Thursday, November 1, 2007

Steampunk goes mainstream

You know the hip factor has utterly fled a movement when Newsweek comes calling. Steampunk is the subject this time, only the literary sub-genre itself is given but a passing mention. Instead, the article focuses on steampunk as a fashion style applied to our glossy, high-tech world. The long and short of it is folks retrofitting computers and other such modern conveniences to look as if they originated in the time of Verne or Wells, or Walt Disney's Tomorrowland at the very least. Naturally, you can't bring up steampunk and design without invoking Chairman Bruce:
"I'm kind of touched to see these guys becoming pop stars," says Sterling, "The Difference Engine" co-author. "To me it's a sign of social health. People can look on the legacy of the past and grab it and use it. It's an industrial cut-and-paste aesthetic. And I think that the 20th century's love for 19th-century technology is going to be matched by the 21st century's love of corny 20th-century technology. We're going to see Atompunk."

Personally, I love the concept (zeppelin obsession notwithstanding) even if I haven't had much opportunity to retrofit the old Dell on my desktop. That's not to say I haven't given it much thought. I actually blogged about the aesthetic coolness that are wooden computers more than a year ago. It's not exactly the same thing, mind you, but the concepts are simpatico.

1 comment:

Rick Klaw said...

That ship passed into the mainstream a long time ago as witnessed by the fact that I was able to write an entire article on steampunk in pop culture for the forthcoming Vandermeer anthology.