Steampunk

May. 9th, 2009 12:01 am
mirrorshard: (Heart's Desire)
[personal profile] mirrorshard
Further to the paperblogging in my con report, has a really interesting essay on steampunk & colonialism here.

There are basically two steampunks - I'll call them the Morlock and Eloi trends. The first is about all the incredibly cool things the Sons of Martha can do, hacking metallurgy and thermodynamics and then decorating the results with random twiddly bits Because You Can, while the second is about poncing around in interesting costumes with shiny brass accessories, and generally being a Victorian Gentleman (or Ungentle Lady).

They can both be read as responses to a highly abstracted technological environment, either knowingly (punk versus goth - react to an ontological threat by spitting in its eye, or by dancing on the volcano) or unknowingly (two different and equally valid ways of Having Fun).

I think there's some perceived difference in the nature of that ontological threat, though. To the Morlock trend, it's out to destroy their agency - their ability to build, modify, control, or subvert the world around them. I'm less sure about the Eloi, though. Anyone care to venture an opinion?

(crossposted from LJ - canonical version here.)
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