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Author Topic: Does Steampunk Move Forward in Time?  (Read 2222 times)
RJBowman
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« on: January 03, 2020, 08:03:10 pm »

It occurred to me, which the 1920's now being a century old, that the cutoff for the times that influence steampunk may change with the passage of real time. Could 1920's culture become a part of steampunk?
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Cora Courcelle
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« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2020, 08:21:49 pm »

Surely it's more like 'The Simpsons' where Bart, Lisa and Maggie never get older.
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« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2020, 09:20:29 pm »

It occurred to me, which the 1920's now being a century old, that the cutoff for the times that influence steampunk may change with the passage of real time. Could 1920's culture become a part of steampunk?

Yes, but pedantic people would change the name to Diesel. What I can tell you will happen is that as time goes by,  people's recollection of what is different between the 1920s and say the 1900s will blur. It's already happened with the mash-up of Nixie tubes (1940s tech) and Steampunk aesthetic. People already have a hard time differentiating between 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s (prior to psychodelic culture), because for too many its "similar." Same between 1970s and 1980s. Having lived in those last two decades, I often times have to abstain from correcting people when they blur both decades.


o can only guess what people will think of the 20th century in 50 years.
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Deimos
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« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2020, 09:57:26 pm »

Re the "mish-mash" of eras...mea culpa.

I really like the Victorian era look (a la Sherlock Holmes) for steampunk, yet I incorporate later tech in my builds; e.g., vacuum tubes and other early 20th C. electrical stuff (see my "Verne-esque" keyboard.)  
It's difficult to resist because some electro-mechanical devices that are maybe just over the era "border" look so retro that they just beg to be used in a quasi Victorian build.
At least two of my "in progress" builds have that same mish-mash.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2020, 09:59:20 pm by Deimos » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2020, 05:23:23 am »

... Same between 1970s and 1980s. Having lived in those last two decades, I often times have to abstain from correcting people when they blur both decades.

The blur from 1978 to 1983 is my favorite. My wife and I look at old media (paper ads, tv clips, etc) and bet on the year before verifying on google. 1981-82 tv always trips me up...
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2020, 07:22:58 am »

... Same between 1970s and 1980s. Having lived in those last two decades, I often times have to abstain from correcting people when they blur both decades.

The blur from 1978 to 1983 is my favorite. My wife and I look at old media (paper ads, tv clips, etc) and bet on the year before verifying on google. 1981-82 tv always trips me up...

That's a very difficult period. Depending on which country you were you'd see different things progressing at different rates.
1978 to 1983 was a critical point in my life, I first started liking music about the time The Police became famous (and those were the first records I bought in Compact Cassette format). Prior to that I wasn't old enough to like any particular genre, but I had listened to my grandparent's 8 tracks of late 60s and early 70s music hits, and I had the Grease movie soundtrack and Star Wars soundtracks also in Cassettes  Cheesy

When we bought an RV (a 1981 Chevy Southwind if I remember correctly) , it came with an 8 track player and I remember thinking "eew how primitive!" We had to stop by the closest RadioShack to buy a stand alone Compact Cassette player  Cheesy

Younger people (I was in my early teens) were much more apt to differentiate styles than older people were. Disco music still was listened to in the US by the very early 80s (eg Patty Labelle), because Disco lasted a bit longer in the US than elsewhere. I was into cutting edge music in Mexico between 1981 and 1985, and if it wasn't New Wave, Ska (or The Police or similar), then it was ancient history to me. I considered the post Disco revival of Rock to be the domain of my fellow Mexican students kids who raided their older brother's Meat Loaf and Led Zeppelin lp record collection. In the US you had a hard transition between Disco and Rock with New Wave being an alternative style for the weirdos. For the very wealthy, you could drop $900 on a tabletop CD player  Grin and listen to you favourite John Cougar Mellencamp rockabilly and Manheim Steamroller  Cheesy. It's such a mess of a period, that only the very young could keep it all well parsed  Cheesy
« Last Edit: January 04, 2020, 08:04:26 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2020, 08:00:25 am »

Re the "mish-mash" of eras...mea culpa.

I really like the Victorian era look (a la Sherlock Holmes) for steampunk, yet I incorporate later tech in my builds; e.g., vacuum tubes and other early 20th C. electrical stuff (see my "Verne-esque" keyboard.)  
It's difficult to resist because some electro-mechanical devices that are maybe just over the era "border" look so retro that they just beg to be used in a quasi Victorian build.
At least two of my "in progress" builds have that same mish-mash.

But it's so natural, isn't it? It still looks like a vacuum tube and tubes filled with gas andeelectrical devices are such a 19th century invention.
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Miranda.T
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« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2020, 02:53:50 pm »

Given that Steampunk is, when all is said and done, Victorian era based science fiction/ fantasy, I'd say using simple electronic devices such as vaccum tubes are fair game. A few differences in the order in which discoveries were made and one could easily imagine Victorian engineers augmenting cogs and gears with electromechanical devices. It would probably be pushing things to incorporate semiconductor devices, though...

Oddly enough the late 70's/early 80's are quite well defined for me - music wise punk and disco initially rubbed shoulders at the end of the 1970s but then moved into New Romantic/New Wave with a side order of Two-Tone as the calendar clicked over into the 1980s. A little later on the charts here in the UK stated to become dominated by manufactured pop acts (anyone remember the SA&W 'Hit factory'? Truly awful). However, outside the music scene the transition was even more marked in the UK via political and social changes, but given this forum's eminently sensible policy of no politics I shall go no further with that discussion. I also think it marked the start of the change from a predominantly analogue technology to a digital one - think of the explosion of home computer in the early years of the 80's.

Going back to the original conjecture, I think the Steampunk era should end before the 1920s - if not, where would we put Decopunk? As a glorious aesthetic in its own right I'd like to reserve a place for it, and definitely hope to be dipping into it at some point this year now we are back in the '20s.

Yours,
Miranda.

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Kensington Locke
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« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2020, 04:27:15 pm »

I think it's thematically stuck between the 1840s and 1910.

Once it starts looking like sci-fi from the 1920s, it's retro 1920's sci-fi.

Before we consider that a problem, let's take a look at a parallel sitution.  Fantasy Fiction.

In almost all the settings, the kingdom, empire, world has been this way for hundreds to thousands of years since before the big war, which held societies and technologies just like the current one. Sure, there might be some predecessor empire that had marvels beyond imagining.  But for the last thousand years, nothing has changed.

Think about that.  Think about Earth. Are we saying that there was no change or progress for 1000+ years, anywhere on the planet?  Not counting those guys on that island in India who apparently are hyper-primitive still.

I'd bet money that even during Europe's Dark Ages, there was still cultural change going on.  Because there was still trade and cultural exchange.

But in fiction books, that breaks the desired goal of planting me in a setting and sticking to it. Lord of the Rings is never getting steam engines and guns.  Perhaps some author might have fun with a setting that evolves, but it's not the norm.
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Deimos
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« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2020, 12:03:08 am »

... Think about Earth. Are we saying that there was no change or progress for 1000+ years, anywhere on the planet? ...
I'd bet money that even during Europe's Dark Ages, there was still cultural change going on.  Because there was still trade and cultural exchange....

Definitely bet money on that, lots of it, (especially against those that think western civilization was in a primitive decline)...you'd be able to retire on your winnings.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_technology
« Last Edit: January 05, 2020, 12:05:57 am by Deimos » Logged
Deimos
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« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2020, 12:41:48 am »

Given that Steampunk is, when all is said and done, Victorian era based science fiction/ fantasy, I'd say using simple electronic devices such as vaccum tubes are fair game. A few differences in the order in which discoveries were made and one could easily imagine Victorian engineers augmenting cogs and gears with electromechanical devices. It would probably be pushing things to incorporate semiconductor devices, though...

Ummmm...please don't tell anyone, but.....I used LEDs to light up the keyboard.  Shocked Grin

Actually I looked into lighting the Vac tubes via the heater filament but, from what I read, in normal lighting you can barely see the filament glow. [Almost] ditto with the horizonal tubes...I needed focused light [LEDs] and fiber optic filament.
The front red lights could have been small incandescents.
Trick is, of course, to couch everything in old brass and wire screen and springlike coils to make it look 19th C.
(Or at least, one hopes, less like mid-20th C. tech)  Wink  
« Last Edit: January 05, 2020, 12:56:37 am by Deimos » Logged
Hurricane Annie
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New Zealand New Zealand



« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2020, 02:48:29 am »

Given that Steampunk is, when all is said and done, Victorian era based science fiction/ fantasy, I'd say using simple electronic devices such as vaccum tubes are fair game. A few differences in the order in which discoveries were made and one could easily imagine Victorian engineers augmenting cogs and gears with electromechanical devices. It would probably be pushing things to incorporate semiconductor devices, though...

Oddly enough the late 70's/early 80's are quite well defined for me - music wise punk and disco initially rubbed shoulders at the end of the 1970s but then moved into New Romantic/New Wave with a side order of Two-Tone as the calendar clicked over into the 1980s. A little later on the charts here in the UK stated to become dominated by manufactured pop acts (anyone remember the SA&W 'Hit factory'? Truly awful). However, outside the music scene the transition was even more marked in the UK via political and social changes, but given this forum's eminently sensible policy of no politics I shall go no further with that discussion. I also think it marked the start of the change from a predominantly analogue technology to a digital one - think of the explosion of home computer in the early years of the 80's.

Going back to the original conjecture, I think the Steampunk era should end before the 1920s - if not, where would we put Decopunk? As a glorious aesthetic in its own right I'd like to reserve a place for it, and definitely hope to be dipping into it at some point this year now we are back in the '20s.

Yours,
Miranda.



Dear Miss M T

 NZ being a colony of the British Empire, our zeitgeist, popular culture  and politics followed a similar  trajectory in the 70s and 80s. {Stock, Acreman and Waters are best left buried}

 The various "punk" time frames are like  house and furniture. The style and design may be defined by a particular decade or era. Active use  though covers a generation or more . Most folk didn't buy a brand new abode and  contents every 10 years. They  lived  with their hard saved for post wedding chattels, hand me downs and 2nd hand  goods through to their golden years.

 I'm posting this from the sunken 70s lounge of the 1940s  house  that was formerly owned by 3 generations of 1 family.  Definite diesel overtones in the fittings with an atomic blast layer
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2020, 06:36:22 am »

...
But in fiction books, that breaks the desired goal of planting me in a setting and sticking to it. Lord of the Rings is never getting steam engines and guns.  Perhaps some author might have fun with a setting that evolves, but it's not the norm.

Well there goes my concept for the Engelfolk ... Not Lord of the Rings, but I basically turned elves into real humans and put them in steam powered airships  Roll Eyes
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Deimos
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« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2020, 06:56:34 am »

Well, it's your project.... (and pax to Kensington Locke)
But anytime someone says I can't do this or can't do that with my project I respond (channeling TBBT):
Opus meum, regulae meae   
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Synistor 303
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Zenyna Ironbracker


« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2020, 12:29:53 am »

Re the "mish-mash" of eras...mea culpa.

I really like the Victorian era look (a la Sherlock Holmes) for steampunk, yet I incorporate later tech in my builds; e.g., vacuum tubes and other early 20th C. electrical stuff (see my "Verne-esque" keyboard.)  
It's difficult to resist because some electro-mechanical devices that are maybe just over the era "border" look so retro that they just beg to be used in a quasi Victorian build.
At least two of my "in progress" builds have that same mish-mash.

That's the exact look Steampunk has in my brain too. Victorian/Retro - heavy on the Victorian and picky on the retro.
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Kensington Locke
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« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2020, 04:18:26 pm »

...
But in fiction books, that breaks the desired goal of planting me in a setting and sticking to it. Lord of the Rings is never getting steam engines and guns.  Perhaps some author might have fun with a setting that evolves, but it's not the norm.

Well there goes my concept for the Engelfolk ... Not Lord of the Rings, but I basically turned elves into real humans and put them in steam powered airships  Roll Eyes

I suspect we're both joking, but what I mean is that Tolkien himself (assuming not dead), wouldn't progress his world or society to that point. Because that's not what Fantasy does.  it's static style/setting, despite political upheavals.

Which is why I added the extra line, which I think, you still might be missing "Perhaps some author might have fun with a setting that evolves"

You wanna do Engelfolk?  Great idea.  Really.

My extra idea is, Book 1 they are 1840s.  Book 10, they are 1930s culture, just got out of the great war. Evolve the setting as Earth did.  Almost nobody does this in fiction.

Which is why Steampunk is locked into a certain time frame. For similar reasons.





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RJBowman
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« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2020, 04:55:01 pm »

Re the "mish-mash" of eras...mea culpa.

I really like the Victorian era look (a la Sherlock Holmes) for steampunk, yet I incorporate later tech in my builds; e.g., vacuum tubes and other early 20th C. electrical stuff (see my "Verne-esque" keyboard.)  
It's difficult to resist because some electro-mechanical devices that are maybe just over the era "border" look so retro that they just beg to be used in a quasi Victorian build.
At least two of my "in progress" builds have that same mish-mash.

That's the exact look Steampunk has in my brain too. Victorian/Retro - heavy on the Victorian and picky on the retro.

I've always thought vacuum tubes to be very un-steampunk; way too twentieth century. But every steampunk ray gun I see has them.
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Kensington Locke
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« Reply #17 on: January 06, 2020, 08:10:22 pm »

Re the "mish-mash" of eras...mea culpa.

I really like the Victorian era look (a la Sherlock Holmes) for steampunk, yet I incorporate later tech in my builds; e.g., vacuum tubes and other early 20th C. electrical stuff (see my "Verne-esque" keyboard.)  
It's difficult to resist because some electro-mechanical devices that are maybe just over the era "border" look so retro that they just beg to be used in a quasi Victorian build.
At least two of my "in progress" builds have that same mish-mash.


That's the exact look Steampunk has in my brain too. Victorian/Retro - heavy on the Victorian and picky on the retro.

I've always thought vacuum tubes to be very un-steampunk; way too twentieth century. But every steampunk ray gun I see has them.

Out of curioisity, I googled when vacuum tubes were invented. 1904.
https://history-computer.com/ModernComputer/Basis/diode.html

So technically, they're under the 1910 cut-off for the Vic-wardian era.

I do think they get slipped in as some of the melding of eras spoken of earlier.
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RJBowman
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« Reply #18 on: January 06, 2020, 08:15:01 pm »

Quote

I've always thought vacuum tubes to be very un-steampunk; way too twentieth century. But every steampunk ray gun I see has them.

Out of curioisity, I googled when vacuum tubes were invented. 1904.
https://history-computer.com/ModernComputer/Basis/diode.html

So technically, they're under the 1910 cut-off for the Vic-wardian era.

I do think they get slipped in as some of the melding of eras spoken of earlier.

Integrated circuits were invented in 1958, but I don't associate them with the 1950's.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2020, 05:07:22 pm by RJBowman » Logged
J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2020, 09:49:09 pm »

Technology takes time to develop. Ernst Mach was performing Schlieren photography of bullets in supersonic flight in 1888, but no one knew how to build an airplane yet.
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Deimos
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« Reply #20 on: January 06, 2020, 10:20:24 pm »

I know some of the gadgets are not vic-wardian (love that descriptor, very appropriate ..and never heard of it until now), but they look like something that in a fanciful setting could be from that era.

The Jacobs ladder, van de Graaff generator and Plasma ball are all mid 20C devices, but I would not hesitate a nano-second to use them in a build if they could be made small enough (my builds aren't very big), because they look "scienti-fiction" a la Vernes and Wells. Create a back story, and you are good to go. Wink    
« Last Edit: January 06, 2020, 10:26:31 pm by Deimos » Logged
Kensington Locke
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« Reply #21 on: January 20, 2020, 07:44:29 pm »

I know some of the gadgets are not vic-wardian (love that descriptor, very appropriate ..and never heard of it until now), but they look like something that in a fanciful setting could be from that era.

The Jacobs ladder, van de Graaff generator and Plasma ball are all mid 20C devices, but I would not hesitate a nano-second to use them in a build if they could be made small enough (my builds aren't very big), because they look "scienti-fiction" a la Vernes and Wells. Create a back story, and you are good to go. Wink    

I think the "could be" distinction is why it's done and why it works.

If Vicwardians had advanced a bit farther in technology, ceteris paribus, they could have Jacobs Ladder, van de Graaff generators and plasma balls.  But they would look like they were built by Vicwardians.

It's the streamlining and 20th century styling ideas that they're not allowed to advance to without damaging the Vicwardian vibe.
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newjack
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« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2020, 08:44:48 pm »

Quote
Yes, but pedantic people would change the name to Diesel.

THANK YOU!

i thought i was the only one annoyed with that micro-genre quibbling junk. personally, i don't like "purist" steampunk. gold guilding and royalty are painfully pretentious to me. retro-tech is the definition of steampunk i stick to. nineteen eighty-four... steampunk. and before someone knee-jerks and repeats an argument i had on that some 15 years ago... 1984 features an old STEAM LOCOMOTIVE and bombs are called STEAMERS. end of debate!

how are you going to fit THIS, for example, into your micro-genres? it is NEITHER steam, nor diesel or even internal combustion, but is powered by some form of energy which is way more advanced than diesel, yet the aesthetics are pure victorian



dieselpunk's gotta die.

there will ALWAYS be stories that fall outside the overly rigid "if it isn't the 1800s, it isn't steampunk" straightjacket. don't expect me to allow you to ever confine my thinking to your tiny little box. i seek to bring "fringe" stories INTO the fold, not exclude them. it makes the genre more interesting! you know... variety, the spice of life.

another argument i had was about some movie that straddled SEVERAL genres, including horror or comedy. my debate opponent lost his mind when i acknowledged the film fell into multiple genres and had a siezure when i CORRECTLY pointed out that fantasy, monster horror, the supernatural, superheroes, and religion are ALL science fiction because they all FICTIONALIZE SCIENCE. it's hard arguing facts with people who think with their emotions... that's 98% of you.

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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2020, 10:33:18 pm »


SNIP

it's hard arguing facts with people who think with their emotions... that's 98% of you.



OK I'll bite. 98 percent is a very specific figure. So I'm assuming that when you point to "us" that way, that you exclude yourself from the 98%.Do you care to elaborate what specific category of people occupies that remaining 2%, since obviously most of us belong to the "sentimental, non-logical and superstitious majority?

Is it an IQ threshold? Non religious population? Sociopath population?
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Antipodean
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« Reply #24 on: January 22, 2020, 11:48:26 pm »

I think New Zealand holds the answer is this question.

New Zealand has a lot of geothermal electricity generation, water reservoirs and growing number of wind power generators.
All available to our Victorian ancestors. My Avatar to the left is a road sign from the geothermal area.
The Geothermal Electricity generation is Steam powered; it is superheated water from the earths crust. (how steam punkish)
Parts of our Railway Main trunk lines are electrically powered with power coming from geothermal generation.
So effectively they are Steam Powered Trains. The Steam is transformed into alternate energy.
So if I buy a Tesla and it is charged from a geothermal source, surely that would make it a steam powered car? The steam energy is simply stored in a battery for later use.

All we need to do is remove the petroleum industry from the narrative and we should have our future narrative. From there everything should be fair game.

The carriage two posts up is very viable proposition under this interpretation.

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