Results 1 to 15 of 50

Hybrid View

  1. #1
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Germantown, Md.
    Posts
    456

    Steampunk: Growing healthy or dying on the vine?

    This Halloween I put together a steampunk costume, and did the usual party rounds. In all cases, few or none of the people I met knew what I was; and when I told them I was a steampunk inventor, the inevitable question was "what's steampunk?" (Mind you, I was very popular on the explanation circuit.) I didn't win any awards for best costume, but I believe that if there had been a category for Most Obscure Cultural Reference, I would have walked away with it.

    This made me wonder about the claims by some that steampunk is a growing genre, becoming more popular every day... maybe within the SF world, but I'd have to say, certainly not outside of it. Yes, there are books, but they seem to only turn up when you specifically search for them. And the relative failure of every steampunk-y movie of the last few years hasn't helped its cause.

    But have any of you seen something different out there? Is there a sign that steampunk is indeed growing into a healthy offshoot of SF, destined to become as popular as other subgenres (like horror) someday?

    And if it does... what form will its most popular stories take? Will they all be stories of airship wars? Steampunk-tech-armed detectives and science-heroes? Romances behind the difference engines? Great races between intrepid vehicle inventors? Or incredible journeys into the outer-aether or inner-seas by uber-genius engineers?

    Where do you think steampunk is going?

  2. #2
    Registered Uber megaphage's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    London
    Posts
    47
    I've always thought of steampunk more as a style, rather than an SF sub-genre. Somewhere between techno-goth and Victoriana with a bit of Doc. Emmet Brown thrown in for good measure (i hope this is not an insulting image). In that respect the culture has grown more popular from what I've seen on the internet, but I've never had a conversation about it with anyone or seen anyone in the real world openly flaunting it.

    I have a book that I think is from the genre but I'm wary of reading it for some reason. It has a picture of a soviet air ship on the front.

    Being a niche within a niche which has a strongly associated style I think it will struggle to ever become much more popular, but I see no reason why it shouldn't go on for ever and develop as a genre within it's own fanbase.

  3. #3
    Way Too Human
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Northeast Ohio, USA
    Posts
    118
    I don't recall seeing any steampunk novels in any "must read" list lately (forums, amazon recommendations, etc).

    However, I do know that Rush's latest album, Clockwork Angels is a steampunk concept album. The story told by the album has been novelized by Kevin J. Anderson. It will be available to me (N. America) on 11-3-12.

    I'll probably read the novel just because of what it's based on. Rush is my favorite band, being the greatest band on Earth.
    Last edited by Lazerus; November 2nd, 2012 at 12:23 PM. Reason: Add omitted words

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Lazerus View Post
    However, I do know that Rush's latest album, Clockwork Angels is a steampunk concept album. The story told by the album has been novelized by Kevin J. Anderson. It will be available to me (N. America) on 11-3-12.

    I'll probably read the novel just because of what it's based on. Rush is my favorite band, being the greatest band on Earth.
    Oh god Kevin J. Anderson. I think this is his new low. I like rush, but man, He needs to be able to think for himself instead of just writing about other peoples ideas.

  5. #5
    Registered User Loerwyn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    England
    Posts
    6,233
    Quote Originally Posted by Valentino View Post
    Oh god Kevin J. Anderson. I think this is his new low. I like rush, but man, He needs to be able to think for himself instead of just writing about other peoples ideas.
    He's written a few series of his own.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Steven L Jordan View Post
    [...]But have any of you seen something different out there? Is there a sign that steampunk is indeed growing into a healthy offshoot of SF, destined to become as popular as other subgenres (like horror) someday?

    And if it does... what form will its most popular stories take? Will they all be stories of airship wars? Steampunk-tech-armed detectives and science-heroes? Romances behind the difference engines? Great races between intrepid vehicle inventors? Or incredible journeys into the outer-aether or inner-seas by uber-genius engineers?

    Where do you think steampunk is going?
    I don't have a clue on any of this. I will say that I saw two TV shows on network TV during the 2010-2011 U.S. TV season use Steampunk conventions as background. One of them was Castle and I can't recall the other. There was also a piece on Steampunk on a Sunday morning news magazine show on CBS last spring. And Warehouse 13 keeps plugging along on the SYFY cable station, and it has a Steampunk-like vibe to it.


    Randy M.

  7. #7
    Administrator Administrator Hobbit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Hobbit Towers, England
    Posts
    11,852
    Blog Entries
    126
    There was an interesting re-imagining of The Wizard of Oz as steampunk in Tin Man a few years ago.
    Certainly, if you look at the bookshelves, it is quite popular: from Cherie Priest's Clockwork Century novels to RUSH (another fan here, Lazerus!) and even authors like Gail Carriger, who combines steampunk sensibilities with vampires and werewolves, it's popular on the shelves. But beyond that: hmm. Probably not.
    Mark

  8. #8
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Germantown, Md.
    Posts
    456
    I hate to say it, but I thought Tin Man turned out to be forgettable (at least, I saw it and don't remember a thing beyond a few of the actors). And I agree that, although there are books that do a good job with SP, there haven't been any TV shows or movies that have "made it." (Warehouse 13 includes a steampunk look to some of it, but not all of it, making it a sort of hybrid program encompassing steampunk, horror, mythology and history.)

    I find myself thinking that the first successful steampunk movie might propel SP into popular interest. The question is whether that successful SP movie will ever be made... someone with serious production chops would have to give it a shot, with enough of a budget to pull it off... and without an established following, it's kind of hard to figure out how that would happen. Maybe if a SP novel made it into widespread runaway success, ala 50 Shades.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Steven L Jordan View Post
    [...] (Warehouse 13 includes a steampunk look to some of it, but not all of it, making it a sort of hybrid program encompassing steampunk, horror, mythology and history.) [...]
    That's a fair summary, although I'd add "screwball comedy" to the list -- well, it attempts screwball comedy and frequently misses the mark.

    It's strange to think that the most successful steampunk movies and TV shows are probably 45-60 years old now: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Mysterious Island, The Time Machine, (movies); The Wild, Wild West (TV).


    Randy M.

  10. #10
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    The Fung Küniverse (Currently: İstanbul)
    Posts
    2,472
    Blog Entries
    1
    Steampunk is just kinda silly, and sometimes borderline ridiculous. Or just ridiculous. Sky Captain is a pretty good example of why the genre is disregarded -- it's just glitz on top of a fundamentally mediocre stock story (sorry, as a viewer I felt like my intelligence was being insulted by the story, and the visuals struck me as mere visual porn designed to distract me from the mess I was witnessing). And for the SF fan, it's more fantasy than science.

    Rankin's Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse was fantasy more or less, but still steampunk. The steampunk dressings were a neat aspect, but even then, the story was largely ridiculous. It was like an episode of Community -- just a collection of pop culture references and borrowed story tropes, from the noir detective and femme fatale to farm boy saves the world Bildungsroman. It was just so... obvious.

    So, as you may gather, not a fan. I don't see it ever being much more than a niche interest.

  11. #11
    Administrator Administrator Hobbit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Hobbit Towers, England
    Posts
    11,852
    Blog Entries
    126
    There have been attempts (albeit generally bad ones!) to get films with steampunk elements in the cinema. I loved Sky Captain, and could be persuaded that its pulp style, with dirigibles, rockets, robots *might* just skirt in there. I enjoyed it: many didn't. I also enjoyed Steamboy and there's Castle in the Sky, although they are cartoons.

    But how about Sucker Punch?

    I think the trick would be to have a movie with elements of steampunk in it, so that you can say, 'If you enjoyed this, then try....'

    Anyone any suggestions as to steampunk books that would make great movies?
    Mark

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbit View Post
    [...] Anyone any suggestions as to steampunk books that would make great movies?
    Well, proto-Steampunk, Michael Moorcock's The Warlord of the Air could be terrific. Perhaps less likely to be adapted well, K. W. Jeter's Infernal Devices, although with the right director and production team the humor in it could make for a fine adventure movie.

    Less likely to be filmed, but potentially a hoot if it was, Kage Baker's Nell Gwynne's Scarlet Spy.


    Randy M.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbit View Post
    There have been attempts (albeit generally bad ones!) to get films with steampunk elements in the cinema. I loved Sky Captain, and could be persuaded that its pulp style, with dirigibles, rockets, robots *might* just skirt in there. I enjoyed it: many didn't. I also enjoyed Steamboy and there's Castle in the Sky, although they are cartoons.

    But how about Sucker Punch?

    I think the trick would be to have a movie with elements of steampunk in it, so that you can say, 'If you enjoyed this, then try....'

    Anyone any suggestions as to steampunk books that would make great movies?
    One mustn't forget Wild Wild West with Will Smith...

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •