For Forum status and technical updates, follow @vonCorax on Twitter X, and on Mastodon.

Main Menu

steampunk as subculture

Started by kiskolou, February 24, 2007, 01:11:29 AM

Previous topic - Next topic


After consideration, this is what I can conclude from my observations:
1.  A major theme among those of the Steampunk persuasion are those that greatly enjoy building and changing things to fit their personal taste. (A backlash against todays prepackaged society perhaps)

2. Many people exist as a Steampunk (or some variation on that theme) but do no realize that there are like-minded individuals like them out there, or that they were indeed "Steampunks".

As such, most come to this subculture with their own particular "brand".  Having come, and found out that there is indeed something called Steampunk, they do what comes naturally and modify/change it to fit their own tastes and aesthetics.  Thus it would be fruitless to try to proclaim a rigid set of rules to what exactly is Steampunk as most individuals like to bend the rules anyways.  There are those who are interested in dress and attire, there are those interested in gadgets and gizmo's, and those further still interested in the literature, and the thought behind it.  However, we all share a similar theme, and find inspiration in eachother.  I liken it to the Zen concept of Dharma transmission.  We all share a dream/vision but none of us can define it very well because we only know it when we see it.  There is just that spark when we all stand in front of some boiler, or a model of an airship and just point and smile to one another, sharing the glow of that shared glimpse of our vision.  We are not some great series of identical microchips all blinking to the same pulse, we are the great cogs, gears, and springs of some great machine; some big, some small, but we all work off of one another.  When the one of our minds whir with the energy of discovery and inspiration, it will not be long before the whole machine will be alive and clanking along.  Call that machine "Steampunk" if you will.  But it's energy will power bulbs (and valves) across the world.

Well then, thats enough of a sermon for me.  Terribly sorry for being so forward and all.  I'll be going now.
Your's ect.
G. S. Cephias

Honky-Tonk Dragon

"I replied that only <i>lost</i> causes were of any interest to a gentleman..."
Jorge Luis Borges "The Shape of the Sword"

Official Engraver of the Imperial Stamps of the Duchy of McIntyre

Josh of Vernian Process

Well yes, I think that is pretty much the conclusion we've all come to. I still stand by my statement that Steampunk has a solid definition, and that it shouldn't be changed to fit an individuals take on it. Of course individuals can have their own ideas of what Steampunk is, but when those ideas are presented as fact to the public, it creates great confusion.

We all have our own preferences when it comes to the Steampunk genre, but we all also must agree on a solid meaning for it. I think the one that Cory stated over in the Steampunk isn't Punk thread is the most solid one I can think of. Simply the idea of Victorian inspired Anachronism (which can be set in other time periods).

Oh, and please refer to it as a culture, not a subculture. A minor technicality, but one that saves a lot of unneeded debate.

P.S. No need for anyone else to debate this post, just needed to add my thoughts (which will remain the same no matter what anyone else has to say on the subject).
Gilded Age Records is a collective of like minded Indie artists, all unified by a common 19th Century/Steampunk theme.
<A HREF=""><img src="">


Wh..wait..wait a.. what's this?

We've come to some sort of tenuous agreement? I see nothing to contradict, nothing to... to... debate?

The debate is over?

:Gets off soapbox and starts the long walk home:

Just joking, assuredly. I am most happy that, once we get the terminology out of the way, and the basic semantics, that even if we don't all agree, per se, we can still all get along and respect each other.

And that is a sign, dear folks, of maturity within the community, if not a mature community... waith, that doesn't mean quite what I want it to... It's just we're a "young" community...

Oh, never mind. I'm much more eloquent when arguing...   ;)

As always, I am your humble servant,
--the Dreamsmith

Honky-Tonk Dragon

Thank you to all who contributed to this thread and the "steampunk isn't punk" thread.
Though perhaps a tedious process at first, I think these discussions have been vital to help us create a broadbased, tolerant community.
If someone who just discovered this board had the patience to slog through all of both of them, I think they would come away with a good sense of what the board is all about... and be saved the indignity of inadvertently bruising feelings and rifling feathers.
"I replied that only <i>lost</i> causes were of any interest to a gentleman..."
Jorge Luis Borges "The Shape of the Sword"

Official Engraver of the Imperial Stamps of the Duchy of McIntyre


Wow. Happy endings. I'm glad to see my thread ending like this (although i'm not sure if it's fair to call it my thread anymore...). Maybe we should lock this, but keep it as a historical document?
"There will always be a lost world for you here..." - Atterton

Your reality sir, is lies and balderdash and i am delighted to say i have no grasp of it whatsoever!

Josh of Vernian Process

I think it should be locked, and then stickied.
Gilded Age Records is a collective of like minded Indie artists, all unified by a common 19th Century/Steampunk theme.
<A HREF=""><img src="">

Honky-Tonk Dragon

"I replied that only <i>lost</i> causes were of any interest to a gentleman..."
Jorge Luis Borges "The Shape of the Sword"

Official Engraver of the Imperial Stamps of the Duchy of McIntyre

Jake von Slatt

The Industrial Revolution . . . This time it's personal.


Steampunk as a Sub-Culture, I'm starting to believe it's coming into it's own as a culture in itself. Just as the American and Commonwealth nations have come from the UK, but they have have developed their own cultures, seperated by a common language (i.e. I do say, good sir, What is a billabong?).

I guess you can say I'm a recovering Rivit and over the last couple of years have been disillusioned with the scene(been enthralled since 1988 c.e.). Tired of the politics and elitist attitudes from countless hot topic clones, I've yearned for something with more substanance. Steampunk, varied as it may seem, has a rich literary, cultural and philosophical tradition. Whether your are a collier, adventurer or Aristocrat, everyone seems to be on equal footing. Politic's? Sure every culture and sub-genre has it. This is unavoidable. As a whole the politics is more tongue in cheek and never seems to get more serious than "No, no, I'm sorry to say, Darjeeling is a much more sopisticated tea than Twinnings". Because, I believe, in this modern culture of convenience and egocentric behaviour, we understand you can get further by practicing good manners and think beyond the white man's burden (of other sub cultures). So whether you are into the pomp or the circumstance you know you will always fit in and be accepted, unless you are a total bludger or a fine wirer.

I, myself, don't have the couter to wear the dunnage. None the less, I still feel a part of the culture and hope to develop it more. -_Q


Per Aspera ad Astra


And with that, with three people calling for this thread to be honourably locked, I will do so.

Quite a rollercoaster ride, but a very interesting one indeed.  Glad it turned out well in the end.


Shadow Of The Tower

From time to time I have people ask me what it means to live a steampunk lifestyle and I usually can't come up with a good answer in regards to how I do it.

But tonight when opened up my computer it occurred to me that what I am doing right now at this moment should qualify as it steampunk? I don't know. Probably most people wouldn't think so but of course I don't subscribe to most people.

What I am doing right now is using a brand new computer to log into a UK site while sitting in a candle lit  round tower.  The power has been out for an hour but a few minutes ago I went outside and started up a tiny 150 watt generator that was made shortly after WWII that I found buried in a pile of junk after my grandmother died. It was the same generator that my mother used to power a small black and white TV in  order to watch the moon landing while on a fishing trip. Its just enough to power the wireless router and the low wattage LED rope light system I have on all floors of the tower.

Downstairs my girlfriend is taking a shower. This is possible because my water is supplied from a 200 gallon tank in the upstairs bedroom. The water heater is a hand built gas fired on demand system made from well casing and forty feet exposed of copper coil.  Its controlled by a single brass and iron lever mounted next to the sink like a giant knife switch. In the distance I can hear the homebuilt  gravity powered hydraulic ram cycling as it pumps water up from the river two hundred feet below the tower. It only pumps a gallon a minute but it does so for free 24 hours a day.

Over my fire department radio I can hear dispatch calling in police to the towns only gas station. It sounds like someone is taking advantage of the darkness and lack of power to break into the store. An hour without. power and we already have looting. I look up to the windowsill where by hand built, fully functional .89 caliber steampunk style hand cannon rests along with a bandolier of hand built copper cartridges, each one loaded with more than an ounce of black powder. Its heavy has hell and takes almost thirty seconds to reload but I imagine it would do the trick.

I look up to the calendar on the wall, its from the corset company that my girlfriend orders from, looks like she has to work tomorrow.  I just got done selling a cable-welded damascus knife so I think can take a day off from the forge and the new kitchen addition I've been building. My sister down from alaska this week, I think we'll go fishing tomorrow if I can convince her that the  old 1960's fiberglass canoe that I converted into a sailboat is safe.

If this goes on for too long the refrigerator may be a problem but for right now I have everything that I want.  Its a mix of antique machinery, handbuilt contraptions and ultra modern technology but it all fits together and works because every component is a real function part of my life and my entire household was designed to exist on the fringe of the modern world but to also exist outside it, in its own version reality that runs on systems I built. Its not a hobby, its not an aesthetic, its a way of solving problems the uses the robust of the grid inventions of an earlier age coupled with the best aspects of the modern world. 

Its barely legal, dirty, and takes a lot of work. I'm hated by my neighbors and believed to be either crazy or a drug dealer by most of the people I know. I don't have health insurance, a steady job or a retirement package. I have no idea what my credit rating is since I've never had a bank account  and my debit card is an anonymous travel card that I reload with cash at the grocery store.

But Its the only way I can stand to live, anything else would bore me to death and honestly I don't understand the mundane world well enough to find any success there. All my attempts to work a normal job and rent a normal house have lead to overwhelming depression and poverty.

But here in my world I am a lord on my own manor, and tonight my house is the only one with the lights on.

von Corax

Man, I don't know if it qualifies as Steampunk, but it certainly sounds unstressful! :)
By the power of caffeine do I set my mind in motion
By the Beans of Life do my thoughts acquire speed
My hands acquire a shaking
The shaking becomes a warning
By the power of caffeine do I set my mind in motion
The Leverkusen Institute of Paleocybernetics is 5845 km from Reading