Becoming Steampunk




Steampunk is what the French and English thought the year 1980 or 2000 to be like back in the 1880's when the airplane was invented and though it was first imagined by Jules Verne (imagining scientific inventions through iron and wood) it wasn't a coined term until the 80's in magazines regarding its brand of fiction (mostly as a response to Cyberpunk). It has some science-fiction according to the standards of Mary Shelly (the fore-mother of science-fiction) and sometimes imagining history if the world's technology developed the way it was imagined (even as it was done secretly by some inventors in the Renaissance according to historians) in the Victorian Era but for a good third of the part it is pure fantasy considering how many creatures and elements of fantasy are often present in Steampunk. Beyond that the most common form of power is magic since Alchemy is almost as central a theme in Steampunk as is time travel and adventure. Steampunk represents every time period from the renaissance to revolutionary times to civil war era and finally to 1920's at the latest! This ultimately means it reflects a strong sense of pre-scientific history with the earliest forms of science in use that has more a relationship to magic than to science. The fashion is more often a reflection of Victorian or Elizabethan than it is of late 19th to early 20th century times thus making it strongly fashionable and less business like. Later works like Doctor Who and otherwise take place during the 20th century thus bearing the regalia, in rare cases they have classic American robots appearing in rococo or other strange fashions, the only samples of current fashions is in steampunk sci-fi crossovers that include space rockets. Steampunk also has western fashions such as small skirts, burlesque outfits or bustiers, some even includes the streets of New York City paperboy fashions in both winter and summer short styles. Things like genies, dragons or faeries are not unusual in a Steampunk world, not even griffons are unusual since Steampunk is a sub-fiction of fantasy. They carry around weapons but mostly bladed weapons and less guns so it only makes sense that you would find a pirate, colonel or a handsome swashbuckling man carrying swords around on a Steampunk ship, some guns are alchemic or rune charged for a more magical arsenal. The exploration takes on a sense of cruising the world from an airship to see it all or else a time traveler who explores history as a sort of theme park tour or to change events he felt should have been changed. Their gear is more often tools, accessories for pleasure or for the most part decoration as in jewelry that helps to increase their social image if they are occasionally material minded and class image if they are aristocratic by origin. Magic is often themed in Steampunks more popular works due to its fantasy origins, some alchemist trying to unravel the occult or exploiting any magical device to improve civil living or maybe a sort of ulcifier assassin hired by different groups to tip the balance of power in their favor and on other occasions out to stop powermongers from getting their way. They aren't big fans of government since they are often parliaments who are full of fat cats, indifferent lords or sorcerers controlling the minds of the governing and sometimes progressive regents whom seek to bridal the society to their whims, typically in other works there is this medieval China thing of the main ruler being killed thus encouraging factions to fight over the throne which in later cases calls for the common man to fight in raging anarchy against the powers which exists in grittier steampunk atmospheres or a single heroic character trying to make the world right increasing their democratic image. The society is often their greatest irk since the constraints of customs, culture and some unreasonable traditions make any intelligent or open-minded individual quite antsy; their beef with establishment ultimately resides around their society of pure aristocrats who in fact for the most part rule their country and all around them. Yet the greatest part of Steampunk lies in the pure freedom of adventure, time travel, high skies battles and in the moonlight romance; the overall theme of Steampunk is the castle man emerging into a modern time. Though the society, government and all other things bear the identity of a time of kings they have a modern identity as well with the military, a parliament, cowboys undertaking foreign missions like top agents, isolationist societies battling to protect ancient secrets from power mongers, locomotives, airplanes, steam ships and radio broadcasting. The music of steampunk dwells in the area of symphonic opera metal, folk rock and symphonic orchestra with sometimes a hint of electronic music remix, wherever rock and medieval/renaissance music and symphonies meet is the atmosphere you will often find in steampunk. The fashion of steampunk has come to influence symphonic subculture, Gothic subculture and visual kei (asia's equivalence of western visual conscious rock culture) this influence has made steampunk bear stronger relevance in popular culture today. Some steampunk stretches as far as the eighties due to its compatibility with science-fiction, most know Lewis Carroll as the dawn of steampunk with the work of Alice in Wonderland, but because of steampunk sci-fi, works like World of Warcraft and a few other fantasies have referenced robots, space exploration and scientific exploitation of biological exotic things.


The font often found on the front cover of most steampunk works is similar to what was found on the front cover of a Victorian period newspaper or in a wild western town and on the description of an alchemist recipe. It sells the tale of the disgraced hero, the lone survivor cowboy, the misfit outlaw, the strike activist, the racially disgruntled avenger, the escaping occult outcast and the decieved inventor. Some stories about the unconcerned aristocrats who are termed the 'ruling class', the hopeless beggar who was once a respected toy maker or artist and the royal agent who acted a detective to sort truth from fiction in order to put an end to the bluish situation and political corruption are amongst what is illustrated by these fonts as well as the apocalyptic early 20th century world where black magic or a race of destroyers transform the social climate to a militarily run world to protect what remains of the civil and living world. The music just gives it life.


The airship is another major theme in Steampunk since that is the biggest form of transportation for any Steampunk there is! They are untouchable from the skies regardless the German's viscous cannons that could puncture any flying vessel within range to be struck, they are limber enough to escape the strikes.


The old spectacles of men in the 1700's and the ones Benjamin Franklin wore are the same ones many steampunks treasure, these spectacles were invented in a time that kings and lords still ruled but within the same time that the Vatican's social supremacy was crumbling. The goggles are central for most steampunks because steam, whipping winds and alchemical science is none too forgiving to the eyes.


Jewelry is the main form of status and beautification in the Steampunk world, because those without nice jewelry are often seen as lesser class. Steampunk's wear it simply for beauty and because they like to look classy for any ball or social event they engage in.


Steampunk is well known for the pocket watch since that's how most Steampunks tell time and the fact that the pocket watches only work through gears and electrode pockets!


Swords are both more common and more central in the Steampunk world since they are the way that most of the Steampunk characters do battle. Some Steampunk swordsman are aggressive and barbaric in their style while others are more stylish and quick and the rest are graceful and clever!


fairy tale creatures with the ability of speech are too close to fantasy to be taken seriously yet Steampunks love these things even if they have to make a mechanical one have a voice! Besides diplomatic relations to dragons and pacts made with fairies, to them the talking animal is a fringe benefit reward for making peace with the fabled realm.


The potion is a major theme in steampunk though mostly in the area of fantasy yet still central as they double as magical items and scientific liquids. Potions are created for varied purposes yet most of them is either for combat or for psychological well being.


The old fashioned ford car was redesigned by artists in paintings to have a more Steampunk theme especially in the 1920's when having the Steampunk styled cars was popular. Steampunks treat them as luxury and not as transportation as the majority of the public would have it.


Steampunk fashion is once again extremely high grade since they take fashion almost as seriously as a Scene kid or any typical fashion geek! Fashion shows they have class, it shows they have beauty and it shows they can be easily mistaken for royalty or nobility.


The Roles of Steampunk

Steampunk Fencer

The Fencer is your run-of-the-mill swashbuckler whether he is a protector, a pirate or competitor of manhood his life is dedicated to his sword! Like a Samurai he lives and dies by his sword yet it doesn't ever cancel out the ladies nor a romantic relationship with his lover for she is his reason, his survival and his purpose. The fencer is quite the impressive one to any woman since women do like a man who knows how to use his sword artistically and less like some savage barbarian. The fencer always thinks of his sword as an extra arm when in combat because if his enemy has an aggressive tactic then he must have a slick and quick and clever tactic to meet him with. The fencer is also known to be anatomically correct in a thin way as well as incredibly acrobatic!


Steampunk Pilot

The Pilot is the navigator and the adventurer in Steampunk, they explore uncharted territory, read compasses to direct them when in a fog, use maps to give them a layout and determine where they are. They often don the pilot's headgear to avoid the chilly air and to guard against bugs that could fly in their faces. Their ships are always made of the boat and the blimp combined so they could travel through the air and upon the sea!


Steampunk Engineer

The Engineer is both the repairman and the craftsman in Steampunk, he builds ships and blimps and locomotives, whatever he is told to or desires to make. For a good portion of the time he fixes what got broke and makes certain it is built to endure many more things before its next checkup. His greatest dream is to build an iron golem that he can remotely control because it can do repair and cleanup as well as battle. The Engineer most of the time carries heavy hitting weaponry to avoid a head on engagement with his enemy, after all the crew does need their engineer to make sure things are functioning properly. The engineer only likes heavy bladed weapons because they can cleave any enemy and make malfunctioned engineering work. Engineers are also known to be built and brawn as in muscular as a farm boy being able to handle many enemies with one hand broken.


Steampunk Alchemist

The Alchemist quite typically is the scientist of the group in Steampunk, though he also devoutly studies magic and sorcery he uses science to contain the powers of nature. He tries to understand the ghost realm as well as what is involved in creating life since he hopes to prove that deities aren't the only one's who create life. Some Alchemists try to maintain their sanity as it is easy to slip into psychosis and unbelief since if not careful with science the scientists has the potential of creating a monster. In the early times they lived there was no UCS to dictate their practices and research, they were free to only let their faith in greater things than themselves guide their work. Alchemists are known to wear gas masks as well as combat gloves and carry ray-gun pistols and use their potions while in the rage of battle.


Steampunk Time Traveler

The Time Traveler is not ruled by anything or anyone but by fate itself, they can run to anywhere in time and maybe influence unchangeable events so they might slightly change for the better! He wears his trusty pocket watch to give him the time and dons a watch that shows in what time of history he is in coupled with a day and night sensor. His backpack is instead a time box which is a thunderbolt in place of a grandfather clock for his time travel device that has a like to his watch so he can choose the year and go when he pulls the lever. His hat is made to hold his goggles since he can't trust them to not fall off in the shift of time.


Steampunk Cowboy

The Cowboy comes in a time when the world is starting to industrialize and be fully integrated into the gun over the bladed weapon. The cowboy rarely needs a bladed weapon yet if he has to have one he'd prefer the short sword to all the optional ones, he deals with the big bad and ugly known as crooks and monarchic sympathizers. He's as good with the ladies as he is with wild gun slinging making him both stylishly bold and dazzling.


Steampunk Lord

The Steampunk lord is both the most esteemed member of his society and the most dejected if he was framed for a murder or a crime or even treason he never committed. In society's highs he is seen as the bell of the ball, respected in court, having the strongest position in decision making, can have any woman he desired (the lady has the same priviledge) and is very much a wealthy man as well as a baron over his realm hence he decides the rules there. In society's lows he is seen as the mysterious guest in a ball, plotted against in court, has to follow the authority in decision making to keep low profile, may been compared to a pimp if dejected (a whore if a woman) and may have his wealth until his rivals drain him dry as well as his estate and land turned into an office for the elite guards. The lord must at all times appear as romanticized, dignified, cultured, have etiquette, eloquently spoken, intelligent, business wise, be a gentleman (or a lady if a woman) and bear his trusty katana at his side which in the steampunk universe is a weapon fit for those of high stature. Aside from reputation publicly his realm is his own and he is free to express himself there.


Steampunk In The East

Truth be told that China and much of the Far East or Asia was already emerging into a modern age as unlike the central world they weren't hindered by stubborn lords or conceited kings wanting things to stay the way they are prompting the ruling church to say that ideas of modernization are witchcraft and heresy. Those lords and kings and the ruling church could have been more advanced and excelled in power had they considered modern engineering was more power to them and not their people, then again even to the Chinese they were a land of brutes and barbarians having no respect for foreign traditions thus the reason the Chinese banned Catholicism from their lands. But enough out of a history lesson, the Chinese were the most potential to have the steampunk technology rumored by tale tellers and Da Vinci yet now such things only exist in legends that were not true obviously, in Steampunk the Chinese lands are fully modernized yet maintaining much of their renaissance looks. The duelist is essentially no different from the fencer save he utilizes the use of martial arts instead of dandy movement the fencers are accustomed to, his acrobatic movement pumps more blood into the action than even the flaunty aristocratic Englishman is used to. The steampunk jade is like the pilot but drives a mechanical caravan or rides a mechanical horse and uses magic along with their roguish tricks for anything, they are thieves, assassins (for factional purposes), warriors, lost city hunters (plenty of wealth left there) and wield magic for whatever purpose they need it for. The steampunk samurai is either mechanically and magically engineered being or is a being who is both guardian, warrior and policeman to the ruler they serve, they have martial arts, arm mounted fireball cannon or an engineered crossbow and exceptional skill with the sword enough to almost put shame to a Musketeer. The best part is that the European fashions are pompous looking in comparison to theirs which comes of more imaginative as opposed to decorative.


A Soundtrack For Steampunk And Its Fans