Steampunk?!!!!

Discussion in 'General Book Discussion' started by Cephalopod, Feb 3, 2004.

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    Cephalopod

    Cephalopod New Member

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    Are there any members who want to discuss Steampunk the genre(not the game) or Victorian/Edwardian sci-fi?
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    ray gower

    ray gower New Member

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    Welcome to Ascifi, Cephalopod :wave:

    Never even heard the term Steampunk before, but if you mean Sci/Fi writers from the late 1800's to say the late thirties, then you are covering most of the best and worst writers in Sci/Fi:- Verne, Wells, Asimov, Lowe etc.

    So pay us a visit in Books and we can commiserate the lack of fine Scirence Fiction writing ;)
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    Dave

    Dave Wherever I Am, I'm There Staff Member

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    >>>>>I'll move this to Books & Comics General >>>>>

    Ray -- you have heard of this before: Greyhorse posted about it in this thread: link removed as thread no longer exists Also velvertcyberpunk might be another member you could contact Cephalpod.

    I haven't read any, but it seems like something I would like. It seems to be a concept that "what if?" Babbage's Difference and Analytical Engines had been made and developed and we had had computers while we were still in the Steam Age.

    Cephalpod -- please tell me if I'm wrong on this!

    So, who are the authors who are essential reading, and why have we had no films of the books.

    BTW Would Michael Moorcock's 'Dancers at the End of Time' series be the original 'Steampunk'? I have read some of those.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2007
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    ray gower

    ray gower New Member

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    So I have! Blame old age for not being upto the latest euphamisims. :)

    Pity really because I think the Victorians can out Steampunk anybody, having acquired a nice little book from my local junkshop called Beyond the Night by William Brown.

    Appears to be much the same as Wells 'First Men in the Moon' but written 20 years or so before and the ship is steam powered.
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    L. Arkwright

    L. Arkwright Vimes's stunt double

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    There is actually a book out there by William Gibson called The Difference Engine. It follows the alternative time line that maybe would have occurred if Babbages machine had been taken seriously. Ive looked at a few like these but to my shame havent bought them. I remember reading one about the crimean war where the British Empire had aquired atomic bombs or cannon shells thanks to the peculiar metal found in a meteor.
    Im not sure if Bob Shaws "The Ragged Astronauts" trilogy could be classed as steampunk but they have the same feel.

    Lol, I know I have probably mentioned this before but "The Adventures of Luther Arkwright" (a trilogy of graphic novels) and the sequel "Heart of empire" really have a fantastic steampunk feel. The book is concerned with alternate universes and a lot of the adventures take place on the surviving british empire timelines. Everything is so victorian yet modern. The main story takes place in an England where cromwell seized power but never lost it again. So the year is now 1984 and whats the world like?


    Welcome to the forum Cephalpod, hope you like it here. :)
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    Dave

    Dave Wherever I Am, I'm There Staff Member

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    I just saw the film "The Wild Wild West" for the first time. It isn't a patch on the original TV series which I have seen and wish it was repeated, but it struck me that 'The Wild Wild West' is steampunk. Also 'Adam Ant Lives', another 1960's TV series, could be included. So the idea of Steampunk is quite an old one and it has actually crossed from books to TV and film to answer my earlier query.
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    Dragon Goddess

    Dragon Goddess Mrs. John Grant

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    *Nods.* Yeah, "The Wild Wild West" is steampunk. The series "The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne" that ran for a season on th Sci Fi Channel was the last thing I saw on TV that was fun steampunk. "Steamboy" is a recent anime steampunk feature. I haven't seen it, but I've heard good things about it.

    A couple of sites about steampunk I can find links to quickly are --
    Steampunk: Victorian Adventurers in a Past that Wasn't!
    Steampunk Central: The Home of Western Steampunk
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    Dave

    Dave Wherever I Am, I'm There Staff Member

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    It is currently quite high up in the UK DVD sales charts. Has anyone seen it? I read the cover and it seems like it would be worth a further look.

    I'm also reminded now of the original 'Stainless Steel Rat' book by Harry Harrison which I'm sure featured a coal-powered robot complete with a chimney!
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    Dragon Goddess

    Dragon Goddess Mrs. John Grant

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    Real? Cool! I've heard of the "Stainless Steel Rat" a few times, but I've never really looked into it. I think the way I heard about it I figured it was probably more of a science fiction series than I usually read. I'll have to give it a look.
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    Dave

    Dave Wherever I Am, I'm There Staff Member

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    You're correct, it is science fiction, but a more humorous take. I just meant that the coal powered robot was a 'steampunk' idea, ahead of it's time. But then, that whole 'comedic scifi' genre - Douglas Adams, Robert Rankin - they also owe much to the 'Stainless Steel Rat'.
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    Dave

    Dave Wherever I Am, I'm There Staff Member

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    I've read 'The Difference Engine' now and would like to read more, but there doesn't seem to be much more out there. I will have to get hold of a 'Steamboy' DVD sometime.

    'The Difference Engine' had a number of interesting ideas, quite a lot of name dropping, and it must have taken a great deal of research. There was less description of the technology than I expected, and much more of the socio-political consequences. Some things were different, some things were just the same.

    I did find it difficult to follow. There were a number of main characters with overlapping stories, and the book was divided into several Iterations rather than Chapters or parts with an overlapping of themes between the Iterations.

    I didn't fully understand the implication of the set of punched cards without it being explained elsewhere.
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    Teresa Edgerton

    Teresa Edgerton Goblin Princess Staff Member

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    There are a couple of old Chronicles threads on the subject, Dave, which might help you in your quest for more to read -- the first one has a link to a site that has an exhaustive and broadly inclusive list of all things steampunkish:

    http://www.chronicles-network.com/forum/10027-steampunk.html?highlight=steampunk

    http://www.chronicles-network.com/f...tion-urban-dystopian.html?highlight=steampunk
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    dwndrgn

    dwndrgn Fierce Vowelless One Staff Member

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    Other steampunk: Scar Night by Campbell (I've heard it is, I haven't read it yet), The Voyage of the Shadowmoon by McMullen (which was really good) are two that immediately come to mind. And of course there are the out of print (but not out of mind) Goblin Moon books by Teresa Edgerton. I know there's more because I've read them but after a day of wearing three hats at work my brain is barely functional. Thank goodness it is almost over.
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    aarti

    aarti bibliophile

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    I think Diana Wynne Jones's Howl's Moving Castle could be described as slightly steampunk (though the movie more than the book, I suppose). And I think Caroline Stevermer's A College of Magics/A Scholar of Magics is steampunk, too.

    I usually lump the genre with a sort of alternate history, though. But I generally like historical fantasy that takes place in a world sort of like 1650-1800 Europe- at least, I like it more than the medieval worlds most fantasy authors employ. And I don't really like "current" fantasy, in that I don't have much interest in ones that take place in the present-day. So maybe I'm just REALLY picky!
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    iansales

    iansales Active Member

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    The original steampunk novel is KW Jeter's Infernal Devices.


    Steamboy, by the way, is pretty good. Play were selling the director's cut for £8 not so long ago.
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    Teresa Edgerton

    Teresa Edgerton Goblin Princess Staff Member

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    Morlock Night by Jeter (which preceeded Infernal Devices by a few years) is the book some people credit with "establishing" the genre, but James Blaylock was already writing his Langdon St. Ives stories before that.
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    Dave

    Dave Wherever I Am, I'm There Staff Member

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    Thanks for the link to the other thread and for all these replies. There is more to this genre than I realised and I have loads of new ideas for reading now. I actually almost picked up Perdido Street Station before, and I certainly will now. Jeter's Morlock Nights and Infernal Machines are new to me. There is also something called Queen Victoria's Bomb by Ronald Clarke.

    Actually, would you class King David's Spaceship by Jerry Pournell as Steampunk? I think it should be.

    James Blaylock's Homunculus was published in 1986. Anyone else have a book anteceding that?

    Only that I used to read a lot of Michael Moorcock, and his Dancers at the End of Time and associated books featuring Jerry Cornelius and Mrs Amelia Underwood were published in the 1970's and have got to be a little bit Steampunk too?
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2006
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    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    By no means knowledgeable on that particular sub-genre, but if they aren't, they certainly were close predecessors to it, I'd think. After all, there are strong elements of what I understand it to be throughout the Dancers, and with the Victorian and Edwardian elements in the Cornelius books, and the alternate realities/time streams, I think it'd be a very close thing, at least...
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    iansales

    iansales Active Member

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    Paul di Filippo has also written a series of steampunk stories, collected in, er, The Steampunk Trilogy.

    I wouldn't describe Dancers at the End of Time as steampunk. As I understand it, the sub-genre is characterised by the presence of present-day technological innovations created using Victorian technology (particularly steam-driven). So, modern-day computing but using Babbage's analytical engines, as in The Difference Engine.
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    Lucien21

    Lucien21 New Member

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