Great Pieces of Steampunk Literature July 13 2017
Steampunk culture is more than a niche in today's world. There are proponents all over the world, and no shortage of media and literature with which to enjoy the genre. No matter what your steampunk preference, Victorian era, Old West, or apocalyptic dystopia, there is sure to be plenty of literature and media for you to enjoy. Here, we have listed some of our favorite pieces of steampunk literature.
Against The Day
We decided to start strong, and make no mistake this Thomas Pynchon entry is no easy read. With over 100 different characters, there is no glossing over the plot of this book. Beginning in 1893 at the Chicago World's Fair, and following a crew of young, green balloonists, this 1,000+ page book is the steampunk gift that keeps on giving.
Agatha H and the Airship City
Mad scientists? Airships? Beautiful heroines? This entry has it all! Written by Phil and Kaja Foglio, this steampunk (cyberpunk, to be technical) adventure follows Agatha, a student at Transylvania Polygnostic University. In a world where heroic adventurers known as Hetrodynes have disappeared, mad scientists terrorize the denizens of the world. Agatha aspires to be an inventor, but doesn't seem to have the spark for it. That is, until she is captured by the ruthless Baron Klaus Wulfenbach and finds out what she is really made of.
While it is debatable whether Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, should be considered steampunk, there is no doubt that it was a precursor, and one of the first examples of science fiction. A classic work of fiction, follow Frankenstein in Victorian England as he defies death and creates his "monster" using his ingenious lightning powered invention.
Written by James P. Blaylock, and winner of the Philip K. Dick Award, Homunculus is a riveting blend of Edgar Allen Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson, and H.G. Wells. We won't get too into the details of the plot, but suffice it to say it starts with a dirigible with a dead pilot passing over Victorian London, and follows scientists/explorer Langdon St. Ives and evangelist Shiloh, who is convinced the blimp carries his father, a tiny space alien.
This entry is great for beginners in the steampunk genre. Set in a post apocalyptic landscape, where the world is ravaged by nuclear warfare, the citizens survive in giant, mechanized, moving cities. Because there are no natural resources left, these cities survive by consuming each other for their parts.
Another great entry for beginners in the genre, Steampunk is an anthology of short stories edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer. If you want to know what is possible in the world of steampunk, what's in it, and many of the tropes, this is a great way to get exposed.
The Anubis Gates
Written by Tim Powers, The Anubis Gates are a classic steampunk story with a fantasy feel. Following an eclectic cast, from an Egyptian sorcerer, to a body switching werewolf, to a brainwashed Lord Byron, you'll feel for the protagonist Professor Brendan Doyle, who quite frankly wanted none of this "nonsense".
The Difference Engine
Written by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, this work helped to define and establish the genre of steampunk. It's set in 1855, where the computer has already arrived due to one Charles Babbage's creation of the Difference Engine and the Analytical Engine. Part detective novel, part thriller, this journey starts with the discovery of some punched Engine cards, cards someone is trying to kill for.
The Golden Compass
We mentioned this one in our movie list, but the books are just so much better. Part of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, follow Lyra Belacqua in a world where every person's soul is split in half and and put into the body of an animal dæmon. A mysterious "dust", being researched by her father Lord Asriel, is making a stir. Mixed with fantastical elements, this story is still full of steampunk inventions and landscapes.
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea
Another entry that was on our movie list, this classic by Jules Verne is one of the original instances of steampunk. Verne is known for other such steampunk classics as Around the World in Eighty Days and Journey to the Center of the Earth. Verne is actually the second most translated English author, between William Shakespeare and Agatha Christie.
The Warlord of the Air
Written by Michael Moorcock before steampunk was an official genre, this story follows Oswald Bastable, who is transported to an alternate 20th century where World War One never happened, and steam power is the norm. It's part of a trilogy under the name The Nomad of Time.
Hopefully you found this list interesting and entertaining. All of these steampunk stories make for a great read, and of course there is plenty more steampunk literature out there for you to enjoy. Here at Machine Age Lamps, we love everything there is about steampunk. We love it so much, we've made creating one of a kind pieces of steampunk art our profession. If you would like a masterfully crafted machine age lamp or table made from original farm equipment, then check our product listing here. If you have any questions about our products or delivery, please don't hesitate to give us a call today. We will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.
The Victorean Era: An Overview July 11 2017
If you're a fan of steampunk, you're probably aware of how closely it is related to the Victorian Era. After all, Victorian steampunk is essentially a sub genre all of its own. Because it took place at the height of the industrial revolution, when steam power was at its apex, it is the perfect setting for steampunk.
What makes it steampunk?
What made Victorian Era England a powerhouse industrially, and is also the reason for its association with steampunk, was the pinnacle of steam technology: the train. Not only did did their pioneering of railway technology mean that they could transport goods, and thus facilitate trade, better than neighboring countries, but their design firms and railway patents themselves were sought worldwide.
England's religion at the time was largely affected by nonconformist churches, who were essentially dissenters against the established Church of England. Nonconformists were primarily middle class urban citizens, a class that largely hadn't existed before. Before the Victorian Era, nonconformists had strict religious restrictions, such as not being able to marry within their churches or be able to attend Oxford University. Eventually, they were able to win these rights.
Prose, in the form of the novel, rose from relative obscurity to the most popular form of literature during this time period. The most prominent form of genre at this time was Gothic fiction. Notable examples include The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde and the steampunk infused Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson.
During the peak of the Victorian Era, spanning from 1850 through 1870, the average national income per person grew by 50%, which created a middle class almost out of nothing. This was largely due to railroads and other industrial inventions and practices. What this did was instill a sense of libertarianism in the community: taxes were low and restrictions from the government minimal. For the most part, there was peace both foreign and domestically. There was yet to be a clash between Marxist ideas, unions, and employers, and employers were often amicable to unions.
Many staples of old English life made a popular resurgence in the Victorian Era. Plays and operas were widely attended. Literature changed to prose, and such iconic writers as Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens, and the Bronte Sisters came to the forefront.
Brass bands became common for the first time in England. This time is also considered the golden age for the circus. Because of the prominence of the train, people were also able to take vacation trips for the first time in history.
Hopefully this quick overview of the Victorian Era proved interesting to you. It is one of the more popular settings for theme punk literature and media. If you are a steampunk fan, and want a one of a kind masterful work of art in your very own home, then check out our steampunk lamps and table available for sale online today. If you have any questions about our products, please don't hesitate to give us a call today. We'll be happy to answer any questions that you may have.
Famous Steampunk Movies June 30 2017
Here at Machine Age Lamps, we love steampunk. We love it so much, we made it part of our profession making machine age art. If you are a fellow steampunk fan, or an interested newcomer, then chances are you will enjoy the wide array of machine age movies available to watch today. Here is a list of some of the more recent (and some older) famous steampunk movies.
Produced by both Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov, this visually stunning story takes place in a post apocalyptic future. It's titular character? A rag doll voiced by Elijah Wood, who may be the only one with the key to save humanity. With an all star cast, great storytelling, and, of course, an epic steampunk landscape, this movie is sure to delight.
Spanning a whole series and multiple movies, this anime story follows brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric in a world where a mystical blend of science and magic called "alchemy" exists. Everything in this fictional world (besides alchemy and good old human will power) is powered by either steam or spring loaded contraptions, including everything from trains to robot limbs. Critically acclaimed, this series is sure to provide enjoyment for many a night.
If the name didn't give it away, this movie's biggest focus is on steam power. Set in the 1860s, a young British Inventor gets caught in the middle of a huge conflict, resulting in an army race to advance steam power.
Wild Wild West
A nostalgic throwback for millennials, Wild Wild West is a movie set in the 19th century wild west. Starring Will Smith, Salma Hayek, and Kevin Kline, this is an action movie at heart. However, what places it firmly in the steampunk genre as well is the character played by Kevin Klein, who's innovating machine age inventions marvel from start to finish.
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
A nice blend of fantasy and steampunk, this movie features such noted icons as Dracula's Bride, Dorian Grey, Doctor Hyde, the Invisible Man, and Captain Nemo. It is from Captain Nemo where we get the fantastic steampunk elements in this movie, including his Nautilus submarine and and gadgets galore.
The Golden Compass
Set in a parallel universe with fantastic elements, where every person has half their soul inside of an animal companion called a dæmon, this movie also has many fantastic steampunk features. Loads of steam and spring powered machine, fun gadgets, and wonderful looking sets make this movie a joy to watch.
20,000 Leagues Under The Sea
Okay, now time for a classic. This 1954 film is essentially a machine age version of Moby Dick. It is considered by some to be the quintessential steampunk move.
The City of Lost Children
Made in 1995, this fantastic science fantasy drama was directed by Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. It stars Ron Perlman, who spoke no French, and had to be fed his lines phonetically for the movie. Featuring a surreal society wherein a scientist kidnaps children and steals their dreams (using steampunk gadgets, of course) with the goal of prolonging his life, this movie is riveting, and will have you on the edge of your seat.
This is far from a comprehensive list of great steampunk movies. There's plenty of steampunk yet to explore! If you would like a masterfully crafted piece of steampunk art with functionality in your home, then check out the products we offer here at Machine Age Lamps. Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions about our products or delivery. We will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.