A bit about this blog series
I, like a lot of people, had heard the term Steampunk in passing over the years, have passed people in Steampunk costumes at conventions, and had an incredibly vague sense of the term, but didn’t truly understand what the fascination with Steampunk was all about.
This past summer during my very first visit to FanExpo 2014 in Canada, the biggest convention I’ve ever been to, I decided to become enlightened, and to attend a few Steampunk panels to inform myself on what this whole thing was all about. From there I’ve picked up a decent amount of information, all of which I am glad to share with all of you. This blog series will be about the world of Steampunk, by a beginner and for fellow beginners.
One of the panels I attended at FanExpo was titled ‘Steampunk 101’ and was hosted by the Toronto Steampunk Society. All 3 of the panelists were dressed up, and they were executives of the TSS. This panel included a slide show with plenty of images, and it was rather informative.
Here are some of the basics I learned at this panel.
First, you are going to come across many different definitions of Steampunk. It’s truthfully very hard to nail down just one concrete definition, not just because the concept of Steampunk exists in so many different mediums, but because it is an ever-changing concept that continues to grow as new people join in and share their own ideas of what Steampunk means to them.
They did give one unique definition that I liked, and I’ll share it with you: Steampunk is a creative re-imagining of the Victorian era, where the primary resource is steam power. Of course it gets more detailed than that, but it does manage to encompass a lot of aspects: fiction, film, music, fashion, etc.
There is also something that the panelists jokingly added in: When it comes to what is and isn’t Steampunk, there are no rules – but if you break them people will laugh at you.
Don’t let that scare you because it is more of a joke than anything else, I promise you. If I haven’t scared you away, continue reading as I give a few examples of where Steampunk exists out there in the universe.
Classic and Modern Steampunk Fiction
These are only a few of the examples of what elements of Steampunk exist in the world. Fashion is one of the biggest facets, especially for us geeks, and there are so many different options for Steampunk outfits, that I’ll probably be dedicating multiple posts just to Steampunk fashion.
Is the world of Steampunk for you?
In case you’re somebody who is not entirely sure if there is anything that the Steampunk world can offer you, here are two of the main things that drew me to the world of Steampunk, and these are two things that I think a lot of other iggles can relate to.
One great thing about the world of Steampunk is that it calls back to a simpler time: A time where afternoon tea was a competitive sport (seriously, some conventions host tea duelling, it’s very interesting to watch!) and also a time where the written word and face-to-face conversation were the only ways to communicate. Sure, it might be hard to picture a moment when Face Time referred to something other than an app, but for us snail mail enthusiasts it’s fun to think of a community that enjoys speaking directly to one another when they’re in close proximity and sending out letters to one another when they’re far apart.
The main concept of Steampunk that solidified my intentions to delve into this world relates to the idea of Steampunk fashion, but only in part. One great thing that people do when they create or put together their own Steampunk costumes is instead of just finding any items that can pass as Victorian, they mentally put together a character in the Steampunk realm to portray with their costume. There are so many options! There are Steampunk versions of cowboys, pirates, military officials, explorers, time travellers, princes and princesses, and of course there are your typical gentleman and ladies. You are creating an entirely original character with details you have created on your own, and it’s almost a lower pressure activity than cosplaying because instead of trying to get the details of your costume and your persona “just right” you are creating them from scratch and there’s no pressure to look and act in any sort of perfect manner.
I’m hoping to delve into the many fun details of creating your own Steampunk character in another post as well, one that I am very much looking forward to.
Those are some of the basics to The Steampunk Life! Look forward to other insightful posts in the future 🙂
Do you have any experience with Steampunk? Love it, hate it? Leave a comment to let us know!