Steampunk

tryptych

waiting for a time
Just reading children's author Philip Reeve's book "Mortal Engines", about giant moving cities which eat each other, which has a bit of a steampunk feel.

And I realise that while I think I know what steampunk is, I can't ever recall reading a single book that I'd consider steampunk.

What are the originators and exemplars?
 

ripley

Well-known member
Just reading children's author Philip Reeve's book "Mortal Engines", about giant moving cities which eat each other, which has a bit of a steampunk feel.

And I realise that while I think I know what steampunk is, I can't ever recall reading a single book that I'd consider steampunk.

What are the originators and exemplars?
The Difference Engine, by Bruce Sterling
 

D84

Well-known member
I'm definitely no expert but Perdido St Station feels right.

How about the Moorcock's Oswald Bastable novels?

Do Steampunk novels have to relate to Computer Technology?

Funny though, I only just got The Difference Engine last week...
 
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D84

Well-known member
A friend of mine is starting a steampunk band. :cool:
I saw a stempunk band mentioned on Mick Farren's blog. Is this your mate's band? This is his quote from a Guardian article about it:
A London-based American musician called Thomas Truax even makes his own instruments: there's one called the Hornicator, made from a gramophone horn; another, known as Mother Superior, emits steam when played.”
btw I finished reading The Difference Engine. I really enjoyed reading it but I didn't find it quite as satisfying as (how could I have forgotten) the most recent Pynchon novel Against the Day which is very much rooted in Steampunk.
 

craner

Beast of Burden
Some one asked me about this in work the other day and I had no idea what they were talking about. What on earth is it?
 
D

droid

Guest
Sci Fi/Alternate history based around steam/mechanical technology rather than silicon/electric.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Some segments of Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy has a very steampunkish feel. Interestingly, it features a society with technology that seems mostly to coincide with the late 19th/early 20th century - railways still run on steam, and there's electric lighting but no electronics, as such, and certainly no computers - although there is apparently nuclear technology, and in some respects the society's knowledge of fundamental physics may be in advance of real science today. An interesting mix, anyway.
 

Benny B

Well-known member
Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentleman is pretty steampunk (and brilliant).

Also, anyone remember Chaos Engine on the Amiga?
 

ripley

Well-known member
I've been trying to figure out how you'd capture a steampunk vibe through the medium of electronic music, but I'm basically drawing a blank atm.
I wouldn't assume a steampunk band is primarily electronic.

I would hope for (and think appropriate) accordions/bandoneons, hand-cranked victrolas (or some contraption visibly powering the crank), musical saw, theremin, glass harmonica, steel cello,

harry partch's instruments seem kinda steampunkish

although sampling of said sounds could go a long way, I think exposed machinery/gears/pulleys is a key aesthetic element

ooh that said, on the electronic side, I'd love to see one of those things that sparks across two prongs and makes a nice zzzzapping sound.. what are they called?
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Yes, theremins would be absolutely steampunk! I think you could have anything that was electric, but not electronic - so while you wouldn't use an electronic synthesiser (either analogue or digital), you could use a pipe organ powered by an electric fan, or even a Hammond organ, as these work on an electro-mechanical principle. A quick google tells me they were invented in 1934, is this too late to fall under 'steampunk'?

Also I love the idea of a musical instrument based on some crazy Frankenstein-cum-Tesla-inspired megavoltage spark machine. :cool:
 

Slothrop

Tight but Polite
I wouldn't assume a steampunk band is primarily electronic.
I wouldn't assume so, it's just that for practical reasons primarily electronic is about what I've got...

I would hope for (and think appropriate) accordions/bandoneons, hand-cranked victrolas (or some contraption visibly powering the crank), musical saw, theremin, glass harmonica, steel cello,
Ooh yes. Reminds me of that line in Mason and Dixon about "a strange device of Jesuitical design," for some reason. Also of bits of Bellowhead, although they border on Sailpunk. But unfortunately I don't have a glass harmonica to hand.

although sampling of said sounds could go a long way, I think exposed machinery/gears/pulleys is a key aesthetic element
Yes, although you can get at the atmosphere without neccessarily using the equipment.

ooh that said, on the electronic side, I'd love to see one of those things that sparks across two prongs and makes a nice zzzzapping sound.. what are they called?
I think general 'electricity' noises are probably part of it, actually. Zaps, crackles, mains hum.
 
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