Monday, August 5, 2013

Steampunk 101

Add to Technorati FavoritesI remember when I first heard about  steampunk. It was a new and emerging subgenre that was getting a lot of press due to the release of Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan. I checked it out and fell it love with the look and feel of the period. The Victoria era wardrobe juxtaposed with the metals and innovation of the steam era.

This past week-end I attended DogCon2 at the Thurber Center. There were writing workshops, readings, Tarot Card readings, and kid's activities. I attended a workshop on Steampunk so I could learn more about it.

The speakers were from a local Columbus group called Airship Archon. They discussed the clothing and accessories of which the majority are handmade or hand sewn. They named estate sales, vintage shops, and Etsy as great places to find materials. If you live in Columbus, they recommended, The Alley Store.

They also discussed the literature that inspired them. From the classics, you have Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. Verne wrote novels such as Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea, Around the World in Eighty Days, and The Carpathian Castle. H.G. Wells is probably best known for The Time Machine, but also wrote The Invisible Man and The Island of Doctor Moreau.

For more contemporary literature they mentioned Gail Carriger's novels. They also noted that it's hard to find good steampunk literature that is true to spirit they embody at Airship Archon. Most of it seems artificial with all things steampunk thrown in haphazardly.

They are an amazing group of people. They hold monthly events which are open to the public. They get together to create costumes or other steampunk related items. They also speak at numerous conventions. The list of topics is listed on their website.

There were two surprising facts for me:

One is that steampunk is considered a subgenre of science fiction. For some reason, I never put that together.
Two is that there are subgenres of steampunk such as clockpunk, meatpunk, dieselpunk, and cyberpunk. Each inspired by an era of invention.

I also learned how to make a pair of steampunk goggles from welder's goggles. Each speaker was so creative and a pleasure to listen to. I came away with an idea for an art piece so we'll have to see if that works out.


Leandra Wallace said...

Looks like it was a fun time, love the clothes. And Gail's novels are really good!

Ruth Schiffmann said...

Sounds like a great group.
I have not read any steampunk yet.