Thursday, November 5, 2009


After a brief tour round the internet in quest of this steam punk thing, these are my findings.

Do you remember the movie "The Time Machine"? That was kind of steam punk.

So was "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea."

And, adding this late after my husband mentioned it, "The Wild, Wild West," a TV show we used to watch avidly in the early Sixties, fits right in here with the ingenious Dr. Lovelace (Loveless ?) and his amazing (but evil) inventions.

Steam punk seems to refer to a kind of science fiction/fantasy that posits a Victorian/Edwardian world that has not advanced beyond steam power (thus the 'steam' of steam punk) but that, nonetheless, includes advanced technological wonders of great and beautiful intricacy -- like the ornate Time Machine itself or the eerily beautiful submarine Nautilus. The social mores of this alternative history world are also different -- evidently in much of steam punk literature, women have escaped the subservient role they occupied in reality.

The term steam punk goes beyond the written word to include art derived from the concept -- click on these first two images to see more. (I do love this brass and leather laptop -- though I wonder where the boiler is that powers it.)

There is amazing art consisting of strange assemblages of vaguely scientific looking instruments. Lenses are popular.

And there's steampunk fashion -- the formal clothing of the Victorian/Edwardian era with some definite twists.

I find all of this oddly intriguing. If I were inclined to dress up (I'm not), I could be tempted by a "Darkstar gothic pirate steam punk long brocade coat."

And goggles -- evidently there must be goggles.

As I delve deeper into this world (I have a steam punk novel on the TBR list,) I'll report back.

If I'm wearing goggles and a long brocade coat, just smile quietly to yourself.

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Martin H. said...


What a fascinating post. I agree, the laptop looks brilliant. I'm guessing it may have a clockwork mechanism. I noticed the key inserted there.

You know, once you allow your imagination to go down the steam punk route, the possibilities for adventure appear thick and fast, don't they?

Vicki Lane said...

Of course, clockwork! Which appears to be another major steam punk trope.
Too cool!

Eleanor said...

Now who says the Net is not educative! One can even learn about steampunk, and I am not yet wearing in a brocade coast or goggles! Enjoyed this bit of useful (or useless) knowledge! Thanks, Vicki!

Kaye Barley said...

Steam punk! I'm loving it! AND you in a long brocade coat and goggles - VERY cool.

Vicki Lane said...

The Internet is strange and wonderful, Eleanor, and I love to follow its mysterious paths.

Yeah, Kaye, I'm thinking it could be a good look for me with the wispy white hair flying everywhere like a cross between a mad Victorian-era scientist and a well-dressed witch.

Reader Wil said...

That was very intriguing, Vicki! I saw the photos of the site you mentioned and was also impressed by the leather laptop. I read "From the Earth to the Moon" by Jules Verne and found it remarkable that he predicted many things that would happen in a future he never knew.

Vicki Lane said...

The argument could probably be made that Verne is the father (or grandfather) of steam punk. Isn't that laptop a treat!

Merisi said...

Fascinating is the right word here. Love the first image and the laptop! Wonder where the trained mouse is.

Word veri: bettrall
Enthralling indeed!

Victoria said...

What an amazing world of imagination steam punk is! I love that laptop and most of the fashion, except for the goggles.

Vicki Lane said...

Of course there should be a trained mouse, Merisi! In a little red cap, perhaps! Perfect!

You know, Victoria, I even like the goggles -- though I haven't a clue why..

Helen in SC said...

Vicki, I had never heard of stem punk before, but I do love "The Wild Wild West." It was my favorite show when I was a kid and Michael Dunn's Dr. Loveless is still the greatest TV villan. Stem punk is dashing and creative, I just never knew what it was.

Vicki Lane said...

My husband and I were just married and living in a miserable little trailer on a Marine Corps base and WWW was a weekly diversion. So much fun -- and probably why steam punk appealed to me immediately.

Helen in SC said...

Twice I wrote Stem punk when I meant Steam Punk. Typo - I did mean steam. Sorry

Vicki Lane said...

I'm always leaving typo-filled comments -- and you can't go back and fix them, annoyingly enough.

Nancy J. Cohen said...

What about the new Sherlock Holmes movie? It had machinery at the end, although I forget what the device did.

Vicki Lane said...

Hey, Nancy! I haven't seen the movie yet but I've heard at least one other person say that it had definite steam punkish elements.