Steampunk

“Anything one man can imagine, other men can make real.” ― Jules Verne, Around the World in Eighty Days

Steampunk is the movement in the world of science-fiction that combines the romance of the Victorian age with science and technology, not seen in that day and age.  Think Queen Victoria with lots of cogs and gears.  This is science-fiction set in the past.  It kind of combines the best ideas from fantasy with a history that you might recognize by its similarities to our own history – again with plenty of cogs and gears.

It has been speculated that the term Steampunk was coined by author KW Jeter when trying to describe the work of Tim Powers (all of which was set in the 19th century).  With the settings of these books being in the 19th century and the technology that they described being steam driven, Jeter decided to call the writing Steampunk.  This style of writing has grown and the adherents of the Steampunk movement has multiplied… and they have started their own fairs.

steampunk 1From the East Coast to the West Coast, people are donning their Steampunk best.  They are trading in their pirate togs for airship captains attire, they are dropping the sword for the ray gun and they are covering everything they own with bits of science-fiction.  Steampunk Festivals are all over the national and while their costuming and their genre are quite different from the Ren Faire circuit they are no less fun.  You have all of the same components of other faires but with a completely different feel.

Here are a few of the genres that you might see Steampunk cross-over into:

  • Victorian – This takes the Victorian age that was the history of our world and puts a Steampunk spin on things.  Instead of people getting around on steamships in the ocean, they get around on steamships in the air.
  • American West – Think Wild, Wild West and you are almost there. Mechanical arachnids and all.
  • Alternate World – This is an alternate world where the technology of the day is driven by vacuum tubes and steam instead of electricity and circuit boards.
  • Fantasy & Horror – This is steampunk with magic and creatures from beyond the grave.  Very interesting twist on the Steampunk line, but lots of fun.
Steampunk is one of the fastest growing movements on the planet right now.  If you have never tried a Steampunk Faire then you are surely missing out.  Spend some time getting to know the Steampunkers in your area.  Get some watch parts and attach them to your bracers, make up a new backstory for your pirate costume so that you are commanding an airship instead or better yet go whole-hog and get that top hat you have always wanted, a long coat and a monocle, then you are Steampunk!