Today we welcome Jana Oliver. One lucky commenter will recieve a signed copy of The Demon Trapper’s Daugther. (Open internationally, contest closes 6/27/12 at 11:59 pm PST).
Why Steampunk is like a TARDIS®?
by Jana Oliver
I am extremely fond of all things steampunk, but that shouldn’t be too much of a surprise since I’m writing a post for a blog dedicated to the subject. So bear with me as I explain why the steampunk is a lot like a TARDIS. For those of you who are not Dr. Who fans, this is a TARDIS. One of the cool things about this handy machine, besides being able to travel through time, is that it is bigger on the inside than on the outside.
In many ways, that’s exactly what steampunk has become. Once a quiet niche for a few enthusiasts, it now encompasses a variety of expressions and has gone worldwide. Today there are a myriad of steampunk activities available: artwork, music, literature, technology and various types of social interaction.
The original concept for steampunk, the curious marriage of technology and love of Victoriana, have given us such fine offspring as Cherie Priest’s BONESHAKER, Clay and Susan Griffith’s THE GREYFRIAR, Abney Park and The Extraordinary Contraptions, Hugo and countless steampunk conventions.
So what is it about this “movement” that is so compelling? What lures new folks into its web (steel-plated of course) and holds them in thrall? Could it be that very TARDIS-like feature I mentioned earlier, that the inside of steampunk holds so much more room for innovation than other pursuits?
I would argue that steampunk’s very open architecture is what has made it as powerful as it is. There is no one steampunk, no rigid rules that all must adhere to. If you can’t sing or convert existing items to a new form, maybe you’re great at costuming or creating digital artwork. Maybe you’re good at putting words together and can tell a great tale of adventure or a delightful children’s story.
That’s one of the reasons I’m so fond of steampunk. Within its big tent, there is room for everyone, room for all forms of human expression. Innovation and creativity flow within steampunk’s metallic veins where one is not confined to the “we’ve always done it that way” mentality. Which is why steampunk will continue to evolve as those within its “walls” take it in new and interesting directions.
For an author, that means the steampunk I know today may be completely different in a year. Such fluidity allows for creative change which will flow into other parts of the participants’ lives. Already steampunk is affecting the “mundane” world in terms of design, entertainment choices and beyond.
We need creative and imaginative people and that’s what steampunk provides: a ready source of intelligent, unique and curious folk who are very happy to color outside the lines. The ability to look beyond the ordinary, to dream of new technology, outlandish solutions and workarounds is what put us on the moon and created such marvels as the Internet. Is it not possible that steampunk can also improve our chances of survival as a species?
At the very core of every steampunker is the echo of one of the masters of such innovation and I’m sure that Leonardo da Vinci smiles a little every time another cog is designed or another airship launched.
So don’t worry, there’s plenty of room inside this steampunk Tardis. We can go wherever we want, see new worlds or create them, for that matter. That is what steampunk is all about: there are no boundaries.
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