Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Feeling Steampunky

Recently, I have become really interested in Steampunk fiction--or rather motivated to pursue my interest in it.  When I took Molly's class, we read a little, and as you all know, I have always loved Sci-fi and fantasy (things like Buffy and Stargate and X-files).  So, it seems I should have read more of this stuff.  I'm so glad I have bookclub to experiment!

When Danielle asked me to give her a definition of Steampunk, however, I couldn't really give a satisfactory one.  But the author of a blog I follow does. The Steampunk Scholar defines it as follows:

Steampunk is a sub-genre of fantasy and speculative fiction that came into prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. The term denotes works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century, and often set in Victorian era England—but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or real technological developments like the computer occurring at an earlier date. Other examples of steampunk contain alternate history-style presentations of "the path not taken" of such technology as dirigibles or analog computers; these frequently are presented in an idealized light, or with a presumption of functionality.

Steampunk is often associated with cyberpunk and shares a similar fanbase and theme of rebellion, but developed as a separate movement (though both have considerable influence on each other). Apart from time period and level of technological development, the main difference between cyberpunk and steampunk is that steampunk settings usually tend to be less obviously dystopian than cyberpunk, or lack dystopian elements entirely.

Usually , Steampunk is characterized by its interest in Victorianism and is therefore often referred to as Neo-Victorianism.  If you are interested in looking at some scholarly articles about the subject, the online journal, Neo-Victorian Studies is wonderful and will give you an idea of texts in this genre.

The Anubis GatesI say all of this to explain why I chose The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers for my next bookclub selection. I have to confess that I've never read it before, so if you hate it, don't blame me! 

If you are interested, I also recently read Gail Carriger's Changeless and found it tremendous fun.  Not high literature by any means, but a quick, fun read. It's the first book in the Parasol Protectorate Series, so if you like it, there's more fun to follow.

I will wrap this post up by saying that I mainly wrote this one in order to break our long silence in blog-land.  So, I expect others to follow suit soon (do you catch the passive aggressive hint, ladies?) And for Danielle, "Eat Paste!" And now you can write!