Grandma & Grandpa's Farm

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Steam Punk -- Victorian Science Fiction

Steam Punk

Science Fiction Set in the Victorian Age

I am not sure what percentage of the population has ever heard of "Steam Punk" before. I had never heard the term before this year myself -- though I know of the genre. This is fiction set in the Victorian age of the sort that Jules Vern, H.G. Wells, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and their contemporaries wrote and others since then, especially recently have rediscovered and been writing in. It has become very popular in a number of circles. I am meaning in more than just reading the books.

You might know of "Sherlock Holmes" fan clubs, but there are groups that play Fantasy Role Playing Games -- FRPG -- set in the Victorian age and which are classified as Steam Punk if they include the pseudo science of the genre with time machines and digging machines and steam powered space ships and nuclear powered Victorian submarines and the like. The fairly recent movie "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" Staring Sean Connery fits into this genre.

One interesting effect is something that a few friends and I have been intrigued with off and on for decades. From the time of perhaps even before the first "microcomputers" we thought of the ideas of replacing plastic, painted steel and perhaps aluminium cases with those of polished wood and perhaps carved wood; polished brass; and polished and perhaps carved leather. The fittings would be at least made to look like they included ones with ivory, ebony, pearl, and similar materials. A friend who is a leather carver considered applying his considerable talent to making carved leather cases for PCs at a more recent date. Given tools and supplies I think I would like to try my hand at something like this...

Recently while researching a fantasy-science fiction book I am writing I came across this whole genre of Steam Punk and found that people are indeed doing such things. The things they come up with, some real world, some just in artwork can be pretty incredible. The image on the left is from Steam-Driven Dreams: The Wonderously Whimisical World of Steampunk on (image to left - image from

I think I would enjoy it as a hobby as much as I have enjoyed my involvement into Medieval Recreation with the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA). There I have learned many skills and expressed many talents in many areas including metal work, wood work, ceramics, pottery, leather carving, costuming, research, fencing, heavy armoured tourney and war fighting and much more.

Considering I have enjoyed FRPG with things like Dungeons and Dragons as well, and have enjoyed Fantasy and Science Fiction and am interested in History in General even to the point of being Vice President of a Heritage Society I think that this whole Steam Punk -- Steampunk (?) -- thing is right up my alley. I just wish I had a workshop. I have a few computers I might want to dress out in Victorian gear, or perhaps Edwardian more like the image I have for my bio-shot for this article.

I really do have to get into the whole 3D modelling thing with the computer.

TTFN or in other words "Ta Ta For Now"!

~ Darrell


The Bio-picture of me attached at the top of this article is slightly modified from a self portrait photo of me taken at the Port Moody Station Museum in the Parlour of the 1908 CPR Train Station the museum resides within.

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