Where Did Steampunk Come From?

In my explorations of the various art walks that occur around Seattle, I came across an interesting series of paintings by local oil painter Chris Sheridan that are currently hanging in the lobby of City Hostel Seattle. Some of the paintings combine one aspect of life the artist thought would have been in our lives by now, and one thing that is in our lives that he never saw coming.

Those two things? Aliens and Steampunk.

For many people, Steampunk seems to have appeared from no where, a random aesthetic that has very little past or history to account for its eccentricities. And while Steampunks love to point to Julies Verne and H.G. Wells as the founders of Steampunk before there was such a term, many of the archetypal elements of Steampunk fiction was found in many novels and short stories throughout the years.

Where Did Steampunk Come From? is an article by Jess Nevins that explores the appearance of Steampunk’s literary tropes. It’s an interesting in article because there’s likely to be no complete consensus if all of these works could be considered Steampunk by everyone in the community, but each features elements of the larger Steampunk genre in every title listed.

For more reading recommendations, check out this list of 25 recommended Steampunk novels, and to learn more about the history of Steampunk in a larger, cultural perspective, see A History of Steampunk and the The Great Steampunk Timeline.

Russian Steampunk

As Steampunk continues to grow and  captivate people, it brings some amazing people and creativity into the subculture. Today, I found some amazing photographs of Steampunks from Russia (Стимпанк) that were posted by looka_net to the ru_steampunk community on LiveJournal. Take a look:

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Beautifully done. They’re still working on the project, so if I happen to hear any more regarding these photographs, I’ll be sure to let you know. And be sure to follow the ru_steampunk community on LiveJournal if you’d like to learn more about Steampunk in Russia. For more on the Steampunk community in Russia as a whole, be sure to drop by http://steampunker.ru/, the same people who brought you the awesome tutorial for a Steampunk CD player a few months ago.

And, as an extra for today…if all those photos has you interested in delving deeper into Russian Steampunk, you may find this collection of photos taken by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii between 1909 and 1912 during a photographic survey of the Russian Empire to be of interest. Though strictly historical, these photographs give us a colorful glimpse into what life in Russia was like as the steam driven era came to an end and the Russian revolution loomed just a few years into the future. The photos may provide some inspiration for a Russian inspired Steampunk ensemble as well, so be sure to check them out.