Nothing wrong with a bit of whimsy, but I fear that it could be the death of Steampunk.
Why? I hear you cry. Alright, I don't, but you know what I mean. The why is pretty simple - if the superficial trappings of Steampunk are all that are perceived of the work, and the characters are cardboard Victorians with stiff upper lips and clockwork blunderbusses who say 'Bai Jove!' a lot, then you are doing yourself, the reader and the genre a deep disservice.
It can be done well. Read G. K. Chesterton's 'The Man who was Thursday', or George and Wheedon Grosmiths'The Diary of a Nobody', or Jerome K. Jerome's 'Three Men in a boat' as great examples. Mind you they are all real Victorians, which helps. Philip Reeve does it very well in 'Larklight', too, btw. But all of these works balance whimsy with a deeper subtext (even 'Larklight').
All I'm saying, really, is maybe write something that does you and the genre justice, that gives it depth, that shows that its more than just dressing up and funny accents and crazy gadgets.
Now don't get me wrong, I love a crazy gadget and a good pun as much as the next man, but sometimes you need a bit more than that. And I think Steampunk does, too.

Views: 194

Comment by May Water on July 28, 2011 at 9:16pm
Agreed. Steampunk would be wise to cater to the younger audience and get them on board. The Steampunk batons will have to be passed on at some point or it will fade. What does the younger crowd want ? Passion, fun and excitment. Heck, that's what most of us want.  I had that in mind as I wrote my upcoming Sci fi erotic romance novels, all to be released this fall.  So add a bit more sass, a bit more sizzle, a bit more I don't know...steam!  Love & Warmth, MW
Comment by Jack Sokol on July 29, 2011 at 9:04am

I agree absolutely,  if we don't understand the subtext of Victorian social movements, and themes that were relevant then and are still relevant now, the our work will be a mere froo froo of cool gadgets and Victorianspeak.


The Victorian era was rife with Revolutions, nation-building, Empires lording it over everyone,  terrible bloody wars and disasters of epic proportions.  There was the emergence of very destructive philosophies and thinkers such as Eugenics, Nietzsche, Schopnauer, Wagner,  Malthus, Marx.  Then there was a lot of positive too balancing this out, Goethe, Tolstoy, Lincoln,  Garibaldi, etc.

Since most writers seem grossly unaware or uninterested in this subtext, there is no wonder their works have less depth than corrugated cardboard.

Comment by Claire E. Smith on August 11, 2011 at 3:36pm

How do you guys think movies would help bring back the flair of Steampunk? I've been disappointed in Hollywood that aside from (very, very loosely) Suckerpunch and Cowboys and Aliens...I haven't really seen much Steampunk movies mainstream.


Maybe some of the authors can dabble in screenwriting? Or, is that not done too much?


But regarding the undertones, I agree 100% :)

Comment by Winfield H. Strock III on August 11, 2011 at 3:53pm
I think a steampunk movie with an emphasis on the story rather than the setting would be best.  Make the movie about something universal, basic, engaging.  Cowboys and Aliens was a vacuous attempt to please people's eyes without addressing their minds.  The lead wasn't likeable, the villain lacked a face and a persona.  We need another Captain Nemo, another Dr. Moriarity.   I prefer my villains be cut from a not so dissimilar cloth than my heroes.
Comment by Claire E. Smith on August 11, 2011 at 3:59pm
Wow I agree completely Winfield!  I dabbled in Screenwriting myself just a few weeks ago and personally love it. Maybe I'll write a Staempunk movie. The good news is Jerry Brochiemer seems to be a fan of it so maybe there's hope for us Steampunkers :)
Comment by Kevin Eslinger on August 11, 2011 at 6:02pm

Hey Gang,

My name is Kevin Eslinger, and I wrote and directed a weird west steampunk short film called "Nickel Children" Here is the teaser :


Nickel Children is an award winning international sci-fi steampunk adventure!In an alternate 19th Century, dust bowl Kansas.  A young boy, Jack, witnesses his parent’s murder, and is forced to survive in an underground child fighting ring. Only the wealthiest are invited to attend these secret communities to bet on the children for their own amusement. However, one among them, is determined to find the child that will be the key in ending the war in America ... whatever the cost.


I am building this new alternate America and will be releasing short story web graphic novels in the upcoming months.  If you are interested , check out any of our other websites below and join our community.  I am very excited to be here and sharing other steampunk thoughts and ideas.  Thanks for looking, and take care.

Kevin Eslinger

Writer/Director "Nickel Children (Official Email) (Official Website) (Facebook) (Twitter) (YouTube) (IMDb)


Comment by Winfield H. Strock III on August 11, 2011 at 6:09pm

I'd love to see my book made into a movie.  One of the big problems I had writing it involve points of view.  In my mind's eye I 'watched' the story unfold as a movie.  Someone had to point out to me the importance of sticking to a given point of view in a scene and limiting the numbers of POV's throughout the book.  My inspirations came from TV series.  I think that's why my chapters are so short and Adventures Above the Aether is basically a one book trilogy.  I'd like to see it as a series over the course of three seasons or made as three separate movies.  Well, enough rambling for now.  I really wish someone could take steampunk seriously.

Comment by Claire E. Smith on August 11, 2011 at 6:13pm

It is a little tricky.  One of the things I'm having most difficult with screenwriting is keeping the description short. I've been listening to some podcasts about screenwriting and they keep saying shorter description is better. And after used to writing books...well, it's tricky.


I agree about seeing it in my head  though. I think once you started writing the screenplay, you'd manage the POV okay. Because you're not like, directing the camera - you're sort of...following a character and showing them what the character sees...but from third person.  It's brilliant though because of the shorter description, it's like giving the writer a break lol. 


Anyway, there's free software out there too for script writing if you want to try it. Recommend it :)

Comment by May Water on August 11, 2011 at 10:14pm
I'm pleased to be in company with others on the same wavelength. I am a new writer and my 5 part erotic romance series with me made into a film within 5 years.  It involves past lives, soul mates, scifi,  and dabbles in time travel. Oh, and LOTS of music. All of your comments reassures me that I am indeed surrounding myself with the right people : }
Comment by Ray Dean on August 12, 2011 at 4:54am

don't know if anyone saw my post in the movies group about the new SpyKids film... lots of clockwork images in that...


and the new HUGO film post...


you can go to my blog for the pics as well


My Ethereality


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