1. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Steampunk

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by psychotick, May 2, 2012.

    Hi Guys,

    My newest WIP (yes I have up to a dozen on the go at any one time - multi-tasking hell!) is sort of incorporating some aspects of magic and technology (steam age) together, along with a society mixed up between middle ages and Victorian.

    Technically I think it might be steampunk, though that's not really the focus of the book.

    But what I did want to ask is of those members who read and enjoy steampunk, what are the things that you enjoy most about the genre? What are the things that would turn you off as well? (Purely looking at world building, characters and setting there, not writing style etc.) Unfortunately I've never really been a fan of the genre myself, though the strange fashions are quite fun, so I was quite surprised when the story and the world started unfolding on the screen in front of me. - I blame Microsoft!

    Thanks,

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  2. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    The Sherlock Holmes movies, very fun steampunk.

    I like that the technology is simplied to the point the point that I can actually understand what they are doing (at least most of the time) and I love reading about gears made out of rocks or wood and other macgyver sort of contraptions. Plus, who wouldn't want to read about guys that are actually gentlemen? (rhetorial question) Not that all guys in steampunk are gentlemen, but at least there are more of them. Plus, I think they have a simpler, slower life and that sounds appealing sometimes.
     
  3. Rumwriter
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    Rumwriter Active Member

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    The story I've been working on for 5 years I recently discovered is steam punk. And when I say discovered, I mean I realized that that's what the story wanted (not that I didn't know what steampunk was). But, mine is also a little cyber punk too. I'm kinda trying to go for a real blend of different ideas, and we'll see if it works. It may not.

    So to answer your question, I have no idea.
     
  4. marco.buschini
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    marco.buschini Member

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    Steampunk to me is cyberpunk in the Victorian era. I can vaguely remember The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling where software bugs where actually gear failures, and computational power wasn't expressed in teraflops but in miles of gear. But also the Last Exile anime is very steampuk. So to say, a steampunk setting to me is a science fiction setting where low technology (possibly steam- or gasoline-powered) devices replace high technology starships and computers. AFAIK magic is not usually part of a steampunk story, but I do not think that by not adhering tightly to the steampunk label should stop your writing.
     
  5. aimeekath
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    aimeekath Senior Member

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    I don't know much about steampunk, and I don't read it much. However, I am trying to incorporate some elements of steampunk into my story too, for example my main antagonist will wear steampunk - ish outfits as he's a bit crazy and enjoys the idea of a more aristocratic life, and the amount of control old century monarchs had.
     
  6. Pythonforger
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    Pythonforger Carrier of Insanity

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    Just heap on the gears, goggles and spiky hair, and keep off anything to do with electricity. Also have your characters wear a top hat, a monocle and use a walking cane.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    And lots of ornate brass plaques, railings and fittings.
     
  8. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Ornate brass plaques, railings and fittings? Sounds very uncomfortable to wear!

    Thanks guys. What I'm really after I think, is is there anything that would completely derail steampunk? I'm guessing a fusion power plant would be out of the question. I hadn't thought of electricity and in my world they have the beginings of it. (So maybe it's 'late steampunk'?)

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Steampunk usually is based on non-nuclear technologies, so most likely is based on combustible fuels. Control access to fuels, and you pose a threat to the steampunk vessel, or weapons platform, etc.

    Also, if you bottle up a steampunk machine/vessel in a confined space (e.g. a cavern), combustion products build up, making it difficult for the crew to breathe.

    Of course, you can have the culture and trappings of steampunk, but still have a higher level technology. The current Doctor's Tardis has a distinctly steampunk appearance, but is not in the least a combustion-based technology. Jules Verne's Nautilus is classic steampunk, but the energy source bears a dstrong resemblence to nuclear power, even though it was written long before the nuclear age.
     
  10. thecoopertempleclause
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    thecoopertempleclause Contributing Member

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    I would argue that the two are extremely different. Cyberpunk is more about examining the debased attitudes of humanity through the magnifying glass of how we as a species handle the power of advanced technology. It's usually told in a film-noir vein with lots of focus given to the seedier sides of life.

    Steampunk tends to be much lighter in tone and focusses on the joys of technology in a more innocent era. It's about the visual aesthetic of old versus new, the wonder of opportunity. Also, it never features cyberspace, the internet, androids, questioning of where humanity ends and mechanisation begins and generally doesn't feature robots who would gladly rip out a human's spine, stretch its intestines over the spine and then proceed to play it as a banjo.
     
  11. marco.buschini
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    marco.buschini Member

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    I think the debased attitudes of cyberpunk reach higher levels just because it has higher technology, and faster communication than steampunk. I think they both master the social implication of the abuse of technology, and so I see them as just the same thing with different technology levels.
     

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