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The Importance of Manufacture

Started by Edisonade, March 11, 2007, 11:15:18 PM

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In looking around this forum and several different pages, I've found that there is a quite a bit of importance placed on the creation, or at least modification, of machinery that fits the steampunk ideal or aesthetic.  This makes perfect sense, as the very idea of steampunk is inexorably tied to fantastic mechanisms and mad science.  However, I am wondering about the acceptability of appreciating steampunk in a more literary fashion.  Not to insult anyone, but steampunk is, at it's core, fiction.  It is fascination with a past that never happened, and things that never were.  While I have the utmost respect for people who are building their own steam-cars, or retrofitting their homes to use only gas lamps and arc-lighting, I am just wondering if there is room here for people who love the fiction, but do not live it?  In reading the "Steampunk as Subculture" sticky, I noted a certain level of animosity towards those who do not become Dr. Cavor or James Steam in their off hours.  I truly do love the imagination, the spirit of adventure, and the limitless possibilities that characterize the Steampunk style.  Is this enough?


I'd say of course it's enough!

It's just a case that everyone who likes something, tries to get closer to it in the way they feel most comfortable with.  For some, that means reading all the classic Steampunk or Victorian Science-Fiction novels and short stories and getting lost in the imagination of others, and firing up their own imaginations!  For others, it might mean trying to make something with their hands that brings a bit of Steampunk to the real world.  Yet more want to get even closer to Steampunk, and take to wearing Steampunk styled clothing - an exersise in empathy with a fictional fashion sense.  And there are even more who'd like nothing more than to sit down to a good Steampunk themed film, or listen to Steampunk music.

We all like Steampunk, but there's more than one way to like it.  I frown severely at anyone who looks down at anyone else's methods for appreciating all things Steampunk!

OHebel Wring

I would say at the heart of it, I am just a victorian science fiction nut.

A "Dreamer" not a "Doer"
"The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes. "
-Sherlock Holmes

The Grand Duchess

In my 'real' life I'm a teacher.  I don't dress in corsets very often, and certainly not at work.  I also love Victorian fiction of all kinds, and I am a big fan of Sherlock Holmes.

Had I not found this site I would have decorated my home in an eccentric fashion anyway, but I don't think most people should take up such habits. please don't feel that you have to start wearing top hats in order to fit in.
A true alternative subculture is one that not only questions the social status quo but poses viable solutions to some of the perceived underlying problems. Difference from the norm is not the same as superiority to the mainstream unless it can be  argued that the difference is positing a better way.

Clym Angus

To quote myself (hugely egotistical I know and I do sincerely apologize in advance) but; You don't need to stroll round looking like the clone of Prince Albert in order to have a heart of brass.

You will of course find people who have made this their all consuming passion, which (before anyone starts) is absolutely fine, a person without passion (in some form) is a sad specimen indeed!

You'll get many others who have their specialist subjects, occassional visitors, makers, dreamers, brigands, vagabonds but so far (reassuringly) no trollers. It's important for any group of people brought together by a shared interest to be drawn from the widest social field as possible.

No one's trying to change the world (we leave that to Dr Steel). We're all just endulging an interest (love, passion, curio (Delete as apropriate)) with people who will at least basically have some idea of where we are coming from. Seem fair?


I say absolutely. I'd actually really like to see some more legitimate critical analysis of the genre around here that didn't involve people pressing an agenda. I'm a big lit geek. Honestly, my interest in tinkering and dressing funny is in many ways seperate from my interest in steampunk literature. I very much welcome more representation from that side of things. And above that, I very much welcome you to the ship. Swab that deck, and when you're finished we'll chat over some kippers and grog.

The first sign of the beginning of understanding is a wish to die.

OHebel Wring

To be honest, I can say that I am a fan of the steampunk culture, but am, myself, a bit of a poser.  I pretty much ONLY read Victorian literature (not for any other reason than I feel a deeper connection to this than other literature).  I am a Sherlock Holmes fan to the core... (I say as I adjust the S.H. cufflinks on my shirt).  I recently bought an 80 quid (160 dollar) collection of Sherlock Holmes books that you can see in the background of my profile image... they are the pride of my collection.  I am in the middle of reading the collected works of Edgar Allen Poe.

I am a Victorian Science Fiction (but mostly Victorian in general) fan.  And as a result, find myself drawn to this community due to the fact that there are plenty of others who also enjoy the same genres.  That coupled with the resurgence of interest in a genre I hold dear makes me want to do backflips.  If I could do back flips.

When I taught high school, I always tried to convince my students to like the things that they liked (in this case it was rap), but to also know the background of that which they liked (in this case, we listened to Sugarhill gang and watched a few hiphop documentaries during class).  And it is this message that I will try to push to all of you as well.  Read Read READ!  There is not just the Verne and the Wells, but we also have the Poes, the Conan Doyles, the Shelleys, the Hintons, etc.  (and I will try to read some things more modern as well)

That to me is the coolest part of this genre.  We have the guys who like to clank and the guys who like to flip pages.  like I love to define as the "Doers and Dreamers".

cool...  off my soapbox now.
"The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes. "
-Sherlock Holmes