Deck the Halls with Gears and Gadgets- A Steampunk Holiday

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…

Wait…what?

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!

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About erinlausten

Erin Lausten's life is as busy and fast paced as her books. Working as an archeologist and research librarian in the recent past, Erin has a unique view of the world. She sees all the possibilities that can be and doesn't accept the limited scope accepted by society. Her favorite question is "Why not?" Join her, if only for a story or two, in her flights of fancy and 'what if' scenarios. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other fine online retailers.

10 thoughts on “Deck the Halls with Gears and Gadgets- A Steampunk Holiday

  1. That’s a different take on the holiday, and funny too!

    I have read some of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen works in comic form… I think the last one that I’ve seen done, I found myself wondering what kind of drugs the writer was taking.

  2. Merry Christmas to you too!

    And William… I imagine if you look at just about any comic book you wonder about the writers… after all… super powers, mutants, world domination?

    But, either way, in regards to the League, the original wins, hands down, IMHO.

    • Erin,
      Very interesting blog! And I agree with you about the League, the original is the best! Happy Holiday and a blessed New Year to you!

  3. Aha! I wasn’t exactly sure what Steampunk meant, but now I get it. Sort of the “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” fare….Well, in that case, I think I like it!!!

    I used to love the 60’s Wild, wild, West show….loved Robert Conrad…!!!

    • Beth
      I think one could argue that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is steampunk, though I know some would argue against. It depends. I am all for a blanket coverage of the term. More and more we are seeing paranormal breaching into the genre in addition to the “science and technology” part. One of my favorite steampunk series is the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger. There is a lot of paranormal in there. Vampires, weres and steampunk, how can you go wrong?

      • A Paranormal Steampunk….! Now, there’s something one of us should tackle!

        I guess, like my paranormal romances, they don’t quite fit the mould either…paranormal to me means not only ghosts and the special abilities, but also the vampires, were’s and fairies…etc….to some, it’s just about vampires.

        Steampunk does sound interesting though….add the element of the paranormal, in whatever way, and with extreme gadgets etc, this would make for an interesting read…

  4. It took me a long time to start to grasp exactly what comprised steampunk because there is so much argument over it. Of course, I still am not 100% sure but I think I get it. By the way, I loved LXG.

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