by steampunks, not punk rock or any other single genre, unless punk rockers (or whichever) who happen to be steampunks happen to be playing the music. My banjo music is steampunk because I'm a steampunk and I happen to play it, not because it's a punk offshoot*. Yes, there have been a couple or few bands that featured a banjo player and were hailed as being "punk," but that doesn't apply to me.



-----
*No, I'm not saying that banjo music is all steampunk because I happen to play the banjo. That would be silly and self-contradictory.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2014, 05:54:41 am by MWBailey » Logged
Knight Walker
Gunner
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United States United States



« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2014, 01:02:31 pm »

I little magic makes everything work!  Cheesy
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Fairley B. Strange
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« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2014, 01:05:54 pm »

Don't worry Laura ....

I'm sure FBS just had a tiny glitch in his grumpy circuits today  Grin

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Actually, I trying for ironic meta-cliche humour.
(The BG cliche is a new-kid asks a naive question, some grumpy bugger says 'search'.)
Obviously humour is not my forte this week.
Apologies.

Everyone else seems to have covered the actual cliche gamut.

So, while I'm still pseudo-grumpy:
1) 'Female-persons of Steampunk' who are "pr0n-with-a-cog-glued-on".
Not that I mind depictions of well dressed YLs, or even tasteful pr0n ahem, erotica, but I worry that it does set the usual unrealistic view of the fairer sex of SP, not just for aspiring cosplayers/dressers but the drooling fanboys it attracts.

2) Rayguns. Yes, there are a lot of clever artisans out there, but honestly, what's 'steam~' about needle-nosed blaster-pistols?
Okay, it might be utilising Aether instead, but if there's brass there will be good old fashioned lead, and if one can pack enough aether-battery into that mini-derringer-muff-pistol to do more than singe a moustache one should be able to light the Crystal Palace with Aether-neon advertisements.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2014, 01:24:26 pm by Fairley B. Strange » Logged
pakled
Zeppelin Captain
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United States United States


Minions Local 305, at your thervice!


« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2014, 06:09:30 am »

uh oh, I'm guilty of #1, on two counts...Wink

I think the environment should fit the story. Not too blatantly wrong, but just enough support to carry the tale along. If it depends too much on the gears, it's going to start losing readers...
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Fairley B. Strange
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Relax, I've done much dumber things and survived..


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« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2014, 10:16:04 am »

uh oh, I'm guilty of #1, on two counts...Wink

I think the environment should fit the story. Not too blatantly wrong, but just enough support to carry the tale along. If it depends too much on the gears, it's going to start losing readers...

Which #1? Bailey's or mine?     Grin
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Kieranfoy
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Wot's a personal text?


« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2014, 04:50:32 pm »

Mechanical prostitutes.

Not that I'm complaining.
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Kevin C Cooper Esq
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Asymetry is the bane of my life


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« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2014, 06:34:55 pm »

Gratutious goggles Mr Harrison? Those of whose Steampunk dress is not styled on a particular character or persona such as "explorer", "engineer" etc, but more on a Victorian style, e.g; Frock coat, top hat and cravat. Wear our goggles to disabuse the neighbours who think we just attend a lot of weddings!
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Argus Fairbrass
Rogue Ætherlord
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England England


So English even the English don't get it!


« Reply #18 on: August 11, 2014, 11:07:28 pm »

Gratutious goggles Mr Harrison? Those of whose Steampunk dress is not styled on a particular character or persona such as "explorer", "engineer" etc, but more on a Victorian style, e.g; Frock coat, top hat and cravat. Wear our goggles to disabuse the neighbours who think we just attend a lot of weddings!

^^, if BG had a like button!  Cheesy
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pakled
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Minions Local 305, at your thervice!


« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2014, 06:35:13 am »

erm, FB Strange's...Wink It was years ago, so statute of limitations and all that...Wink
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GCCC
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United States United States


« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2014, 08:13:48 pm »

For me, the thing I want to see the end of are gratuitous gears, cogs, wheels, etc., that don't look like they do anything.

Dirigibles should be used where appropriate, and given realistic limitations (look to real-world specs on the upper atmosphere; yeah, your airship might be able to go that high, but would you still be alive to know it?). There are an alarming number of mountains, for example, one should still have to go around rather than over. Switch to rail and water travel to mix it up.

Goggles are fine if they serve a function, but not necessarily as fashion. (This applies to fiction; in cosplay, they are de rigueur.)

I think Nerfs are fine if modded well, but not everyone has the same skills, so, c'mon, give those folks a break. (Also, I recently saw this at Target; working single-action revolver!:) 
Spoiler (click to show/hide)


But perhaps the biggest cliche'...are the people telling other people what is and is not Steampunk. So in other words, hang the rest of us, and do what you want with it!

And finally, for the benefit of our newest poster (just to cover our Number One Cliche'):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=TFCuE5rHbPA
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Vagabond GentleMan
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Clockwork Sepia


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« Reply #21 on: August 30, 2014, 01:33:34 am »

Heck!  There are a lot of good responses on this thread already!  I'll throw my two cents in regardless.

Firstly I'm gonna jump on the goggles bandwagon.  Truth be told, I've always LIKED goggles, and had a small collection before I'd heard of Steampunk (so we're talking over a decade ago...), but I'm tired  specifically of the goggles-as-hatband thing.  Also tired of tophat-plus-goggles-equals-Steampunk paradigm. 
Though I suppose it has become sort of a Steampunk iconic motif and is surely defensible, whether or not I'm rolling my eyes.

I think I've mentioned this complaint before on other threads and always laugh because my little profile pic from like 7 or 8 years ago is of myself wearing goggles as a hatband for my tophat.  Hilarious, no?  Cheesy

Second ugly cliche is certainly the "Steampunk-is-THIS" -type-statement.  We all tend to agree that no one has a monopoly on defining Steampunk, and yet even old-timers will sneak in their preconceptions and preferences here and there, sneakily and/or obliviously.  It gets under my skin the most in a couple of circumstances, the lesser of which is generally presented: "Steampunk is fantasy" or "Steampunk is an Art movement" or "Steampunk is an aesthetic" or something of that ilk.  The greater of which is more personal, for often folk ignore the fact that for SOME Steampunks, though certainly a minority in the States, Steampunk functions as a living, breathing subculture.  Full-time steamPUNK.  Though it's true the term Steampunk has its origins in literature, Steampunk has become many things and evolved in many ways, including yes, a post-punk bohemian counterculture.  If it weren't, I would neither be here nor be interested.

Third ugly cliche is to some degree the Devil's Advocate response of the above...the "Steampunk is whatever you want it to be" paradigm.  Just because Steampunk has an ambiguous and often fluid (lack of) definition, DOESN'T mean that you can just say something is Steampunk because you want it to be.  I can stick a frying pan in a bucket of mud and call it a bicycle, but a bicycle it is not.

Not that any of it really matters, right?  Steampunks more often than not love this thing without taking it over-seriously, which I feel is a good thing.  >shrugs<

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MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
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United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2014, 08:25:08 am »

Opinions are wonderful things. Here's another of mine:

The No Gears Cliche (it's headed that way, believe me)

People should be able to use gears as they see fit, in my opinion.

If they prefer not to use them, fine. 19th-century ornamentational norms are full of other things that can get as over-the-top baroque as one could wish without ever portraying a gear or a cog. Or, if they prefer no ornamentation, that's fine as well, or should be, since lots of people shied away from ornamentation as a cultural, in some cases even religious, thing.

But...

IMHO gears should be considered a valid ornamental motif item. I really don't understand this current movement toward decrying gears in any form, or insisting that they absolutely must have an absolutely plausible function (really, now, you want an entire drivetrain from engine to end result moving something in the piece, and it all should work? That's like insisting that instead of having pinstriped ferns and cloudscapes, we should use planters installed on the item in question, as well as miniature mechanical skies, complete with blue sky, clouds and  birds, or its just not "kosher." Come on, now, all that wold be utterly cool, sure, but to insist on it? That's ridiculous).

They (gears) should be allowed to intermingle as much as the artisan wishes, however the artisan wishes, with the rest of Victoriana's already notoriously over-the-top baroque-ish ornamentation, which by nearly hardwired tradition appropriated damned near everything else into it's repertoire (and beautifully so IMHO). This insistence that gears are somehow not good form is utterly absurd, in my view. We do not have the right to censure people that way - or at least,  we shouldn't.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2014, 09:29:01 am by MWBailey » Logged
GCCC
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« Reply #23 on: August 30, 2014, 11:16:22 pm »

@MWBailey:

Agreed, but the thread did start out asking about cliche's, and gears, working or not, seem to be pretty much at the top of the list.

Contrary to my own comments above, for example, here are some examples of the motif that, while strictly non-functional, I find quite appealing:
For the cravat of the discerning gentleman: 
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
For the arm of the discerning regiment:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
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Spoiler (click to show/hide)
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And so forth.

Point being, for every cliche' we can mention, whether we embrace them or reject them, I have so far failed to encounter anyone in the Steampunk community (myself included) who hasn't found at least one exception to the rules guiding their own tastes.
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Vagabond GentleMan
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« Reply #24 on: August 31, 2014, 12:22:47 am »

Where did ya find all of those cool patches?
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