Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even the strange octopus-looking thing that likes to hide in the corner….(er… ok…)
The children were nestled all snug in their beds while visions of clockwork dolls danced in their heads… (ok, that I can see…)
When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature airship with eight burly pirates with slightly futuristic ray guns and giant plumes of steam billowing into the sky…
Yes, that’s right. It is a Steampunk Christmas. It has been a fabulous year for the steampunk community. The genre has gathered significant steam (har har, yes that was intentional) and we have seen great numbers of new faces and new creations come out into the open.
My love affair with steampunk began nearly two years ago. Actually, that’s not quite true. I have had an affinity toward the steamy side of Victorian life for years. I loved the Wild Wild West T.V. show (the movie was fun. The series from the 1960s was better). I had to run out and buy the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen as soon as I discovered it existed (the comic/graphic novel, not the movie, though I got a total kick out of the movie too). I swear, someday I will put together a Mina Harker costume. I love love love the scarfs! But that’s just me geeking out.
The truth is we’ve had the chance to see the emergence of a genre that is breaking away from minor obscurity into popular fiction. I love it. That doesn’t mean the genre is brand new. It actually traces its origin to Jules Verne and H.G. Wells and others that brought science fiction to the Victorian Era. Then it had quick stops in the 60s with Wild Wild West and other similar stories. In the early 90s The Difference Engine by Gibson and Sterling is said to have brought more attention to the genre.
But it was still pretty quiet. Then something happened a couple years ago and people have gone nuts with the stuff. Go to any comicon and you are sure to find many a steampunk aficionado running around in Victorian garb complete with ray guns and goggles. Hit any bookstore and look through the science fiction and romance sections and you are sure to run into steampunk stories. Etsy is packed with steam inspired artsy goodness. And seriously, for that computer geek that has everything? Steampunk keyboards are the thing!
This has made me extremely happy. I love Victorian and historical stories. Most of steampunk has focused on Victorian England, but it has begun to expand across the oceans into alternative realms of possibility. I live in the west United States and have an affinity toward the old fashion Western, but throw in some steam-powered weapons and contraptions and I am in heaven. Life has been good to this geek lately and I foresee a fabulous future filled with steam and style.
Of course, I have jumped on this bandwagon. And for no other reason than I love it. I enjoy the contrast of the fine and frippery of the Victorian era mixed with the dust and grime of the steam-powered world. My first foray into the steampunk genre is a series of short stories following the adventures of an entertainment troupe called the Marvelous Mac HurdyGurdy Traveling Show. There’s mystery and mayhem and a tiny bit of technological oddity. I’m looking forward to sharing this with you all and exploring this new and exciting past that never was.
So, may your Holiday Season be ripe with steamy machinations and take a few moments to dream about what is possible, what may be possible, and what could have been possible. Cheers!