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World of Steampunk

Updated on October 24, 2013

Steampunk: The Victorian Science Fiction

Steampunk. A strange word, an even stranger look. What it really is? Well, steampunk was created as a genre fantasy reaching down to the same sci-fi roots: the 19th-century scientific novel, 18th century Gothic horror and pulp fiction from the early 20th century.

It's all this that Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle didn't manage to invent . Victorian elevator to the Moon? Driven by steam cyborg? The machine differential with artificial intelligence? Why not!

This page was meant as an introduction to the world of steampunk, to give some examples of steampunk style and to move reader's imagination beyond the limits. Because human imagination has no limits!

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Steampunk literature

One of the good examples of steampunk literature is "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Kevin O'Neill. The story takes place in 1898 in a fictional world where all of the characters and events from Victorian literature (and possibly the entirety of fiction) coexist. We find here Captain Nemo, Mr. Hyde, Sherlock Holmes, Jack the Ripper, characters from "Out of the Silent Planet" by C. S. Lewis and H.G. Wells' "The Island of Dr. Moreau" and "The Time Machine".

Other examples of steampunk literature:

- Les Cités obscures (The Obscure Cities) influenced by Art Nouveau, by François Schuiten and Benoît Peeters

- The Difference Engine an alternate history novel by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling

The Steampunk Bible: An Illustrated Guide to the World of Imaginary Airships, Corsets and Goggles, Mad Scientists, and Strange Literature
The Steampunk Bible: An Illustrated Guide to the World of Imaginary Airships, Corsets and Goggles, Mad Scientists, and Strange Literature

This book lives up to its name: it's really a steampunk bible. Introducing reader into the world of steampunk, from literature through jewellery to fashion and film, with lots of photographs offers a good reference to the intriguing steampunk movement.

 

Steampunk Film

When it comes to steampunk film, we can choose from many movies. Among others:

Wild Wild West western from 1999 directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, and starring Will Smith, Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh and Salma Hayek.


Wild Wild West
Wild Wild West

Wild, wild laughs, adventure and special-effects wizardry abound when megastar Will Smith reteams with the director of "Men in Black." Smith is agent James West, leading sidekick Artemus Gordon (Kevin Kline) and a sexy adventuress (Salma Hayek) on a perilous assignment: stop Dr. Arliss Loveless (Kenneth Branagh) and his contraption-driven plot to establish a Disunited States of America.

 

Van Helsing horror from 2004, directed by Stephen Sommers and starring Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale.


Van Helsing (Widescreen Edition)
Van Helsing (Widescreen Edition)

Van Helsing, a legendary monster hunter, is summoned to a mysterious land in Europe. He teams with Anna, the beautiful descendent of a family committed to battling Count Dracula. Once in Transylvania, Van Helsing and Anna must combat some of the most notorious monsters from history including the Wolf Man and Frankenstein's Monster

 

Sherlock Holmes action mystery film from 2009, directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law.


Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes

The hangman did his job, Dr. Watson declared the condemned man dead...yet Lord Blackwood has emerged from the tomb to assert his deadly will over 1890 London. Is he in league with the forces of hell itself? Is the whole Empire in peril? It's a mystery macabre--and only Sherlock Holmes can master it.

 

The Three Musketeers 3D action-adventure film from 2011, directed by Paul W. S. Anderson, starring Matthew Macfadyen, Ray Stevenson, Luke Evans, Milla Jovovich and Orlando Bloom. Alexandre Dumas' classic story The Three Musketeers has been the subject of a handful of movies over the years, but this 2011 film is a unique blend of action, adventure, slapstick, and the absurd.


The Three Musketeers (Blu-Ray/Blu-ray 3D Combo)
The Three Musketeers (Blu-Ray/Blu-ray 3D Combo)

The plot hasn't changed but what's new in this version of the story is the presence of flying war machines crafted from plans stolen from da Vinci's vault. The airborne crafts are exquisite in their detail and figure prominently in the film, but their very presence adds an almost absurdist new feel to the already slapstickish picture.

 


Rango is a computer-animated family comedy film from 2011 directed by Gore Verbinski (director of the Pirates of the Caribbean). In the film, Rango, a chameleon, accidentally ends up in the town of Dirt, an outpost that is in desperate need of a new sheriff. It features the voices of actors Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Bill Nighy, Abigail Breslin, Alfred Molina, Harry Dean Stanton, Ray Winstone, Timothy Olyphant and Ned Beatty.


Rango
Rango

An animated Western with a chameleon as the hero is an unlikely concept, but Rango is a great film thanks to its witty mix of parody, intriguing characters, and sophisticated humor. The film won Academy Awards for Best Animated Film.

 

Steampunk Jewellery

Above all types of this unusual Victorian art, it's steampunk jewellery that appeals to me the most. Just look at these beautiful pieces of jewelley! Aren't they gorgeous?

Steampunk Posters

Of course there is a lot of steampunk art in form of pictures and posters. Here are only samples, created by artists selling their works through Zazzle:

Resources for aspiring steampunk artists

Books for those who want to create steampunk - make steampunk jewellery, costumes and gadgets, draw steampunk illustrations, write steampunk novels.

Steampunk Emporium: Creating Fantastical Jewelry, Devices and Oddments from Assorted Cogs, Gears and Curios
Steampunk Emporium: Creating Fantastical Jewelry, Devices and Oddments from Assorted Cogs, Gears and Curios

Instructions on how to take apart non-working mechanical watches and clocks for those essential supplies.

The jewelry ideas are fantastic and easy to customize, the author uses mixed media to create wonderful assemblages which reflect steampunk aesthetic values.

 
Steampunk Gear, Gadgets, and Gizmos: A Maker's Guide to Creating Modern Artifacts (Electronics)
Steampunk Gear, Gadgets, and Gizmos: A Maker's Guide to Creating Modern Artifacts (Electronics)

Filled with do-it-yourself projects, shows you how to build exquisite, ingenious contraptions on a budget.

Learn how to use the readily available tools of the modern mad scientist, and expounds on the art and philosophy of scavenging unique components and raw materials. The perfect companion for the hobbyist and advanced machinist alike, this inventive volume will guide you through the creation of your very own infernal devices.

 
Steampunk Style Jewelry: Victorian, Fantasy, and Mechanical Necklaces, Bracelets, and Earrings
Steampunk Style Jewelry: Victorian, Fantasy, and Mechanical Necklaces, Bracelets, and Earrings

This how-to jewelry-making book features the work of an array of invited jewelry designers influenced by the growing Steampunk trend. In Steampunk circles, jewelry-makers are often master metalsmiths who combine found objects with fine metals to create elaborate pieces. In Steampunk-Style Jewelry, the projects focus on "no fire" techniques-like simple stringing, wirework, hammering, stamping, gluing, stitching, and off-loom beadwork-so that even a beginner can create pieces in the style.

 
Writing Steampunk
Writing Steampunk

Writing Steampunk is a journey into building Steampunk fiction. There are choices to be made in regards to era, characters, and world building. And there's research to do. Why? Because Steampunk is alternative history and some tinkering will need to be done. A list of Steampunk novels is included, as well as a list of publishers likely to be interested in Steampunk, a brief overview of events, discoveries and inventions of the 19th and early 20th century, and a lot of encouragement, suggestions and examples are given.

 
How to Draw Steampunk: Discover the secrets to drawing, painting, and illustrating the curious world of science fiction in the Victorian Age (Fantasy Underground)
How to Draw Steampunk: Discover the secrets to drawing, painting, and illustrating the curious world of science fiction in the Victorian Age (Fantasy Underground)

Enter into a world where fashion is Victorian punk, technology hasn't surpassed the steam engine and bizarre gadgets and contraptions that you haven't imagined in your wildest dreams. Authors takes readers through the process of drawing, painting, and digitally illustrating the marvelous players and elements of the steampunk genre. As aspiring artists learn how to create steam-powered machines and gadget-toting characters, this book explains the history and origin of steampunk, its cultural relevance, and other interesting facts about real-life steampunk machines and their makers.

 

Feel free to write a few words here. Share with others your experience with steampunk.

Did you come across steampunk before? Do you like the style and why? Do you create your own steampunk items? Where do you find inspirations and supplies? Or maybe you prefer other types of art?

Hyde Park

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    • profile image

      Colin323 3 years ago

      We had a Steampunk festival locally, at Haworth, Yorkshire a few weeks ago; a very well-attended and vibrant event.

    • zachary0611 lm profile image

      zachary0611 lm 5 years ago

      Steampunk has been getting more popular lately.

    • KevCooper profile image

      KevCooper 5 years ago

      I am a Steampunk, I spend way too much time in the workshop creating various steampunk devices.

    • SquidooPower profile image

      SquidooPower 5 years ago

      Always liked steampunk

    • profile image

      cheshiregriffin 5 years ago

      Steampunk is one of my favorite themes, right up there next to dystopian. If I could afford it, I would recreate my entire house to look like a machine.

    • TeacherSerenia profile image

      TeacherSerenia 5 years ago

      this weekend I am currently making a steampunk lensography - gathering together all the steampunk lenses - this one is included. Blessed by a passing angel. This is a very ncie steampunk lens.

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      Terrie_Schultz 5 years ago

      I love steampunk. Great lens!

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      This is fascinating, and new to me. I am going to check out the fiction book you described. I don't quite understand the jewelry - is it meant to look like gears?