Since my last post on Steampunk a couple of years ago, I’ve looked into it further. Last year I saw an exhibition of steampunk art, I’ve read some steampunk books & stories, and the genre keeps popping up in the mainstream (like on an episode of Castle.)
Some of it is really cool. You know I love brass and rivets and old mechanisms are pretty cool. But I was reading a collection of short stories last week and the editor kept talking about the DIY nature of it. To me, DIY means not just that you “did it yourself” but that it actually works. DIY plumbing shouldn’t leak and I feel like steampunk objects should do what they say they do. A flying apparatus should at least flap its wings and a ray gun should shoot rays, right?
OK we haven’t actually figured out the science for a ray gun yet (or have we?), but the spirit of steampunk to me is all about mechanics, inventors, and gadgets. It feels false to just glue parts together so that pieces don’t even move.
That being said, I think the aesthetic is pretty cool and it works well as a literary genre. I just wish that if it isn’t going to actually work, it should at least look well made. Clean up your welds and solder joints, don’t ever let any glue show, and for goodness sake actually use metal rather than spray painting plastic or wood (yes, I’ve actually seen that.) Maybe it isn’t a problem with whether or not it works, but just that I’ve seen poorly constructed pieces.
Well, now that I’ve got that off my chest, I’ll go back to making my completely non-functioning teapot (more on that later… ;^)
*I want to make sure that people understand that not all steampunk I’ve seen is this way. There are some artists whose work is phenomenal, especially some of the leatherwork I’ve seen.