·· Ratings. Steampunk, the retro-futuristic cultural movement, has become a substantial and permanent genre in the worlds of fantasy and science fiction. The Steampunk Bible - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read book online. The Steampunk Bible is the first compendium about the movement, tracing its roots in the works of Jules Download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd.
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Download PDF Steampunk Bible: An Illustrated Guide to the World of Imaginary Airships, Corsets and Goggles, Mad Scientists, and Strange Literature | PDF. Title: The steampunk bible. Page number ISSUU Downloader is a free to use tool for downloading any book or publication on ISSUU. By using this tool you. Author: Jeff VanderMeer Pages: Publication Date Release Date: ISBN: Product Group:Book Download PDF The.
Valente Are YOll concerned about the amollnt of. Iteam ill YOllr Steampul1k? J Catherynne M. Here, VaLente di. There comes a time in the life of every young novelist when she starts to think zeppelins are reaLLy cool. Parents, talk to your children about Steampunk. It's everywhere these days, isn't it? Anime, Doctor Who, novel after novel involving clockwork and airships. Young women going about in bUdtLeJ, for heaven's sake!
But it's just as easy for the kids these days to get impure Steampunk, cut with lesser punk materials. Let me say it now and for all time, for the protection of your little ones: You can't have Steampunk without steam. Most of the product on the street these days would more adequate- ly be termed Clockpunk or Gearpunk-though the golden age of clocks was about a century too early to bear the ubiquitous Victorian sticker with which we plaster everything from the Enlightenment era to Belle Epoque.
If there's a corset and a repressed manservant, by God, it's Victorian. Steam power itself seems rather inconvenient, bludgeoned out of the way by cor- pulent balloons and quasi-Dickensian dialogue. It is my understanding, poor, unhip child that T am, that Steampunk correlates precisely with Cyberpunk, substance of choice of the last gen- eration: Yet in almost every- thing I've ever seen called Steampunk besides the powerfully adequate Steamboy film , there is no actual steam power to speak of, and precious little anxiety.
Because we, in our current, painfully neo-Victorian culture, think all that old-fashioned stuff is. Tell them of a world which was changing so very fast, devouring itself in an at- tempt to lay just one more mile of railroad track. Again, I retUI-n to deriolldlZe.
JJ as a necessary addition to fantasy: If you want Victoria in your coat pocket, if you want the world that comes with her, all that possibility, all that ter- rible, arrogant, gorgeous technolo- gy, take it aL4 make it true, be honest and ruthless with it, or you' re just gluing gears to your fingers and running around telling everyone you're a choo-choo train.
Get punk or go home - and think. If you're going to go prowling for top-hatted villains at night, seek out the pure stuff, the real. No one wants to get screwed with a bag full of Drano and flaccid research. But gears are so pretty.
So eaJy. Why, you hardly need to know any science at all! Just stick a gear on it and it's golden! Come on, Mom, just one clockwork automaton, please? Don 't be such a hardass. And you can have them. They can talk like C-3PO and everyone can eat gearcakes with brass icing for tea, and it can be a beautiful thing, but you mustn't call it Steampunk.
Valente right and S. Indeed, his intelligent bears, with their baroque armor, seem more Steampunk than anything floating in the air. However, the true renaissance of the subgenre wouldn't occur until the late s, sparked by a surge of participation within a community that was by then more than a decade old. This redefinition saw "Steampunk" used as a toolbox or aesthetic rather than as a term to describe a movement. Three of the most commercially and critically successful Steampunk authors of the modern era-Cherie Priest, Gail Carriger, and Ekaterina Sedia - have brought their own twists to the su bgenre.
For Priest, this means a revised American approach, featuring zombies and an emphasis on motherhood in the Hugo Award-nominee BOlle. For Carriger, the mix includes supernatural creatures and P. Wodehouse-style antics in her deceptively light but liberated Parasol Protectorate series. I'm generally not impressed with anyone who writes as if the last century of literature and thought didn't hap- pen. I do very much enjoy Blaylock and Powers, the latter being more of a direct influence, what with secret societies and alternative histories.
After all, what would calculus be like if we had computers in the eigh- teenth or nineteenth century? They would be able to solve complex math problems the stupid way and much of calculus would never exist. To Annalee Newitz, one of the editors of i09, a pop-culture website that frequently covers Steam punk, Sedia's approach is unique because "most Steampunk fetishizes the 'wind-up girL' a gilded feminine creature.
But Sedia shows us that the life of a windup girl is utter hell: Is it commer- cial? Yes, but Steampunk has always been com- mercialized - that's the story of all punk, really, going back to Malcolm McLaren marketing the Sex Pistols as a brand.
Steampunk "really gelled" for Priest sometime in the mid- to late s. I caught it and ran with it. I proudly donned my Victorian silk blouses and Little tweed jodhpurs. I didn't know there was Steampunk to read, I only thought there was Steam punk to!
Thel'e are few authors in the field who are all flash and no substance. Priest's editor, Liz Gorinsky, has been responsible for publishing many contemporary Steampunk novels, also editing George Mann and Lev Rosen.
Gorinsky, like many others, sees Steampunk as much more than a form ofliterature. I got excited by the extent to which the! Cfankerd fMe mecDanl Ferdinand and a Scotfl'. Jh girL ",ith dream.! What is your personal definition of Steampunk?
It's partly a set of nostalgias-for handmade and human-scale tech- nologies, baroque design, and elegant dress and manners-combined with the puerile pleasure of mussing up a very stuffY stage in history, bringing a Aamethrower to a tea party, so to speak. And this Aamethrower extends to the political and social as well as technological, because Steampunk cre- ates a new set of Victorian stories that expand the role of the colonized and otherwise subjugated in that era girl geniuses, for example.
How long have you been interested in Steampunk? I'd always been a sucker for alternative his- tories, but there was a more exciting energy here.
Rather than the careful extrapolation from one shift in history, Sterling and Gibson were throwing everything at the wall, rewriting history in order to it with their own modern tech fetishes and fascinations. But probably as important as any literary inAuence was Disney's take on 20, Lea.
It's a kids' movie adapted from an novel about a nuclear submarine made in , the middle of the Cold War.
The whole effort creates a weird collision of beauty and menace a nuclear sub with a pipe organ , as well as a collision of technologies both on and off the screen.
Plus 1 went on the ride at Disney World when I was ten, and it was awesome. What differences do you see between now and when you started? Steampunk was still largely a literary subgenre when I I1rst became aware of it. But it has been continually widening into new creative spaces- jewelry, clothes, music -always becoming more physically and socially real. That's the most interesting thing about it to me, that you have a physical and social culture arising so quickly from a literary genre.
One rarely wears a costume saying, ''I'm some kind of spaceman" or ''I'm a ge- neric manga character," but lots of people happily dress as a Victorian cy- borg or sky pirate without reference to any specific work. What Steampunk works influenced the writing of Leviathan? In a strange way, the biggest influence on the text was Keith's illus- trations in the book itself.
Because there are fifty of them per book, we didn't follow the usual strategy of finishing the text and then produc- ing illustrations. He was working alongside me, only a few chapters behind or ahead at one point! It was a positive feed- back loop, in that characters, beas- ties, and objects that Looked cool got more screen time, and thus were expanded upon by still more art.
How do you think the Young Adult strain of Steampunk differs from its adult counterpart? What makes it endearing to young readers? Do you see it as part of the future of Steampunk? Probably the differences be- tween YA and adult Steampunk are the same differences that exist in any genre: But Steampunk does have unique charms to some YA readers. Teens are native users of the mass- produced blobjects - iPods, cell phones, etc. So their adoption of a handmade aesthetic is less nostalgic and perhaps more revolutionary.
My fan mail suggests that the whole flamethrower-at-a- tea-party aspect of Steampunk is part of the appeal too. Adults may have a half-remembered notion that Victorians were stuffY, but teens are stuck in actual history classes that are genuinely boring to many of them.
So per- haps it's not surprising that radical rewrites of that history amuse and excite teens in a more visceral way. For me, the real draw of Steampunk is the way in which it plays with history, creating a fantasy landscape out of the past. There's freedom in that-the sort of pure freedom that only this type of fiction can offer.
Science fi ction, in its purest sense, is a forward-looking genre that relies on scientific accuracy, theory, and logic. Steampunk, on the other hand, leaves much more room for madcap fantasy, strangeness, and escapism.
But I think that's bunk. Steampunk's appeal is the excuse it gives adults to have fun reading the sort of adventure previously found only in Young Adult books. The other thing is that Steampunk books are delightfully meta-they're escapist fiction that pastiches a previous century's escapist Ilction.
And aLI hail escapism! We need it to survive, as long as publishers and promoters are making thoughtful, critical writing available, too.
That question underscores the fact that "Steampunk" com- ics are often much less informed by a sense of the related subgenre or sub- culture. The comics artists identified with Steampunk by and large find certain kinds of technology-based images interesting, or have fond memo- ries of reading Verne and Wells and pulp comics of a certain era.
Historical comics from Victorian times, and from the hey day of airships in the early s in the United States, could be considered a kind of proto-Steampunk, or just an accurate reflection of the era. However, there I;' a useful starting point for the modern era of Steampunk comics: Bryan Talbot's Luther Arkwright series, published in the late s. The crucial linkage comes from Talbot's source of inspira- tion -Michael Moorcock, author of the Nomads of the Air series and cre- ator of the anarchistic protagonist JerI ' Cornelius.
The Legacy of Luther Arkwright, a limited edition comic Dark Horse, political inequities, often, at least originally, in the context of s England. Eventually, the character also appeared in Moorcock's subversive swords-and-sorcery epics, a hint that Cornelius might be a contem- porary avatar of the famous Elric, the Eternal Champion. Talbot had read in the influen- tial avant-garde SF magazine Nell' Ll70ridJ that Moorcock had "designed Jerry Cornelius to be a sort of tem- plate [that] any writer was free to use," and promptly inserted the char- acter into an eight-page adventure entitled "The Papist Affair.
Talbot describes it as "a tongue-in-cheek romp set in a par- allel England rent by religious wars and with such unutterable silliness as machine-gun-toting, cigar-smok- ing nuns clad in black stockings and garter belts, the sacred relics of Saint Adolf of Nuremberg, and a kung fu fight with an evil archbishop. The story itself was a vague metaphor for the second law of thermodynamics.
Not every Steampunkish comic has shared that distinct tie to the fic- tion, but from mecha-gorillas to rayguns, Girl Geniuses to a clockwork Versailles, the works since have featured plenty of adventure and eye can- dy. Here are a few examples. After the death of their father, Emily and Navin move with their mother to an ancestral house that has a door to another world.
When their mother disappears down a tunnel, the children must try to find her. They encounter all manner of peculiar creatures, from elves and robots to giant mushrooms used as parachutes and stampeding herds of huge tick- like critters.
Steampunk fans will especially en- joy the flying ship and the house that can walk. If so, the influence is subsumed enough that the Amulet series doesn't feel like pastiche. Sydney Padua's Lovelace and 8abbage Originating as a Web comic in , this strip takes an irreverent look at the lives and work of Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace.
I think I was vaguely aware that there was a science fiction idea of some kind about alternative history, so 1 used that as what you might call the punch une. From there, it started to take over my brain. I love that so much of the stuff we take for granted is the product of 'well it seemed like a good idea at the time. I'd call myself more of a steam-ironist than full-fledged Steampunk. I set Grordbort's world in the s, or that general period, but I've taken cues from s and s pulp covers, as well as much earlier fi ction like Jules Verne and H.
The naivety of it is an aspect I revel in and attracted me in the first place. But what I always come back to are art, drawing, paint- ing. It's what 1 love to do. The actual crafting of my designs is done by various amazing Weta Workshop sculptors and model makers, like David Tremont, who has built the majority of my rayguns, and Jamie Beswarick, who has sculpted some of the cr eature collectibles.
Through the varying shades of dark- ness, color reaches the viewer as if from the bottom of a well. I love guys who take themselves very seriously-even if they are a head in a jar riding around in the chest cavity of a robot of themselves. It was the Disney movie that made a huge impression, especially the design of the submarine-that's almost certainly where my love of Steam punk machinery comes from.
Hellboy winds up fighting resurrected Nazi scientists and any number of biomechanical creatures. A side project, The Amazlizg Screw-On Head, takes place during the s, as the hero secretly helps Abraham Lincoln foil various and sundry supernatural plots. At least it's something I've never tried to do in real life. That would be bad. Phil Foglio says that rather than Steampunk, "we were trying more for the Aavor of the old-time stuff that inAuenced Steampunk, such as H.
Rider Haggard and Jules Verne. That's why Kaja coined the term 'gaslamp fantasy. It was like 'Oh, this is evel-y- thing 'love! The series posits a war between rival scientists with "supernor- mal powers" during the Industrial Revolution. The Girl Genius of the title is Agatha Heterodyne, a stu- dent at Transylvania Polygnostic University who gradually becomes aware of her own unique powel's. The Foglios have eagerly em- braced the Steampunk subculture and usualJy have a table at conven- tions.
Molly Crabapple's Puppet Makers Molly Crabapple takes an unconventional approach to art, which has brought her a wide spectrum of work, from creating covers for underground magazines to illustrating for the New York Time. Her most recent comic is Puppet Maker. A collaboration with John Leavitt, the comic even includes a soundtrack. Puppet Makel;! In an interview with Annalee Newitz for io9.
I realized between the wigs, corsets, and protocol, court life would have been better performed by robots than human beings. As she told io9. It's art that requires so much inten- sity of skill and effort as to be kind of unethical.
Once you see that gold and eggshell, nymph-covered child's garde n carriage-and think of all the skill, the man-hours squa ndered on a toy -you understand why the French revolution happened. I also admit there's a certain jewelling-the-tortoise aspect to drawing all those little roses on gears.
Jeky ll , and many others in a fantastic comics mash-up of Verne, Wells, and the writers of penny dreadfuls. How faithful is Moore to the source material? But because of the serious material, I'd call it an intermittent send-up. Century Clnllk,il. Nevins cred- its the League with garnering Moore and O'Neill major attention outside of the comics world and helping to further popularize the idea of modern Steampunk.
Bryan Talbot's Grandville Coming full clockwork circle, Talbot's Grand"iLfe is explicitly labeled "Steampunk" and features a cast of anthropomorphic characters. The inspiration was the work of early nineteenth-century illustrator Jean Ignace Isadore Gerard, who drew animals dressed in contemporary cos- tumes. The protagonist, Detective Inspector LeBrock of Scotland Yard, and the plot came to me very quickly over the next few days, and 1 wrote the script in less than a week.
Nineteenth- century military costumes were hot fashion, the Beatles famously wear- ing psychedelic versions on the Sergeant Pepperd cover. So, to me, Victoriana has always been cool.
Steam trains, with their extremely loud noises, pistons, and blasts of steam, are way more exciting than their modern equivalents. Steampunk is mutating into many different ap- proaches and forms. In a sense, you could say that to save Steampunk, authors have had to deconstruct and recontextualize it. Jay Lake's Mainspring series, for example-1I1ainJprill. Against this backdrop, c1ockmaker's apprentice Hethor Jacques embarks on a perilous journey to find the lost key that will rewind the mainspring.
The world is cut in half by a rather impressive Equatorial Wall, which has a huge impact on cultures and societies. Though Lake has employed the entire Steampunk toolbox, from Chinese submarines to metal men to incredible dirigibles, the novels are most notable for popularizing the term "Clock punk.
So for me it's a kind of playground of the mind. Lowachee's novel documents an enervating test of wills between a captain in the Ciracusan army and Sjennonirk, an Aniw spirit-walker. The Victorian-era technology creates a clear parallel to the real world, and the author deftly portrays the alliances between the invaders and the na- tive people, along with the armed revolt.
There's nothing escapist about The GaJlight Dog,' , and in taking on the viewpoint of the conquered, it speaks to Ekaterina Sedia's concern that "There's always the fantasy of the golden past - people who pine for the s but forget McCarthyism or who love the Victorian past when people were refined and polite but forget the actual industrial nightmare and the Opium Wars.
More evolution and adaptation. She hopes the future holds more "freedom of movement within whatever definitions people have of it and the ability to incorporate new ideas.
Palmer imagines an alternate twentieth-century America filled with machines, including steam-powered contraptions, mechanized orchestras, and omnipresent ro- bot servants. Machines are the workers, while humans are the consumers.
Against this backdrop, the "failed writer" Harold Winslow narrates the story of his life while imprisoned on an airship powered by a perpetual motion machine. With him are the cryogenically frozen corpse of the once- powerful inventor Prospero Taligent, and the mysterious, disembodied voice of Prospero's adopted daughter, Miranda, haunting Winslow over the intercom.
A Nineteenth-Cenllll: It's repro- ductions of a collection of French cigarette cards, illustrated by artist Jean Marc Cote in and depicting his whimsical idea of what life would be like a hundred years later. Some of his predic- tions are dead-on: But some are hilariously inaccurate, like an illustration of a family warming itself at a fireplace that has This led to such fictional innovations as a retro-Futurist reimagining of turn-of-the-century Coney Island and a printing press run by me- chanical men.
An answering machine "is mostly built out of recording technology available at the turn of the century. Probably not, but Palmer, Lowachee, and several others are help- ing Steampunk avoid stagnation. I want 'Steam punk: The Sequel.
At its core, Steampunk has the potential to be a very equalizing movement, where creators are also fans and consumers. And it works for books as well as corsets. Her "Tesla," for example, is neither comic strip nor fiction, but rather what she calls "dense, intense little collages of things that never happened to people who never were in places that don't exist, but should have.
Perhaps they failed to see how testing jetpacks in the university quad during lightning strikes was apt to further their academic careers much past the morgue. I love the tech but it's best when it's incidental and not the point. Are they surprised by the resurgence?
Now I'm getting fan mail for my current Steampunk projects and there are Steampunk conventions galore, and I'm enthusiastic about writing it again.
As is true with everything else, we'd best enjoy it while it's still fresh and new. Funny that it took twenty-five y ears becoming fresh and new. There we were, drinking our beer, and under- lining Mayhew and writing these screwy nineteenth-century London things, and now probably people who wel-en't even born then are reading them. Not only does Jeter say he doesn 't fol- low the current Steampunk movement; he denies that he, Blaylock, and Powers ever hung out in a bar called O'Hara's in Orange, California.
It reinvents the past, even changing a perfectly good ori- gins story into something better. Standing in its foot-v. Created by Tom Every, who goes by the moniker HDr.
Evermor," Forevertron partakes of Steampunk's core precepts such as the do-it-yourself movement, the salvaging and repurposing of existing ma- chinery, and that element of Ufalling in love again" with obsolete technology, which is so often cited by contem- porary Steampunk creators as the main reason they now self-identify as Steampunks rather than as tinkers, mak- ers, artists, or craftspeople. This applies even to as- pects of making that produce decorative machines or overlays on existing technology rather than functional machines.
Every's story makes him a kind of godfather to the current explosion of Steampunk installations and arts and crafts. He blurs the line between "artist" and "maker" by using the formerly functional for both decorative and architectural purposes. A retired engineer with a background in industrial reclamation, Every has had a lifelong interest in preserving historic machinery. In part, Dr. Evermor started work on Forevertron in because, as he recalled for a Wired.
So I started saving things, and in about twenty years T had saved thousands of tons of stuff. Thousands of tons of metal from the past century have given Forevertron a unique subtext: In addition to delighting vlsitors, it contains a true secret history of discarded parts. As also reported by Wired. Evermor that also pro- vides functionality for his art through storytelling.
When he was a child, Dr. Evermor witnessed a massive electrical storm with his father, a Presbyterian minister. Asked whe"e lightning came from, his father told Evermor that such awesome power could only come from God.
From that day on, Evermor dedicated his life to constructing an antigravity machine and spacecraft that wOlJd cata- pult him from the phoniness of this world to the ultimate truth and power of the next. Evermor believes that if he can ever figure out a way to combine magnetic force and electrical energy, he can propel himself through the heavens on a magnetic lightning force beam.
That glass ball inside the copper egg is his spaceship. There's also an antigravity machine made from an early X-ray machine, a teahouse for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to observe the event, a telescope for by- standers to watch as Evermor flies off to his meeting with God, and a listening machine that will tl'ansmit Evermor's mes age back to Earth when he arrives at his ultimate destination.
Steampunk creators are often hard to pin down, despite their passion for a shared aesthetic. Some self-identifY as artists and adhere to the general pro- tocols and terminology of that community. Others self-identifY as makers, which puts them in an entirely different realm along with tinkers, machin- ists, carpenters, and the like. What's the main difference? Steampunk makers typically restore ob- solete devices and modifY modern technology.
Steampunk artists create installations, sculptures, and other objects inspired by the Steampunk aes- thetic. However, the border between these two types of creators can be po- rous, even if someone self-identifies as a maker or as an artist.
Steampunk makers sometimes create art pieces or metal sculptures that have only im- plied functionality, while Steampunk artists may cross over into making decorative pieces that also serve a practical function. There's never any guarantee that there won't be glorious contamination and influence from either side. And what about fashion? Is that art or making or something entirely different?
The fashion world is so vast that it needs its own chapter, but cross-pollination occurs between all parts of the Steampunk subculture, of- ten to wonderful effect. Evermor's elab- orate tale echo the cross-pollination of art and narrative common in the Steampunk subculture; his rejection of "the sterile, rigid objects that mod- ern designers and engineers are creat- ing" also points to the interesting rela- tionship between Steam punk art and making and fallout from the Industrial Revolution.
More recent examples such as Kris Kuksi's "Church Tank" have the ap- pearance of functionality while serv- ing as sculpture, just like Forevertron Park-except with an overt socio-po- litical message that seems wedded more directly to bleeding-edge Steampunk concerns. Kuksi 's purpose in creat- ing such objects is to tackle the world head-on rather than blend with it or transform it in a whimsical way.
The very difference, if any, be- tween "maker" and "artist" is probably less a quirk of the subculture than a natural progression from its Arts and Crafts roots. According to the guild's founder, Walter Crane, these efforts were meant to emphasize that craft is the true root of art. Just as many Steampunks claim that the subculture arose in part from dissatisfaction with modern, seamless, antiseptic technology, so too the Arts and Crafts movement occurred as a reaction against the inroads of indus- trialization.
The terrible effects on health and the environment aside, the Industrial Age allowed manufacturers to streamline design in the service of increased productivi ty. Although this streamlining is the basis for today 's flow of cheap products to consumers, it came -and still comes -at a price of worker exploitation and cruder products that lack individuality. A major criti c of industrialization, art writer John Ruskin , felt that this trend would threaten creative and intellectual freedom.
In his famous essay "The Nature of Gothic, " Ruskin wrote: You must either make a tool of the creature [worker], or a man of him. You cannot make both. Men were not intended to work with accuracy of tools, to be pre- cise and perfect in all their actions.
All the energy of their spirits must go to the accomplishment of the mean act. From this detailed but remote series of images, Ruskin then leaps for- ward to his own time period, urging the reader to "look round this English room of yours," decrying the kind of dead perfection to be found there as evidence of the slavery of workingmen.
Ruskin slyly asks the reader to re- examine the "old cathedral front, where you have smiled so often at the fan- tastic ignorance of the old sculptors: Examine once more those ugly goblins and formless monsters, and stern statues Steampunks seek to reject the conformity of the modern, soulless, featureless design of technology-and all that implies-while embracing the inventiveness and tech origins of Victorian machines.
They also seek to repair the damage caused by indus- trialization. This isn't simply an impulse to whitewash the classism, racism, and exploitation that partially informed the Victorian era-it is instead a progressive impulse to reclaim the dead past in a positive and affirmative way.
In both cases, creative renovations are meant to lead to innovation. Or, as ardent Steampunk supporter and Boing Boing cofounder Cory Doctorow says, Steampunk "exalts the machine and disparages the mecha- nization of human creativity. I think that there are a lot of people out there who are simply dis- satisfied with throwaway bottle-fed art and consumption artifacts that have been forced upon us by sheer repetition and rote consumption.
So, as an antidote, we look to a time when care, design, and artistry were applied to the everyday life in a more lasting way. We are ap- pealing to a different nondominant ideology. Modern design can be very cold and rectangular, so hidden as to be aesthetically unreachable, smooth, a zip less totalitarianism.
This, too, echoes Ruskin's call to arms, which led to the opening of crafts schools in England like Felix Summerly's Art Manufactures, where students were instructed to beautify household objects like shaving bows-per Every's own reminder that "in the past, engineers were artists.
They made beautiful, elaborate objects that had many purely decorative components. CaLe Steampunk-irlJpired creatio'lJ in recent year.!. The fir.! The decond, ihe Raygun Gothic Rocket.! The Tomorrow That Never Was. The term flOW de. L1ch tnOJJle.! OrLando dhare.! What did you want to be when you were a kid?
It may sound strange, but I always wanted to be an artist Do you remember when you first encountered the work of Jules Verne? It was there that I first encountered the Nalltifw from one of Jules Verne's most well-known books, 20, League.!
Unoer the Sea. How do you decide what projects to do, given that many are large-scale installations? Both the Tree House and Rocketship are experiments that were developed as a way for our friends to come together and create in a non- competitive and collaborative environment. Over sixty Bay Area artists, engineers, scientists, programmers, and educators contributed to creating both projects.
As far as the Rocketship goes, I woke up one morning, and it just came to me. I immediately texted my friend Nathaniel Taylor and asked him if he wanted to build a rockets hip with me.
He said "that's weird because I've just been dreaming about building a submarine We then brought in David Shulman to help lead the project and met with the rest of the crew to sell them on the idea. The entire crew was of course skeptical, but very enthusiastic at the prospect of building a rocketship. Is there a moment when the abstract idea reaches a point where it's so con- crete it just has to exist?
That moment is the very moment when the project is conceived. There is a second moment, though, more concrete than the first, when you discov- er a funding source for that idea and you receive your first check. There's no turning back then! Can you describe the process for beginning a project-from inspiration to the point when you actually start building?
Designs, sketches, website, email lists, assem- bling the crew, sourcing materials, promotions, logo, marketing, schwag to sell, fund-raising, engineering, timelines, budget, establishing a build space, meetings, meetings, meetings For both the Tree House and Rocketship, we spent three to four months working on logistics, engineering, and designs and only three to four months actually building and fabricating.
How do you balance the needs of your imagination against the limitations of reality? Your biggest projects have an element of inspired genius to them. Some people might talk themselves out of even attempting them. There are very few limitations that can't be overcome with the right amount of ingenuity and imagination. Both the Tree House and the Rocketship could not have been attempted without the support and in- volvement of one of the most talented and inventive communities of artists that I've ever had the honor to work with.
It also helps that there are a number of warehouse spaces in the Bay Area that can accommodate such large projects, which are run by people who support the kinds of art that we create. There have been hard lessons along the way involving the limita- tions of transportation, structural engineering, accessibility, availability of heavy equipment, etc. Describe what it's like to be in the thick of working on a project like the Rocketship or Tree House.
And what would you compare it to? Is it like fight- ing a war? Making a movie? I worked for many years as an event producer, so it feels to me a Jot like producing a large event.
It takes a lot of coordination and patience. You have to keep people motivated, on task, interested in what they're doing, and make them feel appreciated. Much of the work is volunteer-based and many people are discovering how to do things for the hrst time.
It's important to be a clear communicator and good listener. How do you deal with what may have begun as an individual vision becoming a communal property-not just in terms of putting together a crew, but the reaction of an audience to what you've done? We're creating more than a physical object to be put on display. We're creating a collaborative experience that only works if you take the "me" out of the equation. One of the most important things that you can do to ensure a successful group project is to try to keep ego out of it.
You may have had the idea, but when dealing with larger projects, that idea could never have been realized without the collective power of the group. Both of the large-scale projects that I've been involved with are more than I could have ever imagined because of the creative contributions and collective genius of everyone involved. Coming up with the next big thing. Jake von Slatt's Steampunk Workshop Unlike Every, whose creation is really sculpture with a machine backstory, Boston-based Jake von Slatt works to restore a retro-aesthetic to func- tional or neofunctional objects.
He works mostly from found objects and materials. At first, he used this approach to save money. But he soon found that when he tried working from new stock "the results were less than stel- lar. Projects like the personal computer modification required much more than just creat- ing a facade for an existing PC. Von Slatt took the entire computer apart to re-create its aesthetic.
Although von Slatt has only self-identified as a Steampunk for a few years, the process of "becoming" a Steampunk wasn't something new. Like many Steam punks, he says, "I have always been one. I just didn't know it by that particular name. It's friends, it's the people you surround yourself with, and the conversations you have. But not just the spoken ones, the ones you have sharing art, music, and culture. When 1 started posting onl ine it totally changed how J felt about it; it made it so much more important because of the people it connected me to.
Our modern lives tend to isolate us; there simply isn't enough time in the day to pursue things that we're passionate about. When some- thing like Steampunk breaks through that shell, it really is a gift. Evermor and von Slatt aren't the only ones to channel their inner Steampunk through a name-change. The maker Richard "Doc" Nagy goes by the name "Datamancer" and calls himself "a Steampunk contraptor, technical artist, and jackass-of-all-trades.
The backstory of his persona might best be summed up by the subtitle on his website: For Datamancer, Steampunk is a design aesthetic, the "perfect mar- riage of historical romanticism, elegant craftsmanship, antique style, and fetishized functionality. He came to Steampunk through electronics and computers because he found modern PC design "dull and utilitarian, " but he was also inspired by an antique-dealing aunt.
When I would visit as a child, I became fascinated with the way that each piece was a vignette of history and perfectly captured a moment in time. I'd like to bring to life. Still, there is a very subtle art to the way they framed things, steering the eye toward certain things and away from others.
Sometimes I think that we're all stuck in the future, waiting for the future. In the eighties, we fetishized the futill"e with computer synth music; boxy, stylized cars; and wild fashions.
In the nineties, we fetishized it again with grungy cyberpunk aesthetic, in the aughts1 everythjng looked like biomechanjcaJ space-eggs. Here we are in [a new decade], and I think we've run out of future. We're living in an amazing age where entire computers fit in your pocket, robots build Oill" consumer goods, we tweak and rewrite genetic codes, we put robots on other planets, weave clothing that deflects bullets, and do many other things that sound like they've been pulled out of a sci-fi novel.
It's no wonder that we look to the past to try and find analogues and metaphors to help us adjust. Their mission statement? According to Rukstela, the members of KSW prefer to call themselves "Steamdorks" as they consider the term "Steampunk" too limiting. Rukstela thinks of Steampunk as "theatrical.
General steam aficionados tend to focus on appreciation of old-fash- ioned trains, but KSW wanted to differentiate itself from the "old-timers. Rukstela is proud of having many people in the organization "who have had no previous steam experience and are now ready to participate in vintage steam shows. Rukstela says that "steam offers engineering elegance.
Incredibly organic. In paintings like that of a mecha- frog, there's even a hint of the pseudo-Victorian impulse to see how things worked through dissection. His delightful mecha-elephant and mecha- rhino, meanwhile, echo and reinforce the continued influence of Jules Verne in Steampunk creations.
Gvozdev has always been attracted by the aesthetics of technical drawing and images of animals, but in this series he wedded those elements to a fascinating story dating back to Once, I was told ahouta German mechanic who lived in Russiaat the beginning of the twentieth century. There he began inventing vergeltullgJwaffe, a German term for "vengeance weapons.
The three-dimensional avatars of Gvozdev's images were constructed with help from his friend Giuseppe and provide a different perspective on the art through their use of rougher textures. These sculptures have a more gritty, earthy feel, bringing the diagram-based material to life. Similarly, Boston resident M. The results are decorative but also suggest delicate, impractical machines.
In science fIction, insects are frequently featured as robotic critters, either scurrying across the galaxy as invading aliens or as robo-bug counterparts to a futuristic human race. Ironically and often, this technology closely resembles the musings of science fIction.
The work does not intend to function, but playfully and slyly insists that it possibly could. As noted on the website devoted to these cre- ations, "The designers let their imaginations roam.. Like doors to the world of dreams and magical journeys, they give this island a mysterious feel.
Accompanying the elephant, an ensemble cast of smaller crea- tures also helps to demonstrate the impulse toward humanizing technology through incorporating the organic.
Visitors are beguiled by the seeming lifelike qualities of the pachyderm, and yet its creators have been careful to show the gears, in a sense-the joints and the interior hydraulics. In addi- tion, Delaroziere and OrefIce have made available all of their sketches and blueprints, so that visitors can understand the process of building these amazing machines.
The "world of dreams and magical jour- neys" they evoke is a direct link to Verne. Such hybrids are also fascinating because they mimic the way people have increasingly come to function in an artihcial world that is informed by the natural world but not perceived to be as dependent on it as in prior generations.
There is an odd sense of hopefulness or perhaps even idealism in the idea of human technology and animals coexisting in such a harmoni- ous fashion-it echoes the primary Steampunk directive of repurposing the excesses of the Victorian era and, yes, replicating its triumphs.
Oxford's Steampunk Exhibition These same impulses were on display at perhaps the greatest evidence yet of the legitimacy of Steampunk art: The form of an object must be equally impressive as the function.
This illustrates the value of the object to the user. Others are amazing mash-ups of several different ideas, like the sculptures of Kris Kuksi, which com- bine various modes of transportation with urban architecture.
In keeping with the Steampunk impulse toward spontaneity, and per- haps in part to break out from his thirty years in commercial art and design, Donovan has no set routine for creating his art. I never fall in love with a concept because that is the kiss of death for creativity and flexibility.
All of my materials are simply raw brass, raw steel, mahogany lumber, and a myriad of lamp parts - thirty-two thousand at last count. The exhibition docents had never seen such a joyful response to any exhibit. There was laughter, shrieks, chatter, and a Lot of finger pointing. Evermor's repurposing of a cen- tury's worth of junk or Gvozdev's inspiration from the tale of a mad German mechanic, all of these creators are harnessing amazing imagination and skill with a vision of technology that isn't barren or sterile, but instead full of life and retro-innovation.
The do-it-yourself impulse behind Steampunk making and art means that still more idjosyncratic, insanely ambitious, and fun proj- ects are right around the corner. Rayglill Rnckd. In the past, merchants stocked sealed cans and boxes made from tin for many products. Variable shipping methods, and the indeterminate time that a product might remain on the shelf, meant that a durable container made a great deal of sense.
Today, we see the same concept in mint tins that can commonly be found at supermarkets and drugstores. These small tins are ideal for storing sewing supplies such as pins and needles, paper clips and pushpins on your desktop, or nuts, bolts, and other hardware in the workshop.
But this project is about more than just dec- orating the surface-it also shows how to etch into their very substance using saltwater and electricity. Make sure to have protective eyewear and rubber gloves on hand, read warnings and instructions before using chemicals, and work in a well-ventilated area. The finished tins are com- pletely safe to touch, but you should not store food or candy in them unless you line them with a food-safe material.
Do not let very young chil- dren play with them or put them in their mouths. Preparation Tins to be etched need to be free of paint or var- nish. Any of the chemical paint strippers available at your local hardware store will work, just follow the manufacturer's instructions.
You can also use a hot plate or plumber's torch to burn the paint and then scrub it off with a scouring pad. Be sure to do this outside and avoid older tins that may have lead in the paint. You can also simply sand the paint off with fine sandpaper or an abrasive pad. Creating the Image Your image or design must be black-and-white, not grayscale. For the ex- ample used here, I drew the outlines of a clock escapement in black pen and then scanned my drawing into the computer at a high resolution.
I then used a paint program to fiji in all of the areas that I wanted to be com- pletely solid. Once you're happy with your im- age, use your paint program to invert the colors and then flip it left for right so that the "mask" will print out in the orientation you desire.
Printing the Mask You'll need to find the right kind of paper to transfer the printer toner mask to the tin lid.
The flimsy coated newsprint used in Sunday circulars is ideal. However, this kind of paper is too delicate to be run through most laser printers. Insert your flimsy paper into the printer under this flap. Transferring the Mask to the Lid Clean the lid thoroughly with rubbing alcohol.
Repeat at least twice until you have removed all traces of dirt and oil. Set the printed mask face down on the tin and heat with your imn by placing it on top of the mask for a second or two use the iron's highest setting. Next, lift the iron and move it to cover the area you have yet to heat-again, without side- ways movement. This process "sets" the image, partially melting the toner from the laser printer onto the tin.
To complete the transfer, cover the whole lid with the imn and begin to slide the iron to one side. Follow behind the iron closely with a Popsicle stick, rubbing in a circular fashion so that you cover every millimeter of the top of the lid. Doing so will ensure that the toner is completely fused to the metal.
Repeat this pmcess on all areas of the tin for about two minutes. Once you have gone over the entire tin with the Popsicle stick several times, drop the tin into some warm water and wait about ten minutes for the paper to soften. Now, pick up the tin in both hands and rub it gently with your thumbs to remove the paper, leaving the toner adhered to the tin. As you remove the backing, rub progressively harder to remove bits of paper on fine and dense features of your image.
Don't be afraid to rub hard. If toner comes off, it was toner that would have come off anyway during the etching pro- cess. Once all of the backing paper is off, set the tin aside and prepare the etching equipment. The spots where the toner rubbed off can be repaired with small dabs of model paint prior to etching.
Gather Etching Supplies, Including Electricity For the next part of the process, you will need a three-quart plastic container, table salt, some solid copper wire or a coat hanger to fabricate supports, electrical tape, and duct tape to secure the tin lid while you etch.
Most important, you will also need a source of electricity. The most convenient source will be ABOVE After transferring the image onto the tin by iron, drop the tin in warm water Etching supplies Power supplies have three main characteristics: The higher the rating, the faster the etch, but avoid anything over 24 volts.
The supply used in this example will deliver 12 volts of di- rect current at 1 ampere, which is perfect for our needs. Once you've selected your power supply, cut the connector off of the end of the wire and strip the ends so you can connect them later.
In gen- eral, the positive wire will have a stripe or rib or some other marking, but don't worry if it doesn't.
As you'll see, there is an easy way to tell if you inadvertently reverse the connections. Preparing the Tin Bend the wire or coat hanger into a double hook. You will use these hooks to hang the tin lid over the edge of the container. The tin lid needs to be suspended below the surface of the water and parallel to the opposite side of the container. Use duct tape to secure the wire to the lid as shown. Do the same for your tin bottom, and hang it on the far side of the container.
Prepare the lid for etching by tightly wrap- ping vinyl electrical tape around the perimeter of the lid. Because of the stamping process used to make most lids, the metal at the corner of a lid is very thin.
The etching process can eat straight through these corners. Protecting the corners with tape solves this potential problem. Submerge the tin cover and base into the container and attach the power supply turned off!
Connect the positive lead to the lid and the negative lead to the base, and once these connections are made, plug the supply into the wall. If you have an ammeter a device to measure current , attach it and begin to stir in salt until your ammeter reads slightly less than t he rating of your power supply. If you don't have an ammeter, a good rule of thumb is to add 1;. Check the temperature of the power supply during the etching pro- cess. If it seems to be getting too hot, disconnect the power supply, dump out the saltwater, and start again, this time using a smaller amount of salt.
As soon as you apply the electricity to the solution, bubbles will start to rise from the base the negative side and the water will turn a rust-brown color. If the majority of bubbles are coming from the tin lid, you have the leads reversed! These bubbles are composed of hydrogen. Continually check your tin lid, turning off the power and removing it from the solution every few minutes to observe the progression of the etching by feeling it with your finger. The time needed to etch your tin is variable-initially up to twenty minutes but as little as five-and decreases with any increase in the solution's temperature.
You should expect to ruin the first couple of pieces until you get a feel for the process! Removing Toner A touch of paint stripper or solvent on a piece of steel wool will remove all of the toner from your etched pieces and leave them ready for the next step.
There are many ways to fmish your tins: One of my favorites is plating with a copper sulfate solution, and you can read about that and view more detailed step-by-step instructions for this project at http: It's the one element that uniquely identifies a Steampunk from any other kind of punk, the outward expression of an Inner narrative. The clothes gIve a human touch to Steampunk that counterbalances the emphasis on anti- quated technology and machines, opening up whole new avenues for participation.
As Steampunk mover-and-shaker and New York City resident Evelyn Kriete notes, the subculture's fashion origins can be traced back to a small group of artists in the late s, the key figure being Kit St! As Kriete notes, "Other people at the time had a similar interest in Victorian clothing, but Kit was the first person to identify his style as Steampunk," the term created by novelist K.
W Jeter in the s, "and the first to be immedi- ately and widely identified wearing that style. Perhaps more importantly, pictures of Kit and other Victorian a-loving artists demonstrated that Steampunk fashion was a viable style that could be worn regularly.
St01en's clothing was not just club-appropriate, but also could be worn in daily life. This idea of "wearable chic" is as central to Steampunk fashion as the idea of "beautiful functionality" is to Steampunk arts and crafts.
Steampunk fashion tends to combine a do-it-yourself punk aesthetic with an elegance that separates it from pure punk or Goth ap- proaches to Fashion. Of course, the punk element can have a greater or lesser influence on Steampunk fashion depending on whom you talk to in the community, and the simplicity of St01en's approach is perhaps lost on some.
SieamPunlc Maga. The lat- ter group seems more relaxed and less obsessed with period correctness or characterization. So many Steampunks I see are not ready to commit to rocking the aesthetic as their regular attire, claiming that it's too difficult, expensive, or socially inhibiting. In describing his inventions, he mingles scientific jargon and facts in his storytelling to make it seem authentic.
However, Wells was interested in creating suspension of disbelief, not highly detailed realism. While enthusiasts can try to replicate the internal and external mechanics of Nemo's NalitUllJ by closely reading the text, the explanations of the Time Machine and the Martians' Tripods, along with their chemical ray guns, are not described so specifically that they can be re-created in the real world.
The irony is that despite their de- tai l, Verne's creations probably wouldn't have worked as inventions, either. The interest he invoked was a practical one; he wrote and believed and told that this or that thing could be done, which was not at that time done.
He helped his reader to imagine it done and to realize what fun, excitement 0" mischief would ensue But these stories of mine They are aU fantasies; they do not aim to project a serious possibility; they aim indeed only at the same amount of conviction as one gets in a good gripping dream.
They have to hold the reader to the end by art and illusion and not by proof and argument, and the moment he closes the cover and reflects he wakes up to their impossibility. Indeed, Wells may have thought of his inventions as art, but schola. By revamping the tradi- tional science fiction narrative, Wells's inventions-which Stableford calls "facilitating devices" -made the dream story and future prediction more plausible.
Prediction was important to Wells, perhaps more than any other as- pect of science fiction. Despite his memorable machines, Wells was not interested in technological possibilities but in human beings' social and political potential. Comparing the Martians to nineteenth-century imperial powers, Wells is able to relate a parable-and astute modern creators like Ian Edginton and D'Israeli in the graphic nov- els The Creal Came and Scarlet Trace.
J have expanded upon these themes in their own work. The Time l11achine, by way of contrast, is a vehicle for class commentary that fits well with the spirit of the age.
For example, outside the realm of speculative fiction, American writers such as Theodore Dreise. As biographer W. Warren Wagar states in H. WeLu: TraverdilZg Time: Now for anyone with the slightest knowledge of what was happen- ing in Europe and America in the late nineteenth century, the theme of Wells's tale is transparent.
The Time Machine is a parable of class war- fare. Biology disclosed the possibility of devolution, but knowledge of the "Social Question," the intensifying conflict between capital and la- bor, suggested along what lines the devolution was most likely to occur. Social awareness is pivotal to the best practitioners of Steampunk, which has always been conscious of the nineteenth centu- ry's less inspiring moments.
While that era featured great strides in aesthetics and technology, po- litically it was tainted by colonial- ism, imperialism, and racism - the hrst two issues, in particular, at t he forefront of Wells's scrutiny.
While Wells had his own share of Victorian narrow-mindedness when it came to race and conquest, his most influential novels grapple with the issues of sustainability a nd social justice. His particular gift was to use science fi ction ele- ments to combine an entertaining tory with serious exploration of important issues.