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Author Topic: Retro-Futurism A broader interest than simple Steampunk  (Read 13952 times)
fmra
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« Reply #50 on: March 09, 2007, 08:06:40 pm »

I don't think of myself as counter-culture, weird maybe.  And I'm not interesting in sucking the fun out of anything.

And it seems we're fighting here and agreeing on another post, basically over the same argument. Smiley

There is no "Real Steampunk", just a myriad of overlapping interests.  Steampunk resides somewhere in the middle.  creating dogma and exclusivity or trying to expand something without bounds is silly.  Yes, steampunk should have a general grounding in Victorian era scientific romance, but it should not be strictly limited to it.  Since steampunk hasn't even been satisfactorily defined, there is no way it can be measured yet.

Non-definition scares people and so they're searching and testing boundaries, but I don't think it wholly necessary.

When I met up with Anachronist at the Edison, we briefly talked about this, and he presented some options  and I did as well.  Things change, if you don't want to follow the change, just stay as you are.  When steampunk hits hot topic, refuse to buy it and continue making your own.  when the kids tell you that you're not steampunk, ignore them.  You were here first and its ridiculous to say that anyone can suck the fun out without your permission.  Yes it cuts down on your ability to join the world wide steampunk community after it moves on, but no one is forcing you to keep up.  In fact, by obstinately refusing to follow the collective, you become doubly anachronistic.

when the n00bs announce the definition they have for steampunk, kindly say "yeah, thats part of it, but not all of it".  their affect won't be lasting.  As you said, they'll tire and move on and you'll remain with those who know that steampunk doesn't have to be reductionistic or pioneering to be steampunk.  It just is.

So basically.  Don't let others define your likes and dislikes, just do what you like.

"Like, seriously fmra, if you want to do something important, put away your Ramones CDs, leave Steampunk alone and go join Amnesty International or Habitat for Humanity."

And please, leave personal attacks at the door.

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

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Fantômas
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« Reply #51 on: March 10, 2007, 02:40:18 am »

Yes I saw it and yes I did post in spite of it.
Your post doesn't actually present anything to support your claims other than some call to authority (a well known fallacy) "Because William Gibson said it it is true" a little bit of backing up your assertions with your own opinion (and if you think that works try leaning on yourself while you wait for a train and you will find it doesn't.)

I'll have to let my profs know that. The only difference between that post and a university paper was a lack of cited sources and about 20 pages.

Quote
One more thing, it isn't anything but rude and totally not your place to tell some very enthusiastic folks what can't be done with a genre and subculture that is still growing, because it isn't just yours.

And it is rude and not their place to try and redefine and relabel Pulp to suit themselves. It is also rude and totally not your place to throw that accusation around at people for dissenting from it.


It is definitely the place of the people who make up a movement of interest of any sort to redefine and be involved in the growth of whatever movement of interest they are involved in. Without those folks there is NO INTEREST, and NO MOVEMENT.

What you fail to realize is that you are one of them. Contributing your opinion and your ideas, just like everyone else. Helping to sculpt the future of what this all becomes like everyone else, but that is all. And creative contribution is not rude, it's a fact and it's quite beautiful from other perspectives you perhaps have not considered. No one can suck the fun out of anything for you, in the end all you have to do is relax and have fun, others are trying to do the same. why don't you let them?

As for redefining a genre of literature to suit oneself, that is precisely what any contemporary author who re-contextualizes an otherwise dead genre of literature (Like what you call steampunk) has essentially done. They have taken a genre created by others long ago, and recreated it to suit themselves. I don't quite grasp how you can love it so much, and yet be so against others actually contributing to it....that...just makes no sense. Nothing is being ruined man. Would you then also think that the present is somehow destroyed and ruined by the future? no way, it's growing, and always becoming something new and interesting and unexpected, and thats really beautiful not some personal slight toward you, or what you perceive as your present. Do you see what I'm saying here? when an interest stops growing and stops being reinterpreted, it dies in a sense, there is only what there was and no more then, and eventually people get bored of that,. and they put it down. No one reads the same book five hundred times and has the same "WOW" every time unless they have the memory of a goldfish, new books are needed within a genre for it to stay interesting, and when a genre has pretty much been fleshed out, that means they have to be re contextualized, new ways of seeing it are added, new ways of looking at it , and mixing things here and there carefully like a chef. This is where new life comes from creatively, at a certain point all the interesting permutations of a formula have been covered and new variables are necessarry to give an old formula new life. thats just how it is.


I don't know what agenda you think is behind this point of view, but I don't have one man. I just happen to know that if this genre is so clearly defined that it can't change or grow or have any new or interesting developments, if there is no room whatsoever for creative involvement in being part of it , being part of helping it take form, then it's already dead.


and it doesn't look dead to me Smiley




One last thing, I have to agree with fmra ,Ad hominem arguments totally don't belong here. I think it is fine to have any number of issues with a persons perspective or their argument and from that standpoint even the most intense discussions can be fun, but when one crosses the line and makes it personal, thats when a polite or even a fascinating conversation or debate stops being invigorating, and starts becoming offensive.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2007, 02:58:29 am by Fantômas » Logged

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« Reply #52 on: March 10, 2007, 07:21:09 am »

I may be late in all of this, and my point may not be entirely coherent especially since I havn't slept in the last few days, but I feel as if I should say something.
I don't fully understand the problem going on, I can see that in general steampunk does take place in a victorian setting and all, but (for example) when I included a different time period it no longer became "steampunk" but became "dieselpunk" and then I was told that it's not polite to try to streatch a term to fit my own personal tastes.. and I understand this, but now it appears as if this sub-genre'ing is going too far.
 I can dig the difference of steam vs. disel -punk, but now I'm hearing Indyana Jones thrown into the mix and defended as not being diesilpunk and instead being pulp.
ok how exactly did Indyana Jones even at one point be considered anyything other than pulp? outside of the religious artifacts and traps (which were somewhat grounded into reality) there wasn't anything fantastical about the movies.

*realizes he's rambled and not gotten to a point yet* I think that the idea behind the definition of -punk has gotten blured a great deal in these discussions, when I think of steampunk, I think of a time period in the past (usually victorian era) that has higher technology than what was available at the time, through the use of the available resources at the time.
and I would honestly classify the prefix on the major source of power used in the world, steampunk=steam, dieselpunk=disel fuel ext. what I think the point is, is the -punk that to me says alot, to me the -punk is the higher technology and fantastical elements, say like what I think of diesilpunk, it would be a time period (let's say the 50's as it's the general concinsus of the "set" time frame) there would be robots, androids, ext, but in that time piriod.

what I'm even doing this is how the definitions are being blured, for example Last Exile, I've been told that it is steampunk inspired or that it's diselpunk, I have to argue with this, in the world all the machines are powered off of an element called claudia, (to quote wikipedia) "Claudia is a glowing, blue, potentially-explosive ore mined on the floating world of Prester. It is processed into liquid Claudia fuel that is compressed and "burned" within the vanship's steam engine to provide both lift and propulsion. The exact process is never explained in the series, but it is known that the Claudia is somehow burned to pressurize the water in the steam engine, which is then used to pressurize and thus "charge" the Claudia, causing it to repel gravity and make the ship effectively weightless. The only known byproduct of this process is the steam that comes out of the thruster at the rear of the vanship, particularly when traveling at high speed."
so ultimatly the machiens ARE steam powered, the claudia reacts with the steam, so it could be see that steam is the fuel source, or at least a component of the fuel.
not only that but the most of the weapons are steam powered, so how did this become non steampunk? just because the style and timeperiod are NOT victorian?

that doesen't make since to me and is the point I'm trying to make *finally got around to it* when did the definition state that steampunk HAD to be in a set time period? I feel that if a world has steam powered technology, yet has say art-decco stylings and 90's type music and can be logically explained, wouldn't it then still be steampunk?

but then that's just the way I think, I could be wrong... my point may not have even made since, but I felt the need to speak my mind, so please don't flame me I'm not trying to start anything
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« Reply #53 on: March 10, 2007, 07:32:28 am »

This is of greater (but, indeed, not ultimate) personal concern to me than some lunatic with their lunatic version of reality because it's dealing with... and subsequently sucking all the fun out of... a lot of stuff that I happen to love.

When this board started up we immediately rushed into this big row in which n00bs wanted to "stretch the boundaries" of Steampunk to mean that it belonged only to people like themselves who wanted it to be about adherence to some kind of manifesto-laden, pseudo-revolutionary, DIY, Punk dogma. Not that it was expansive enough to include DIY for people who were into that, not that it was expansive enough to include manifestos for people who aren't involved with actual social, economic and environmental justice causes.... rather, that only those people were "Real Steampunks".   

Okay, sure... so now we've sucked all the fun out of what is really nothing more than a form of entertainment anyways. I'll just go back and start rewatching all those great ol' Dracula and King Kong movies I've been neglecting in favour of watching bad 60's Steampunk movies and arguing with people who want to appropriate Steampunk to their pseudo-revolutionary dogmas.

Oh but wait, now we're having a big fight over renaming all those great ol' Dracula and King Kong movies "Dieselpunk" so we can suck the fun out of that too. Let me guess... Now you're only a "Real Dieselpunk" if you draft up a pseudo-revolutionary manifesto about DIY Punk dogmas about Pulp fiction? My goodness where does it stop... unless you're a DIY flintnapper and subscribe to manifestos about the downtrodden dinosaur slave class, you're not a "real" fan of the Flintstones?!

Those of us having a fit over "(re)invententing steampunk/dieselpunk" aren't worried that "the entire movement will somehow be thrown into a rapidly declining pit of inanity and madness." It's just that we don't want "prescriptivists" sucking all the fun out of something we genuinely like and turning it into something it's not because they want to posture themselves as being somehow revolutionary and counter-cultural for liking one form of entertainment over another, only to abandon it in a few months anyways as they go chasing after the next big fad. Like, seriously fmra, if you want to do something important, put away your Ramones CDs, leave Steampunk alone and go join Amnesty International or Habitat for Humanity. There isn't anything more revolutionary DIY than building a house for someone who doesn't have one. 

If Steampunk isn't fun, it has no point. And if your idea of fun is taking away someone else's fun so you can think you're being counter-cultural, then you should expect that those people will fight to keep their fun.   

Cory-- First off, in trying to come up with a idea of what Dieselpunk could be, some of us at least were trying to come up with something that was influenced by classic pulp adventure and Hollywood, but was different... We were really trying to differentiate it from those influences. You were the one who claimed there was no difference. If you would allow us to discuss it, to brainstorm about it more, perhaps we could come up with something. I for one, have no interest in sucking the fun out of any of your favorite genres.
I just happen to think anachronism, and genre blending is fun. I'm not trying to relabel anything. I'm trying to synthesize something new to fit a new label.

It is definitely the place of the people who make up a movement of interest of any sort to redefine and be involved in the growth of whatever movement of interest they are involved in. Without those folks there is NO INTEREST, and NO MOVEMENT.

What you fail to realize is that you are one of them. Contributing your opinion and your ideas, just like everyone else. Helping to sculpt the future of what this all becomes like everyone else, but that is all. And creative contribution is not rude, it's a fact and it's quite beautiful from other perspectives you perhaps have not considered. No one can suck the fun out of anything for you, in the end all you have to do is relax and have fun, others are trying to do the same. why don't you let them?

As for redefining a genre of literature to suit oneself, that is precisely what any contemporary author who re-contextualizes an otherwise dead genre of literature (Like what you call steampunk) has essentially done. They have taken a genre created by others long ago, and recreated it to suit themselves. I don't quite grasp how you can love it so much, and yet be so against others actually contributing to it....that...just makes no sense. Nothing is being ruined man. Would you then also think that the present is somehow destroyed and ruined by the future? no way, it's growing, and always becoming something new and interesting and unexpected, and thats really beautiful not some personal slight toward you, or what you perceive as your present. Do you see what I'm saying here? when an interest stops growing and stops being reinterpreted, it dies in a sense, there is only what there was and no more then, and eventually people get bored of that,. and they put it down. No one reads the same book five hundred times and has the same "WOW" every time unless they have the memory of a goldfish, new books are needed within a genre for it to stay interesting, and when a genre has pretty much been fleshed out, that means they have to be re contextualized, new ways of seeing it are added, new ways of looking at it , and mixing things here and there carefully like a chef. This is where new life comes from creatively, at a certain point all the interesting permutations of a formula have been covered and new variables are necessarry to give an old formula new life. thats just how it is.


I don't know what agenda you think is behind this point of view, but I don't have one man. I just happen to know that if this genre is so clearly defined that it can't change or grow or have any new or interesting developments, if there is no room whatsoever for creative involvement in being part of it , being part of helping it take form, then it's already dead.


and it doesn't look dead to me Smiley




One last thing, I have to agree with fmra ,Ad hominem arguments totally don't belong here. I think it is fine to have any number of issues with a persons perspective or their argument and from that standpoint even the most intense discussions can be fun, but when one crosses the line and makes it personal, thats when a polite or even a fascinating conversation or debate stops being invigorating, and starts becoming offensive.

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« Reply #54 on: March 10, 2007, 07:46:17 am »

Quote
I just happen to think anachronism, and genre blending is fun. I'm not trying to relabel anything. I'm trying to synthesize something new to fit a new label.
thank you, I belive that was what I was trying to say in that vichyssoise of verbiage that I posted last.
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« Reply #55 on: March 10, 2007, 07:55:48 am »

Alexander-- I agree with you for the most part.
Personally, I find these kinds of debates stimulating, but it is frustrating when they intrude upon other discussions, such as "how to build goggles"...
Hopefully we can keep our little semiotics/debate club sequestered to Non-Steampunk board from now on...

I love semantics, semiotics and critical theory. I'm the first person to enjoy an academic, dialectical debate. But I think the posts since my last one in this thread have demonstrated that that is not what is going on here.

This is a flame war.

We are lucky enough to be in the company of intelligent, educated people for the most part. It's fantastic. It really raises the standard of discourse in this forum. But it also means that we are better at masking our critical fallacies and ad hominem arguments (flames) behind well-constructed rhetoric and postmodenist buzzwords. That's kind of cool, but it means it's harder to spot and stay away from. Don't get into a flamewar, gentlemen. We're better than that.

Regards,
Alexander
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« Reply #56 on: March 10, 2007, 08:19:28 am »


I love semantics, semiotics and critical theory. I'm the first person to enjoy an academic, dialectical debate. But I think the posts since my last one in this thread have demonstrated that that is not what is going on here.

This is a flame war.

We are lucky enough to be in the company of intelligent, educated people for the most part. It's fantastic. It really raises the standard of discourse in this forum. But it also means that we are better at masking our critical fallacies and ad hominem arguments (flames) behind well-constructed rhetoric and postmodenist buzzwords. That's kind of cool, but it means it's harder to spot and stay away from. Don't get into a flamewar, gentlemen. We're better than that.

Regards,
Alexander

Sadly, Alexander, I am agreeing with you, more and more.
And if I have inadvertently resorted to ad hominem attacks, I sincerely apologize to both those on the receiving end, and to this community as a whole.
It really saddens and frustrates me that we cannot discuss, in the Off Topic board, retro-futurism and anachronism in other eras. I think some folks would be interested, and inspired by such a discussion. But I am beginning to think that it is not possible.
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Fantômas
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« Reply #57 on: March 10, 2007, 03:50:46 pm »


I love semantics, semiotics and critical theory. I'm the first person to enjoy an academic, dialectical debate. But I think the posts since my last one in this thread have demonstrated that that is not what is going on here.

This is a flame war.

We are lucky enough to be in the company of intelligent, educated people for the most part. It's fantastic. It really raises the standard of discourse in this forum. But it also means that we are better at masking our critical fallacies and ad hominem arguments (flames) behind well-constructed rhetoric and postmodenist buzzwords. That's kind of cool, but it means it's harder to spot and stay away from. Don't get into a flamewar, gentlemen. We're better than that.

Regards,
Alexander

Sadly, Alexander, I am agreeing with you, more and more.
And if I have inadvertently resorted to ad hominem attacks, I sincerely apologize to both those on the receiving end, and to this community as a whole.
It really saddens and frustrates me that we cannot discuss, in the Off Topic board, retro-futurism and anachronism in other eras. I think some folks would be interested, and inspired by such a discussion. But I am beginning to think that it is not possible.

If it's become that, that is sad. All I wanted to do was discuss the subject header, the interest was there to discuss it and I was looking forward to it but I guess it's not ok.
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« Reply #58 on: March 10, 2007, 03:54:17 pm »

I think discussion is, or at the very least should be possible, and I too believe that there is room for such discussion at this Forum.  People should not let themselves be discouraged from debate when sometimes emotions may overtake rational discussion.
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« Reply #59 on: March 10, 2007, 07:52:34 pm »

Hullo.  I'm new here, and so perhaps should not weigh in, but I'll be foolish.
I came here by mistake, as it were.  I was looking at a post on Engadget about a steampunk computer, which led me to Brass Goggles, which led me to Datamancer's website.  I have to say I was in awe. I felt like I had found my way home.  You see, I'm 45, and ever since childhood I've been interested in things like gears, cracked science, and history.  I was a teen when the first Indiana Jones movie came out, and it excited me.  So did the wonder of seeing the original King Tut exhibit in New York. When I later did research on alternative subcultures, I fell in love with corsetry, which synced well with my lifelong interest in the Victorian era.  Later I found Goth, which was a bit to my liking, but the music and childish attitude turned me away.  There wasn't enough intellectual rigour.

So, when I found myself on Brass Goggles, I was quite excited.  I thought I was completely alone up until now. I don't have an interest in the fake Victorianism of those silly ladies' magazines, and I have no desire to dress in standard Victorian gear.  As a person of color my take on the Victorian era is a bit different anyway- I can't ignore the virulent racism of the period.  As a cultural anthropologist I know too much about the history of my discipline to have anything but a jaundiced view of the 19th Century, even as I enjoy the science, the wonder, the exploration, the burgeoning technology, and the growth of a liberal consciousness. Because I was brought up learning how to do pretty much everything by hand, I actually know the basics of how to make things, and I enjoy the act of creation.

Like many people, I didn't come here through the literary realm of steampunk.  I've never read 'The Difference Engine'.  I haven't played an RPG since that one time in college- some tedious game called Dungeons and Something that my dorm-mates sucked me into. I loved the machinery in Wild Wild West (the original and the film) but hated the bad plot and insultingly racist nonsense in the movie version (Will Smith should be trussed up and forced to watch that abortion until his eyes bleed). While I have some Ramones, Iggy, and others on my mp3 player, I mostly listen to early jazz and a lot of Baroque.

So what brings me here?  I'm decorating my apartment to look like a skewed vision of the 19th and early 20th century up through 1935. In my twisted version of the world, I'm a Mittel-European grand duchess of a very tiny principality that exists inside my apartment through the joys of a time and space warp that I carry around in my head. I'm planning on completely revamping my computer case and desktop equipment- now I know that I'm not the only one who doesn't want everything to look like something out of 'The Matrix' (which I love, by the way, because it gets that whole 'what you have inside your head is more important than your horrifying surroundings' thing just right).  So am I a Retro-Futurist? I think I've been one since the age of 5- that's 40 years. Am I a gothic Steam-punk? I think so, considering some of the items in my wardrobe. But for me, punkishness is about something other than a type of music or body jewelry or clothing- it's about my politics.  Yet I'm an intellectual (most Punks rejected intellectual endeavor- I know, because my boyfriend was a punk at one point, and was totally into stomping people back then when it was fresh and new) and I also perversely enjoy simplicity despite all the crap I own.

Now, if this space is like so many 'alterna-spaces', you all probably don't want an (to you) old lady like me who isn't going out to clubs or playing games on weekends. Especially since I mix  a variety of pre-1935 periods together in my life.  Perhaps because also I can't ignore the dark side of the 19th century, which was a period of intense cruelty, selfishness, racism, sexism, and class warfare, and see those attitudes embedded in the scientific romances and pulps of that period. But- and this is a huge 'but'- I think it's too early in the game to argue over who belongs right now.  I understand (very much so) where Cory is coming from, and I admire his stance.  But I also think that Steampunk is very clearly part of a larger movement- a movement that has not coalesced because many of us think we are the 'only ones'. We are the people who craft and create art of all types in our homes, apartments and dorm rooms all across the world, in part because we are unhappy with the direction the modern world is taking.  We are horrified and saddened at the waste, suffering, and ecological disaster, even while we enjoy the pleasures of technology and modern life. We suspect or know that there is a beauty in and joy in slowing down, using less-damaging technology, recycling useful objects, and creating beautiful, one of a kind items for our own use.  Unlike the Goth subculture, which, because it was linked primarily to music and often sub-par horror movies through the dreams of working-class, poorly educated youth, this is a movement that seems to be made up of people who would be artists and technicians in any era, even without literature, clothing markers, or books.

 But we are not simply artists and consumers- we are people of our times.  For me, for instance, while I live right now, I'm a product of the 1960s- which is why I still find the idea of a visible bra strap untenable  because in my mind it's too sexual to be seen in public. Likewise, while I may have been born after the Second World War, I understand the 'use it up and wear it out' mentality of the Depression because my parents grew up then- I'm more a Depression person than people born after me, just like most of you are more disco kids than you might realize.  While we are in fact gathering around  several different types of kitsch, that is only the jumping-off point to a greater understanding of an existent culture.  And since eras of time do not have clear-cut endings and are tied together through the lives of those who experience them, this may be why giving a cutting-off date for Steam-punk is so difficult- the different eras fade into each other rather than abruptly stop. Forcing those of us who are making this up as we go along to cut ourselves into pieces would be a mistake for the same reason- many of us have over-lapping interests and skill sets. Chasing people away because we love something and want to keep it for ourselves is not a good idea at this point.  Growth has never occurred in a vacuum, and we don't know at this point whether our words will alienate new people who will come up with the best ideas.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2007, 09:15:15 pm by The Grand Duchess » Logged

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« Reply #60 on: March 10, 2007, 09:18:28 pm »

Firstly, Hello and welcome! Wonerful to have you hear. Please don't let our silly debates turn you away from this great community.

Secondly, I think you should realize that EVERYONE is welcome here. From the 14 year old kid who thinks that My Chemical Romance is Steampunk. To the 90 year old that fondly recalls taking their kids to see 20,000 Leagues when it came out in the theatre.

Now with that said. For me personally, my hope is to rally broaden peoples horizons when it comes to the true masterworks of the genre. Things that your average person may have never heard of, but will likely fall in love with.

I hate having to police the genre with what it and isn't Steampunk/Retro-Futurism/Pulp/Dieselpunk/etc. But at the same time, I'm in Cory's camp as someone who feels that Steampunk does indeed have a real and solid definition. Like I've mentioned many times on this forum, I love and respect many rlated (and not so related) genres of fiction. But I wouldn't call them all Steampunk because I want them to fit into a genre that happens to be hip at the moment.

Now I couldn'thelp notice that you identify with the Goth-Steampunk side of things, so I will have to shamlesly plug my music project (just check out the link in my sig). It's Neo-Classical inspired Cinematic Darkwave/Industrial/Trip-Hop. Or something to that effect.

Cheers!
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« Reply #61 on: March 10, 2007, 10:15:40 pm »

Firstly, Hello and welcome! Wonerful to have you hear. Please don't let our silly debates turn you away from this great community.

Secondly, I think you should realize that EVERYONE is welcome here. From the 14 year old kid who thinks that My Chemical Romance is Steampunk. To the 90 year old that fondly recalls taking their kids to see 20,000 Leagues when it came out in the theatre.

Now with that said. For me personally, my hope is to rally broaden peoples horizons when it comes to the true masterworks of the genre. Things that your average person may have never heard of, but will likely fall in love with.

I hate having to police the genre with what it and isn't Steampunk/Retro-Futurism/Pulp/Dieselpunk/etc. But at the same time, I'm in Cory's camp as someone who feels that Steampunk does indeed have a real and solid definition. Like I've mentioned many times on this forum, I love and respect many rlated (and not so related) genres of fiction. But I wouldn't call them all Steampunk because I want them to fit into a genre that happens to be hip at the moment.

Now I couldn'thelp notice that you identify with the Goth-Steampunk side of things, so I will have to shamlesly plug my music project (just check out the link in my sig). It's Neo-Classical inspired Cinematic Darkwave/Industrial/Trip-Hop. Or something to that effect.

Cheers!


Thank you for your kind welcome.

I actually agree with a lot that Cory has said- it's sometimes good to have markers.  They help us know what we are talking (or not talking) about. And I can be a good little police officer when necessary.  But I am also coming from a slightly different perspective from some people- for instance, Pulp started as early as the 1870s by people like Ned Buntline. The first Rover Boys book, which contained elements of what we might now call Scientific Romance, was written in 1890 by the same man who started the Nancy Drew, Tom Swift and Hardy Boys series. To talk about Pulp as if it 'only' existed in the 1930s is a misnomer; that was the period of a certain kind of Pulp.  Be that as it may, I do see Pulp as different from most Steampunk, but I think it's important to realize that many of these threads are concurrent with each other, not in a linear order. The Fu Manchu stories are definitely Pulp- and were first written in 1913.  However, the stories have numerous Mad Science and what might be termed Steam/Dieselpunk elements embedded within them. Phillip Jose Farmer actually worked many of the Pulp/Victorian/Edwardian heroes and villains into a nexus which he called the Wold Newton family, acknowledging that pulp Anglo/American literary tropes have a great deal in common (http://www.pjfarmer.com/woldnewton/Pulp2.htm).

This is different, of course, than talking about the actual mechanics of making and designing Steampunk objects, music, science and art- but there is a relationship between actual items that could be called 'Steampunk' and the fiction(s) that are the inspiration for that title (otherwise we would simply call things Victorian, Edwardian, and so on, and leave it at that).  But given that if one posits a world in which, say, gaslight continued into the early to mid-20th century; electricity was made on a mammoth scale through the use of steam and coal instead of gasoline and petroleum products; pollution was worse than it became on our time continuum, wiring was much more bulky and ubiquitous than it is now; colonialism never ended- or ended differently or later than it did in our world; then you would very much have a Steampunk 21st Century, not a Pulp, Dieselpunk, or Atomicpunk one.  If one uses speculative fiction as the model, eras can be as long or as short as one wants, and last into the present day.  In effect, what each person is inventing is a spun-off universe.  where those universes share similarities is where one plants a flag proclaiming that nexus to be 'X'... but on some of those worlds, half a continent over, there might be another 'X'.  Rather like how in the world of this forum, we are all on computers, don't worry about cholera, are probably overweight, and have leisure time to speculate- but within even our home countries, there are people living under Third World conditions with little access to fresh running water.  I am all for only discussing the nexus called Steampunk everywhere else on this list.  However, I see no harm in speculating that Steampunk coexists and even coincides with other speculative universes that we are selvesare calling to life through art, science, and music.

I did look at your website and found your music to be quite fetching.  I will have to share it with my amour, who is himself a musician, and much more musically Punk and Goth than am I. I am curious as to what has led you to label it Steampunk, however- do you use period  instruments or techniques?  Have you designed mechanically driven instruments? Is this what you believe is the sound one would get by crossing Wagner, Elgar, Sullivan or Offenbach with Nine Inch Nails? This is not a criticism; simply curiosity.
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« Reply #62 on: March 10, 2007, 11:10:31 pm »

Yes actually I see your point, and I am aware that Pulp has been around since the 1870's.

In fact I believe even the early Verne novels were held in the same opinion as children's fiction untill they caught on and Verne gained worldwide populaity.

So I suppose in a way Pulp isn't the proper definition for Dieselpunk. I am slowly becoming more open to the idea, but so far the media that people have been calling Dieselpunk, don't for the most part fit my idea of the style.

Oh and I'm glad you mentioned the World Newton Universe!! I havn't seen that page in like 10 years! I totally forgot it even existed. I think Tinkergirl should probably add a link to that somewhere on Brass Goggles actually.

As far as my music. I'd say that I view it as Steampunk, based mainly on the themes I write about. While most of my work is instrumenatl, I try to give those songs themes based in a Victorian Steampunk setting. The reason the majority of my work is of a darker nature, is that I come from a background as a Goth/Deathrock DJ. But I try to write music that is more elegant, or for a better word; epic.

That's not to say that all of my work will be Goth influenced. In fact I'm working on an old school 60's Jamaican Ska/early Dub influenced piece, and I mentioned in another thread that I'd like to find a local MC to do a hip-hop track based on 19th Century London, and it's horrific living conditions. Funk is also one of my favorite styles, and it would be fun to find a way to fit that into a Steampunk style. Steamfunk lol...

The music is all digital, so I can make no claim to have any "real" Steampunk instruments. It's more the execution and choice of samples that lend the Steampunk style to it.

As far as my core influences, I would say that you almost nailed it. Just nix the NIN, and change that to Gary Numan, Clan of Xymox, Massive Attack, and In the Nursery (my biggest influence). I like NIN ok, but they've never been influential. I'd say that the two bands that Mr. Reznor "borowed" his sound from... Skinny Puppy, and Ministry are certainly influences though.

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« Reply #63 on: March 10, 2007, 11:47:34 pm »

My amour is rather fond of Ministry- I think he will like your music quite a bit.  I did find it to be elegant. While I like some NIN, I find it to be somewhat tedious.  I prefer listening to old Scott Joplin piano rolls, thank you very much.

I would cautiously agree that Dieselpunk may be a misnomer, especially for Pulp.  I am happy to know that others take an interest in early pulp.

If you are interested in music that is a bit out of the ordinary and yet fits exactly with the Steampunk mindset, you might want to look at this site ( http://cylinders.library.ucsb.edu/ ). This is a little later, but still fun. http://www.redhotjazz.com/index.htm

For magazines and books online that are pre-1900, you might want to try this. http://www.blackmask.com/

If you would like a dictionary that has a totally Steampunk look, try this. http://www.global-language.com/CENTURY/
No doubt many people here are familiar with this site, which is a dictionary of characters from Victorian fantastic fiction. http://www.geocities.com/jessnevins/vica.html
Ditto this one, which has links to all sorts of real Victoriana. http://www.lang.nagoya-u.ac.jp/~matsuoka/Victorian.html

Since I come to this all through an interest in Victoriana and Edwardiana rather than Steampunk, I do tend to collect links that reflect those interest- but much of what I like could inspire Steampunks or be modified by them. For instance: http://www.belgian-lace.com/laceshop/enter.html
http://www.holymtn.com/tea/teas.htm
http://www.catteacorner.com/tearooms.htm
http://www.audiobooksforfree.com/SearchFacility/default.asp?param=3&alphaa=h&pg=1
http://www.gleeson.us/faro/

I hope my coming from a different perspective isn't a problem.

Sincerely,
Michele

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« Reply #64 on: March 11, 2007, 12:34:26 am »

Good grief, Ms Duchess!  There's enough in that single post to keep me busy reading for weeks and then some!  And different perspectives are more than welcome - they're essential.  Otherwise there's no depth perception, so to speak.  Thank you very much indeed.
[edited for a spelling correction]
« Last Edit: March 11, 2007, 01:10:37 am by Tinkergirl » Logged
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« Reply #65 on: March 11, 2007, 01:07:04 am »

You are most heartily welcome.  Thank you for making all of this possible.
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« Reply #66 on: March 11, 2007, 03:04:17 am »


I hate having to police the genre with what it and isn't ...

THEN DON'T.

I don't think anyone else in the community sees a need for policing, so why put yourself out?

Regards,
Alexander
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« Reply #67 on: March 12, 2007, 04:27:47 am »


I hate having to police the genre with what it and isn't ...

THEN DON'T.

I don't think anyone else in the community sees a need for policing, so why put yourself out?

Regards,
Alexander

I think it is relevant to say the following: No one can "own" culture of any sort, it goes against the nature of what culture IS. As I understand it there was another forum someplace at one point addressing the specific grown culture as we here now do. It fell down, went "boom", and from what i can surmise the defining moment of that fate was determined at the moment of the decision to view a culture as a personal possession.

it's important to be clear, people belong to culture, not culture to people. Mankind's difficulty accepting that he can influence some things but never control or own them is consistently astounding.

culture ladies and gentleman, is a force of nature regardless of whether or not its origin is synthetic.
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« Reply #68 on: March 12, 2007, 05:14:11 am »

As a cultural anthropologist, I second that emotion.

The moment any of us looked at a gear and thought, 'wouldn't that make great jewelry?', or read a Victorian Romance and thought, 'gosh, I wish I could be there!', or tinkered with a toy and thought, 'I wonder what this would look like if ?I painted it and slapped some rivets on it?', we became owned by something larger than ourselves.  Why? because it was there before us.  It was there before Jules Verne, for pete's sake- Erasmus and Diogenes and Hesiod and Archimedes and who knows who else felt the same impulse.  The name is less important than the cultural idea that technology is both frightening and wonderful, all at the same time- and that somehow, things weren't perfect in the past, but somehow the people were more civilized.

Check Hesiod if you think I'm wrong.  I double-dog dare anybody to do it.  After all, he's the guy who came up with the idea of a Golden Age.  Roll Eyes
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