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Author Topic: Are there words more descriptive and specific than "Steampunk"?  (Read 677 times)
RJBowman
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« on: June 22, 2015, 06:14:02 am »

I ask this question because I see posts to this forum, and elsewhere, that say "steampunk this" "steampunk that", and when I look I find everything from a beautifully intricate art nouveau fixture to a whimsical Rowland Emett kinetic sculpture to vintage electrical laboratory equipment to stock Rubie's Costumes Boba Fett helmets decorated with rivet bumps and spray-painted. Steampunk seems to cover multiple aesthetics, and the word seems overly broad to describe all of them in any meaningful way.

So what terms would describe sub-genres and aesthetic schools that fall under the steampunk umbrella?

(p.s.: the "steampunk umbrella" is not an umbrella purchased at Wal-Mart decorated with gears and spray-painted gold)
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2015, 06:52:55 am »

*Looks at open can of worms*



Oh boy. Well you're going to get many answers for that.  

Since I see Steampunk mostly through a historical filter, I tend to use terms like "Victorian Era, Meiji Period, US Civil War, Maximilian Period, Gilded Age, Mexican Revolution" but there are many other terms that fit.  You mentioned Art Nouveau, and Jugenstil is basically synonimous to that, but you may also add the Romantic Period (music), and the cutting edge arts like Impressionism quite easili.  Though not apparent some trends were way ahead of their time like for ecample Frank Lloyd Wright's "Prairie School" of architectural design.

There are some many adjectives it's hard to know where to start and where to end.  So trying to say that a Steampunk novel is "Gilded Age Science Fiction," "Art Nouveau Fantasy" or "Electro-Romantic Music" in a way seems to be a thinly disguised attempt to just "sound different."

« Last Edit: June 22, 2015, 07:00:16 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged

George Salt
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« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2015, 09:56:22 am »

Industrial-retro aesthetic, sub-type Neo-Victorian Gothic Revival..
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Rockula
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« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2015, 11:05:41 am »

'Stuff'.
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« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2015, 11:54:05 am »

Not just stuff but shiny stuff  Grin

I used to work for a chap years ago and his motto was "If it looks right, then it is right"
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Clym Angus
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« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2015, 11:59:32 am »

What are we looking for here? The official sanction to name things? Or a list of names that if anyone pulls someone up on them they can point a finger and say "they made me do it"?

Call whatever you want, what you will, and if you've done some research, (or your just good at being persuasive)  then nine times out of ten people will blindly accept the terms you use as "official".

I would suggest studying the work of art critics and wine tasters. They have a billion words for things where one or two would do.

That's not steampunk! Thats neo-classical with medieval European influences overlaid with a thin veneer of post-modern irony. DON'T YOU KNOW ANYTHING!!!

(I served the sneer a little thick there, but a lightly dismissive tone can work wonders for the believability of your authority. Hearts and minds sir!)
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Atterton
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« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2015, 12:09:06 pm »

I would say the problem comes from using the word steampunk for so many things in the first place. Genre, aesthetic, subculture etc.
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« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2015, 12:28:42 pm »

Not just stuff but shiny stuff  Grin

I used to work for a chap years ago and his motto was "If it looks right, then it is right"

I like that.

Retro Futurism is my favorite term.
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Dr Fidelius
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« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2015, 01:17:55 pm »

Not just stuff but shiny stuff  Grin

I used to work for a chap years ago and his motto was "If it looks right, then it is right"

I like that.

Retro Futurism is my favorite term.

I consider myself a Retronaut with psedo-Victorian tendencies. But at least we aren't the Popular Front for the Judean People. Splitter!
« Last Edit: June 22, 2015, 02:20:01 pm by Dr Fidelius » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2015, 04:01:57 pm »

There are a lot of words which fall under the Steampunk umbrella. Neo-Victorian has already been mentioned. Other genres and sub-genres include gas-lamp fantasy (which I write), dieselpunk, Teslapunk, and a plethora of others. They are only names. What matters is the content.
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Clym Angus
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« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2015, 04:38:35 pm »

There are a lot of words which fall under the Steampunk umbrella. Neo-Victorian has already been mentioned. Other genres and sub-genres include gas-lamp fantasy (which I write), dieselpunk, Teslapunk, and a plethora of others. They are only names. What matters is the content.

Well put. (Better than I did certainly). Smiley
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