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So What is 'Steam Opera'?

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  • #16
    Thank you all for all the work sorting out a definition!

    The only problem is that I'm currently out of ideas. The major pictures that the word "Victorian" bring up are related to the New Zealand Land Wars, or the Eureka Stockade, or the like (my paternal grandmother's grandfather Samuel Levy in his jewelry shop in Invercargill, South Island during the Otago Gold Rush, maybe?) and adapting those pictures to this Challenge would result in SteamPunk, not Steam Opera.

    Perhaps I could manage something ...
    sigpic Myself as Mephistopheles (Karen Koed's painting of me, 9 Nov 2008, U of Canterbury, CHCH, NZ)

    Gold is the power of a man with a man
    And incense the power of man with God
    But myrrh is the bitter taste of death
    And the sour-sweet smell of the upturned sod,

    by Peter Cape


    • #17
      Originally posted by Kirowan View Post
      I've got a much clearer idea after reading this thread. Here's what I was using as a guide beforehand for the elements involved:

      jazzed up retro-technology. Like Victorian tech (steam, clockwork etc) but can be anything from da Vinci to Wells, often with a big dose of Victorian or Western nostalgia thrown in.

      Opera: romantic, melodramatic adventure, set in space on vessel(s)

      Punk: dystopian and cynical in tone, usually featuring a loner or group vs an oppressive Government, Corporations (or both).
      Steam Opera: Victorian melodrama set in space on vessel(s).
      Steam Opera: what occasionally happens when certain site members take hot showers.
      Don't mind me, I'm just kidding around. Besides, it's not like punk is totally humourless.
      Last edited by Heresiologist; 10-25-2012, 08:23 PM.


      • #18
        In Loos Ptokai - seems to me there's no reason why you can't draw upon antipodean history for inspiration - same way as the current writers draw upon tales of the western frontier. Indeed, it could make for a new and interesting slant or angle on the genre.

        Sounds to me like you've got some really interesting tales to go with there.

        Can't really go wrong if you write about what you know and love


        • #19
          My attempts to define the elements above are actually lifted from Wikipedia, and I may have confused and conflated things somewhat. This may be a little clearer:

          Steam punk: A story that takes place around the time steam power was first coming into use. The industrial revolution is a common time frame which steam punk stories take place in, and the steam technology is often actually more advanced than the real technology of time (for instance, Steam Detectives features steam-powered robots).

          Space opera: is a subgenre of science fiction that emphasizes romantic, often melodramatic adventure, set mainly or entirely in outer space, generally involving conflict between opponents possessing advanced technologies and abilities.


          Thus, in brief, after taking the Space out of Space opera:

          Opera: emphasizing romantic, often melodramatic adventure.

          Steam: A story that takes place around the time steam power was first coming into use … and the steam technology is often actually more advanced than the real technology of time. This ... may also be (perhaps more accurately) described as "Neo-Victorianism," which is the amalgamation of Victorian aesthetic principles with modern sensibilities and technologies.