Steampunk 101 - Just Add Goggles

By the Bel

The term Steampunk was apparently coined by K.W. Jester in the 1980’s. The look is based around Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, the age of invention, the Victorian era, Aviation, Pirating, and steam powered gadgets. It’s even in the Oxford English Dictionary. Their definition is, ”a genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology.”
I googled steampunk and was met with a vast array of truly amazing pictures. Anything, it seems, can be steampunked.

Steam Punkrock?

Ssssssteaming haute couture!

Electric guitars with cogs, gears, brass pipes and fittings. Computer keyboards made to look like old, clunky typewriters. Then we get down to the business of fashion sense.
Now, I’m not talking Mohawks, safety pins, and Sex Pistols when I say steampunk. I’m talking Victorian garb, goggles, air ships, and muskets.
Corseted, Amelia Earheart-esque looking women, complete with aviation goggles and a ballsy demeanor.

Men take on a gentlemanly, regimental, pirates-of-the-sky appearance. Trench coats, war medals, and skeletal-looking fob watches.
It is a sight to behold when people make a real go of their Steampunkery.
If you want to get the gist of the steampunk world, look no further than your local video store for inspiration. Steamboy, Wild Wild West, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Howlers Moving Castle, and Treasure Planet are just a small selection of the more well known movies that may (or may not) be considered to have themes of steampunk through them.
This all goes beyond a few threads and a gimmicky keyboard though.

Steaming Keys!

There is a whole world of steampunk ‘stuff’ out there. There are music groups. Abney park, Ghostfire, Sepiachord, Bitter Ruin, Sunday Driver to name a few. There’s a Steampunk Magazine, that has all things to do with steampunk within its pages. There are even entire conventions dedicated to all things steampunk. So, it seems to be a little better thought out to me than buying a cheap corset and chucking a pair of goggles on your head. If you really want to make an impact, do your research. Embrace your inner hero and let your imagination run wild.
Congratulate the steampunk crews you see at your next convention. They really are the thinking person’s cosplayers.

Music: Abney Park – Airship Pirate

Ghostfire – Vaudevillain

Books: World Shaker – Richard Harland

Leviathan – Scott Westerfeld

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