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Steampunk: Roots & Branches
Dallas Public Library
Humanities Steampunk Series
Stephen D. Poe
26 September 2015
• The history and
interpretation of
Steampunk varies.
• There are as many
definitions as there
are Steampunkers.
• This is...
ROOTS
First, there was Science
Fiction/Fantasy
• And, from there in the early 80s, evolved
Cyberpunk.
• Dystopian SF; a genre no...
The Cyberpunk genre expanded
Writers created cyberpunk-type worlds but without
cybernetics; some were set in Victorian Eng...
And suddenly a new genre is born…
Dear Locus,
Personally, I think Victorian fantasies
are going to be the next big thing, ...
Older works were retro-actively
fitted into the new genre
But it’s not just literary –
It’s expanded far past that
Steampunk
Literary
Novels
Short Stories
Comics
Graphic
Novels
Multimedia
Movies
Anime
Games
Immersion
Music
Cons
Cosplay
D...
Music
• Abney Park
• Charles von Vitic
• The Clockwork Dolls
• The Clockwork Quartet
• The Cog is Dead
• Corset
• Darcy Ja...
Performance Art
• Rocky Horror
• Steampunk
• Airship Isabella
• Carnival Epsilon
• League of STEAM
• Penny Dreadful Produc...
Even its own Reality TV Show
• Steampunk’D
Its own Reality TV Show!
Crafts & DIY
• DIY and Maker
• Aside from cosplay, most other
subcultures do not have such a strong
emphasis on DIY
• Stea...
BRANCHES
Steampunk has splintered
into multiple Sub-genres itself
• High Vic
• Low Vic
• Airship
• Dieselpunk
• Far East
• Clockpun...
Steampunk
Genre
Family Tree
Cyberpunk
Postcyberpunk Cyberprep Retrofuturistic
Steampunk
Teslapunk
Dieselpunk
Decopunk
Atom...
Steampunk Genre Family Tree
Postcyberpunk
• “Cyberpunk 2.0”
• New authors, grew up with
cyberpunk, take it to the
next gen...
Steampunk Genre Family Tree
RetroFuturistic
• Depictions of current or
future times based on what
previous times had
proje...
Steampunk Genre Family Tree
Futuristic
• Variations of Steampunk
set in future environments
rather than retro-future
envir...
Steampunk Genre Family Tree
Other
• Not really classifiable
• Stonepunk
• Clockpunk
• Splatterpunk
• Elfpunk
• Mythpunk
• ...
NEW GROWTH
Whimsical Directions… NerfPunk
New Directions… DreadPunk
The 3 Laws of Dreadpunk
• Dreadpunk is based in horror or dark fantasy, with a particular emphas...
Dreadpunk in Literature
Dreadpunk in Other Media
IN CLOSING…
Core Differentiators
From Adam
Heine’s Blog.
Data from
Wikipedia,
retrieved July
7, 2012.
• Canon
• There is no canon for ...
Steampunk
From Adam
Heine’s Blog.
Data from
Wikipedia,
retrieved July
7, 2012.
• Since its start in 1987
• Expanded in peo...
Offering London to Singapore
Luxury travel!
Questions?
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Steampunk: Roots and Branches

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A history and future of Steampunk with emphasis on the literary origins.
Presented at the Dallas Public Library Humanities Steampunk Series #1

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Steampunk: Roots and Branches

  1. 1. Steampunk: Roots & Branches Dallas Public Library Humanities Steampunk Series Stephen D. Poe 26 September 2015
  2. 2. • The history and interpretation of Steampunk varies. • There are as many definitions as there are Steampunkers. • This is my interpretation. • YMMV.
  3. 3. ROOTS
  4. 4. First, there was Science Fiction/Fantasy • And, from there in the early 80s, evolved Cyberpunk. • Dystopian SF; a genre noir. Highly focused on cybernetic futures, high tech and failing societies.
  5. 5. The Cyberpunk genre expanded Writers created cyberpunk-type worlds but without cybernetics; some were set in Victorian England and copied conventions of Victorian Literature.
  6. 6. And suddenly a new genre is born… Dear Locus, Personally, I think Victorian fantasies are going to be the next big thing, as long as we can come up with a fitting collective term for Powers, Blaylock and myself. Something based on the appropriate technology of the era; like 'steam-punks', perhaps. —K.W. Jeter Published April, 1987
  7. 7. Older works were retro-actively fitted into the new genre
  8. 8. But it’s not just literary – It’s expanded far past that
  9. 9. Steampunk Literary Novels Short Stories Comics Graphic Novels Multimedia Movies Anime Games Immersion Music Cons Cosplay DIY and Maker Performance Art
  10. 10. Music • Abney Park • Charles von Vitic • The Clockwork Dolls • The Clockwork Quartet • The Cog is Dead • Corset • Darcy James Argue's Secret Society • Doctor Steel • The Extraordinary Contraptions • H U M A N W I N E • Insomniac Folklore • Jon Magnificent • Jill Tracy • Les Claypool • Marquis of Vaudeville • The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing • Poplock Holmes • Professor Elemental • Psyche Corporation • Rasputina • Steam Powered Giraffe • Sunday Driver • Thomas Truax • Unextraordinary Gentlemen • Unwoman • Vernian Process • Veronique Chevalier • Voltaire
  11. 11. Performance Art • Rocky Horror • Steampunk • Airship Isabella • Carnival Epsilon • League of STEAM • Penny Dreadful Productions
  12. 12. Even its own Reality TV Show • Steampunk’D Its own Reality TV Show!
  13. 13. Crafts & DIY • DIY and Maker • Aside from cosplay, most other subcultures do not have such a strong emphasis on DIY • Steampunk has a very strong culture of sharing • Next Saturday – here (3rd floor) • Steampunk DYI make • SteamUp Your Wardrobe! • facebook.com/events/14968136806418 50/
  14. 14. BRANCHES
  15. 15. Steampunk has splintered into multiple Sub-genres itself • High Vic • Low Vic • Airship • Dieselpunk • Far East • Clockpunk/Watchpunk • Wild West (cattlepunk)…
  16. 16. Steampunk Genre Family Tree Cyberpunk Postcyberpunk Cyberprep Retrofuturistic Steampunk Teslapunk Dieselpunk Decopunk Atompunk Futuristic Biopunk Nanopunk Other Stonepunk Clockpunk Splatterpunk Elfpunk Mythpunk
  17. 17. Steampunk Genre Family Tree Postcyberpunk • “Cyberpunk 2.0” • New authors, grew up with cyberpunk, take it to the next generation. Typically not dystopian. • Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Cyberprep • Writing with a utopian vision instead of a dystopian vision.
  18. 18. Steampunk Genre Family Tree RetroFuturistic • Depictions of current or future times based on what previous times had projected. • Steampunk • Neo-Victorianism • Teslapunk • Dieselpunk • Decopunk • Atompunk
  19. 19. Steampunk Genre Family Tree Futuristic • Variations of Steampunk set in future environments rather than retro-future environments • Biopunk • Nanopunk
  20. 20. Steampunk Genre Family Tree Other • Not really classifiable • Stonepunk • Clockpunk • Splatterpunk • Elfpunk • Mythpunk • WizardPunk • NerfPunk • RococoPunk • DreadPunk
  21. 21. NEW GROWTH
  22. 22. Whimsical Directions… NerfPunk
  23. 23. New Directions… DreadPunk The 3 Laws of Dreadpunk • Dreadpunk is based in horror or dark fantasy, with a particular emphasis the word "dread": horror by implication or unseen. • Dreadpunk is set within or informed by pre- or early-20th century horror— definitely no later than Lovecraft, with Victorian London serving as the default touchstone for the Dreadpunk aesthetic. • Dreadpunk is self-aware and subversive, while still emphasizing classic horror traditions.
  24. 24. Dreadpunk in Literature
  25. 25. Dreadpunk in Other Media
  26. 26. IN CLOSING…
  27. 27. Core Differentiators From Adam Heine’s Blog. Data from Wikipedia, retrieved July 7, 2012. • Canon • There is no canon for Steampunk • “There are no rules” • Across media • Not just a book, or a movie, or a game • Cross-pollination • Everyone borrows off of everyone else • And that’s OK
  28. 28. Steampunk From Adam Heine’s Blog. Data from Wikipedia, retrieved July 7, 2012. • Since its start in 1987 • Expanded in people, media, popularity • Split into many subgeneres • Gone from a splinter into a subculture and now going mainstream • “No Rules” • Allows it to grow, morph, expand
  29. 29. Offering London to Singapore Luxury travel!
  30. 30. Questions?

×