Monday, August 2, 2010

Mainstream Steam

Those magnificent men in their flying machines (and their machines) have been the subject of songs, poetry, movies, and near worship. They still are for a some and engender great awe, fascination, role-playing, even obsession.

Steampunk is the name for this awe, and according to Gary Moskowitz ("What's with Steampunk?" in More Intelligent Life) it has gone mainstream. Some of Moskowitz's commenters believe it's become so mainstream that it isn't even worth an article about it!

Steampunk (for anyone else out there who, like me, is out of the loop!):

 is a sub-genre of science fiction and speculative fiction, that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s. The term denotes fictional works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used — usually the 19th century, and often Victorian era Britain — but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, often featuring futuristic technology as the people of this historical period would have envisioned it to look like, i.e. based on a Victorian perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, art, etc. This technology may include fictional machines like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or real technological developments like the computer, but occurring at an earlier date. (Wikipedia.)
I used to be quite fascinated with Jules Verne's stories when I was younger, but somehow managed to miss this, now almost passe, subculture, with its anthologies of fiction, magazines, comics, websites, workshops, and seminars!

Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines isn't steampunk, but sort of heads there, and I love the song.

(photo credit - steampunk scooter control panel)


Owen Gray said...

I was always fascinated by Captain Nemo's submarine. And my students always loved the battle with the giant squid.

More than that, Verne always provided a narrative of how we got from there to here. His books were never shear speculation.

Based on what had occurred in his own day, he even made a journey to the centre of the earth seem plausible

RSA Course said...

Wow I haven't thought about "Magnificent Men" in years! I used to watch that movie endlessly :)

ChrisJ said...


That's exactly how I felt about Verne's stories.

ChrisJ said...


Periodically, the song sticks in my mind for awhile!

Thanks for commenting.

lifeshighway said...

I loved that movie. In fact, now the song is stuck in my head.

They Go Up, Tiddly, Up, Up.
They Go Down, Tiddly, Down, Down.

ChrisJ said...


I'm glad it's a great song from a good experience stuck in your head.

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