Creative fun in
the palm of your hand.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2092466-The-Steampunk-Bible-Review
Rated: ASR · Assignment · Steampunk · #2092466
Review of The Steampunk Bible by Jeff VanderMeer
The Steampunk Bible by Jeff VanderMeer

         This is a non-fiction book all about the movement of Steampunk. It incorporates all aspects of the culture, from literature to makers and artists to fashion to movies, etc. This book is separated into sections and I'm going to go through each to give a highlight of the book.

It's a Clockwork Universe, Victoria
         This section is an introduction to Steampunk and the reaching of critical mass of the movement. The definition that is highlighted for Steampunk is as follows:

STEAMPUNK = Mad Scientist Inventor [invention (steam x airship or metal man/baroque stylings)x(pseudo) Victorian setting] + progressive or reactionary politics x adventure plot.

The reaching of critical mass for Steampunk has only happened in the last fifteen years, though it has it's roots long before that.

An Imaginary Voyage to the Past
         In this section, we are introduced to the Steampunk origins of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and the Industrial Revolution. Jules Verne and H.G. Wells are considered the fathers of Steampunk, with both using a style known as contes philosoques, which meant that they wrote more philosophical stories that were based in two themes, the imaginary voyage and the dream story. Both these became very important to Steampunk literature with the latter evolving into a sort of imaginary/alternative world story. Verne wrote more along the lines of stories with sane inventions, but insane inventors, whereas Wells wrote stories with more of a probable man but improbable inventions.

Clanking Metal Men, Baroque Airships, and Clockwork Worlds
         Here to, is illustrated the evolution of steampunk from the early founders Powers, Jeter, and Blaylock who coined the term 'Steampunk' as the type of genre they were writing in. The book continues to mention the evolution of Steampunk in great detail, bringing up great works like Moorcock's Nomads of the Air trilogy to the Difference Engine{i/} writing by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling to other works written in following years. Here there is described a first wave, second wave and third wave of literature that rocked the shelves and made Steampunk the diverse and ecclectic genre it is today.

From Forevertron to the RayGun Rocketship and Beyond
         This section focuses on the creators of Steampunk, from the engineers to the artists. More often called makers, the engineers who create vast works such as Forevertron Park, Church Tank, and RayGun Rocketship are considered makers and work in tandem to create functioning pieces that have a practicality to them. Jake von Slatt, the creator of the Steampunk Workshop, aims to give ideas to people to create their own Steampunk artifacts. Those who identify themselves as Steampunk artists are more likely to create works that fuse the organic and the mechanical. Libby, the creator of many Steampunk robot-like insects, feels that this is a common gestalt. The Machines of the Isle of Nantes{i/}, in Nantes, France, is a great example of this fusion. Also the "Sultan's Elephant" is another work created in this vein. Finally, these same impulses were shown at the Oxford Steampunk exhibition 2009/10.

Hairstyles, Goggles, Corsets, Clockwork Guitars, and Imaginary Airships
         The fashion, music, and imaginary airships of are also very diverse in their displays of Steampunk. Fashion has four major personas (not necessarily limited to this however) which include the Street Urchin, the Tinker, the Explorer, and the Aesthete. Jewelry is also a big part of Steampunk, in fact the more the better, and Emily Ladybird is considered one of the most popular designers in this venue. Other accessories include headgear, goggles, fingerless gloves, tools/weapons, pocket watches, socks/stockings, boots/shoes and spats. Steampunk is also alive with music, the most iconic being Abney Park. The book lists several others as well. Events and imaginary meeting places are also covered in this section.

Magic Lanterns, Robot Armies, Giant Tuning Forks, and Perambulating Castles
         Movies and television are also part of Steampunk. Luputa, Howl's Moving Castle{i/} and Casshern{i/} are three of the Japanese films that are created around Steampunk. Hollywood has had very little success in creating a blockbuster Steampunk movie, though their attempts are obvious with movies such as Wild, Wild West, The Golden Compass{i/}, and Sherlock Holmes{i/}. The City of the Lost Children{i/} and The Lost Airship{i/} are two cinematic successes in the Steampunk world of offshoots. There are independent films, short plays, or webisodes that have been brought into our era. Television has also attempted to get in on the Steampunk movement but their only real success was a tv series called the Wild, Wild West{i/} that the movie was based off of.

The Future of Steampunk
         So where does that leave the future of Steampunk? Hopefully in the hands of thousands and millions of fascinated people who are willing to stretch the boundaries of Steampunk and bring in new awarenesses and cultures. Without an evolving, encompassing change, the world of Steampunk may already be dead.

© Copyright 2016 Piratess Dawniebelle (silverathame at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2092466-The-Steampunk-Bible-Review