I’ve long heard of the steampunk style, and have seen Disney dabble in it from time to time. I’ve liked the look of the merchandise that has been released (artwork, vinylmations, figurines, etc.) but until now have never purchased anything.
That changed during my recent trip to Walt Disney World. I had three vinylmations I wanted to trade and after many frustrating and fruitless attempts to trade for something worthwhile from the official Disney store locations, I finally found a fellow Guest who had something I wanted. So my Stitch vinylmation went and Steampunk Goofy joined my growing collection. But more on him later.
I thought I’d better research this steampunk genre a bit, so I bought a book at the local Chapters bookstore (on sale, of course) called The Constantine Affliction by T. Aaron Payton:
A basic synopsis: The time is 1864 and the place is London, England. The city is in transition because a strange malady either kills you or transforms you into the opposite sex. Yikes! Meanwhile, scientific marvels are running amok, monsters are everywhere, and something even more sinister than either of these things is afoot. It’s up to our sleuth Pembroke ‘Pimm’ Halliday to figure it all out before the Queen is dethroned and England becomes a vacation spot for inter-dimensional beings.
It was an interesting read, to say the least.
You need to be a fan of many different genres to fully appreciate this novel (Frankenstein’s monster is a main character, as a scientist, no less) but if you can get into the spirit of it all, it’s a page-turner for sure!
The look of steampunk
For those who don’t quite know what steampunk is, here is an explanation from Wikipedia:
Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery, especially in a setting inspired by industrialised Western civilisation during the 19th century. Steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century’s British Victorian era or American “Wild West”, in a post-apocalyptic future during which steam power has regained mainstream use, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power. Steampunk perhaps most recognizably features anachronistic technologies or retro-futuristic inventions as people in the 19th century might have envisioned them, and is likewise rooted in the era’s perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, and art. Such technology may include fictional machines like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne. Other examples of steampunk contain alternative history-style presentations of such technology as lighter-than-air airships, analog computers, or such digital mechanical computers as Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine.
Steampunk may also, though not necessarily, incorporate additional elements from the genres of fantasy, horror, historical fiction, alternate history, or other branches of speculative fiction, making it often a hybrid genre. The term steampunk’s first known appearance was in 1987, though it now retroactively refers to many works of fiction created even as far back as the 1950s or 1960s.
Steampunk also refers to any of the artistic styles, clothing fashions, or subcultures, that have developed from the aesthetics of steampunk fiction, Victorian-era fiction, art nouveau design, and films from the mid-20th century. Various modern utilitarian objects have been molded by individual artisans into a pseudo-Victorian mechanical “steampunk” style, and a number of visual and musical artists have been described as steampunk.
Aren’t you glad you didn’t ask?
Now on to a more familiar character but done over in the steampunk genre:
The Mechanical Kingdom (a.k.a. steampunk) by Mike Sullivan
If you compare the picture of T. Aaron Payton with Goofy, you’ll see the fashion similarities. The Disney Blog announced recently that ‘Mechanical Kingdoms ~ Steam-Driven Visions of a Victorian Future’ artwork will be debuting at the Disney Parks soon. Click the link for more information on that.
So, are you a fan of the steampunk genre? Fashion sense? Merchandise? Or do you just want this post to end?