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Steampunk shocking Moorcock omission

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  • Steampunk shocking Moorcock omission

    Just thought that some of you on here might be as scandalized as I was to read an article in today's Guardian about Steampunk with no mention whatsoever of Mike or Oswald Bastable:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/childrens-...hats-steampunk

    The journalist seems to think that most people won't have heard of the genre, which is apparently only now becomig popular. After some ferreting around they managed to trace the genre's origins back to the 1980s. I would have left a comment correcting them but unfortunately there was no option for this story. Isn't this just wrong?

  • #2
    Write to the editor. You'll find the email address under Letters To The Editor on this page - http://www.guardian.co.uk/help/conta...=ILCNETTXT3487

    If they contact you by phone the chances are your letter will be printed in the paper, which I find much more satisfying than seeing it on t'internet.

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    • #3
      I don't know. Is 'Steampunk' as defined as "one part Jules Verne, one part Mad Max, with a big side order of cool" something you'd want to be associated with?
      _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
      _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
      _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
      _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

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      • #4
        Nemo is the original Steam Punk to me. I used to call him a cyber punk but Steam makes more sense.

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        • #5
          Wasn't Nemo a nuclear-eco punk?
          That might be more to do with the film though: the book is still awaiting opening on a shelf.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by David Mosley View Post
            with a big side order of cool"
            Can I supersize my cool?

            MW

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            • #7
              I love this place! You guys always crack me up!
              Infinite complexity according to simple rules.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by MWalsh View Post
                Originally posted by David Mosley View Post
                with a big side order of cool"
                Can I supersize my cool?

                MW
                I thought we had gone pass cool and become uncool to then become cool again. The balance is in need of its servants, again.......
                Papa was a Rolling Stone......

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by David Mosley View Post
                  I don't know. Is 'Steampunk' as defined as "one part Jules Verne, one part Mad Max, with a big side order of cool" something you'd want to be associated with?
                  Don't you mean, "with a big side order of coal"?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Rothgo View Post
                    Wasn't Nemo a nuclear-eco punk?
                    That might be more to do with the film though: the book is still awaiting opening on a shelf.
                    Nemo is definitely Punk anyway, in the anarchic sense; he is pretty much a misanthropist too, though he can show acts of nobility and kindness. Book was written back in 1870ish, pre-nuclear, although 'eco' would be an accurate description in terms of how the Nautilus is self-sustained and in harmony with the ocean, plus Nemo's deep respect for the natural world. You should read it, it's amazing. There are some sections where Verne tends to list various objects or fish species in a somewhat boring fashion but the overall writing and story and general theme make it really enjoyable for the most part. I think Nemo is one of the coolest characters in fiction, one of the early anti-heroes. And I feel Verne was highly prophetic as a writer, like Wells and Clarke.

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                    • #11
                      I think we should reclaim 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and Nomad of the Time Streams as classic science fiction and leave Steam Punk to China Mieville and his 12 page Railway Journeys To Tedium.

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                      • #12
                        There are examples of steampunkery going back to the seventies and eighties but I think it's just a question of legitimizing something by going back and looking for precedents. There are some elements in Moorcock, Blaylock and Powers but those books have very little in common with what Steampunk has been over the last few years.

                        I still think Steampunk is basically people getting dressed up and accessorizing, and books are one of the accessories. A lot of the industrial/goth people got tired of black and the anime and cosplay people branched out. It's big with the younger jewelry hobbyists. It's all surface, reflective, polished and backward-looking, which makes it a pretty good extrapolation with where we have been stuck as a society, I think.

                        I don't see a lot of punk in it. Punk was rebellious. There was a message behind the clothing, whether it was the mockery of UK punk or the workmanlike minimalism of US punk. The only message behind steamery is 'Look at this thing, look how much extra time and money I have.'

                        The books have taken on a life of their own but it's never appeared to me to be a real durable trend. Could be in ten years people are still putting on goggles and top hats but it doesn't really matter one way or another.

                        On the Verne-Wells axis I've always been more Wellsian, even before I was old enough to get the social issues, but I enjoyed Verne despite the slowness. I thnk what came later, the pressures of the pulp format, the demand by young readers for quickness and action, did a lot for the genre, the language got more intense as well as pithy.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by opaloka View Post
                          There are examples of steampunkery going back to the seventies and eighties but I think it's just a question of legitimizing something by going back and looking for precedents. There are some elements in Moorcock, Blaylock and Powers but those books have very little in common with what Steampunk has been over the last few years.

                          ...
                          There's an interesting little short story by, Pohl and Kornbluth, from Galaxy (Dec. 1958), collected in, The Wonder Effect (1962):- Nightmare with Zeppelins, featuring zeppelin raids over London during the First World War, mention of H.G. Wells and reminiscences of a mid-Victorian nuclear explosion in colonial Africa.

                          Not specifically steampunk, but an interesting little tale, nonetheless.

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                          • #14
                            Not 'Steampunk' but 'Steam Operas'

                            Originally posted by opaloka View Post
                            ... but those books have very little in common with ... Steampunk
                            Exactly this. I seem to recall Mike commenting (complaining?) once that while Warlord of the Air/Land Leviathan explored political issues of imperialism and racism through their narratives many so-called 'Steampunk' novels seemed more interested in brass fittings, goggles and simple rip-roaring adventure yarns.

                            If rural nostalgia fuels the continuing appeal of Trollope or Tolkien, then its urban equivalent is most commonly found in Dickens pastiches such as Philip Pullman's Ruby in the Smoke, in Holly Black's gritty fairy stories and in the steampunk genre. These days, you can barely pick up a speculative fantasy without finding a zeppelin or a steam-robot on the cover. Containing few punks and a good many posh ladies and gents, most of these stories are better described as steam operas.

                            Cyberpunks were what the likes of Bruce Sterling and William Gibson called themselves when first signalling their break with conventional SF. What identified cyberpunk was a sophisticated interest in current events, a guess that the Pacific Rim might soon become the centre of world politics, a keen curiosity about the possibilities of post-PC international culture and a love of noir detective fiction. Characteristically, cyberpunk revived the noir thriller and might as easily be considered a development of the mystery as of science fiction.

                            Steampunk reached its final burst of brilliant deliquescence with Pynchon's Against the Day and his Airship Boys. Once the wide world gets hold of an idea, however, it can only survive through knowing irony. Its tools, its icons, its angle of attack are absorbed into the cultural mainstream. The genre has started to write about itself, the way Cat Ballou or Blazing Saddles addressed the western. Steampunk no longer examines context and history but now looks ironically at its own roots, tropes and cliches.
                            That's Mike writing in 2009.
                            _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
                            _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
                            _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
                            _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I don't know much about steampunk, I've always seen it as an aesthetic rather than a cultural movement or anything like that. I was first aware of it really with Steamboy by Ottomo, and some of Amano's illustrations, especially his work on Final Fantasy 7 and 9. Reading Dancers at the End of Time, I can definitely see a similar aesthetic there to stuff that came later. With Verne and Wells, because they're of the Victorian era, I guess it is pretty redundant to call any of their work steam-punk. But most genre labels are redundant to me, and just indicative of our need to categorize and organize the world around us for the sake of ease.

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