Fred Flintstone has a Jetpack Made of Rocks and a Pterodactyl

Tee Morris rightfully had his suspenders in a bunch when he wrote this blog entry. Steampunk is a bit hard to swallow enough as it is, but there are some punks who are so zealous they want to create more subgenres.

Morris provides a list of the invading subgenres.

Sailpunk is life at sea with pirates and exploration.

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Ricepunk substitutes electricity for gunpowder and fire as sources of energy.

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The pre-digital age (1945-1965) including the Space Age and mid-century modernism belongs to atompunk.

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Teslapunk is busy dabbling in electrical energy as a means of replacing all other primitive sources of fuel (coal, wood, oil, steam) without being replaced by another power source such as nuclear or diesel power.

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Stonepunk is legitimately some kind of backwards “Land of the Lost” where primitive materials meet advanced technology in pre-historic times. I’m getting weird images in my head of Fred Flintstone exploding into the air with a jetpack made of rocks and a pterodactyl.

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Morris saw these subgenres as “splitting hairs,” but it’s all creative and people enjoy it so I’m okay with them. I would boil down these subgenres into basic science fiction or steampunk with a twist of paint thinner.

It seems that many people don’t even know about these subgenres or they can’t adequately explain what they are with supported literature or films.

Before you know it, there will be puddingpunk and leonardodicapriopunk (which won’t win any Oscars).

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You Should Have Taken the Cruise

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These stuck-in-the-past-live-in-the-future weirdoes took a cruise? Yes, yes they did. Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines started featuring this seven day overseas voyage in 2012. The Second Annual Steampunk Cruise and High Seas Ball is scheduled for February 23 to March 2, 2014.

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The website boasts that popular steampunk writers, artists, musicians, and speakers will be present for performances and workshop sessions. The cruise sets sail from New Jersey and then makes a stop at Fort Canaveral, Florida, before heading to Coco Cay and Nassau, Bahamas.

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Mature or amateur filmmakers can submit independent films, shorts, documentaries or series to the film festival which takes place for the entirety of the cruise. The submissions are also subject to awards.

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On board the ship, vacationers will find 15 decks, ten pools and whirlpools as well as numerous bars, clubs and lounges. Prospective steampunks can also look forward to rock wall climbing, basketball, ice-skating, mini-golf, the spa and parades.

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Obviously shopping and overeating is included.

Packing up all that steampunk gear and clothing is bound to cause a luggage nightmare that I cannot even fathom. If I went I’d probably wear the same gadgets with barely passable attire after the fourth day. Oh well.

The Adventurer’s Life for Me

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Jeff Vandermeer and S.J. Chambers’s “The Steampunk Bible” presents four steampunk archetypes: the street urchin, the tinker, the explorer, and the aesthete.

The street urchin is a survivor, a beggar or a pick-pocket.

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Think filth and stains, beaten-up or torn attire that has a lower class feel. Mixing and matching of vests, breeches, tights and boots are encouraged. As for hair, dreadlocks are good.

The tinker is the scientist and the creator. Belts or pockets are necessary to tote around tools. Clothing should be refined and neat: leather boots, pressed white tuxedo shirts with dark vests or buttoned jackets.

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Ah, the explorer! This character is daring and ready for adventure. Military influence comes into play as well as the aviator look. Corsets, vests, pith helmets and billowing sleeves are all advisable.

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Finally, the aesthete comes in waving around his cigar and brandy. This archetype has a bohemian twist. These are the artists, plotters, musicians and vagabonds.

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The clothing is polished for an upper class appeal. Canes, corsets, spats with boots, tuxedoes and aristocrat garments are recommended. Lace gloves, topper hats, bouffant up-dos for the ladies and waxed mustaches for the gents.

These are all mere suggestions. Steampunk thrives on the make-it-your-own attitude with clothing choices and props.

Balogun has a blog page that covers numerous steampunk archetypes. Take the Myers-Briggs personality test and then refer back to Balogun’s blog page to see which steampunk character you are.

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They Came in the Night with Hot Tea

The term “steampunk” did not originate until around the 1980s and it appeared as a variant of cyberpunk, which is another science fiction subgenre. Cyberpunk is expressed as an oppressed society of people who are ruled by computers and technology and some of the “outcasts” fight back.

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Steampunk rode into existence on the swallow coattails of literature. Tim Powers’ “The Anubis Gates” (1983), K.W. Jeter’s “Morlock Night” (1979) and the “Infernal Devices” (1987) and James Blaylock’s “Homunculus” (1986) are some prime examples.

Jules Verne and H.G. Wells are widely accepted as the prominent literary voices of steampunk.

K.W. Jeter wrote the first written example of steampunk in 1979 as he struggled to find a name for the genre he and other authors were writing in. Mohan Kumar believes that steampunk was firmly established after William Gibson and Bruce Sterling finished their novel The Difference Engine in 1990.

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There are film inspirations for steampunk as well such as “Metropolis” (1927), “Brazil” (1985) and “The City of Lost Children” (1995).

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Tighten Up Your Goggles

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The definition of steampunk can be vastly different depending on the person asked. In an article for The New York Times, Ruth La Ferla generously offered references to vaudeville (1880s-1920s), the Victorian era (1837-1901), the Gothic era (1150-1500) and the Edwardian era (1901-1910) to try and encapsulate the look and fashion of the steampunk culture.

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Many followers of this science fiction subgenre worship the images of aviator goggles, pocket watches, dirigibles, steam locomotives and machinery, and gears beyond counting. Jeff Vandermeer and S.J. Chambers even created a mathematical equation for steampunk in their book “The Steampunk Bible.”

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Steampunk usually encompasses adventure, mad scientists, alternative history, rebellion (the “punk”), industrial revolution, retro-futuristic elements and according to Vandermeer and Chambers “progressive or reactionary politics.”

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I was only able to crystallize a concept of steampunk in my mind after I saw numerous photographs of costumes, film stills and artwork.

Steampunk is an extremely personalized culture and there are no set guidelines.

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