The marriage of Victorian era elegance with the out-of-this-world elements of science fiction and fantasy gave birth to a new literary sub-genre known as Steampunk. This new child of literature was born sometime in the 1960s, but remained nameless until 1987.
The Appeal of the Victorian Era
The root of Steampunk is derived from Western fashion and culture during the reign of Queen Victoria. From 1837 to 1901, practicality often took a back seat to romanticism and a growing interest in the arts and sciences. An example of this is Victorian architecture, but steampunk gets its real inspiration from Victorian fashions, which were equally elegant for both men and women
This epic era also ushered in the steam engine, which is where the "steam" part of steampunk comes into the picture. Innovations such as trains and steamships were fueled by an increased interest in the sciences of medicine, natural history and transportation—a mentality at the core of steampunk.
The Steampunk Contemporary Counter Culture
Today's steampunk counter-culture takes the Victorian age and improves upon it. Novels are often set in fashionably appointed Victorian homes but along with the high ceilings and delicate window treatments are computers and other gadgets powered by steam.
On the fashion front, steampunkers embrace the Victorian style of dress and blend it with more modern clothing trends. After the literature and fashion caught on, the steampunk movement developed its own artwork, sub-culture, community.
Steampunk Conventions - Creative Victorian Mindfests
Steampunk conventions that bring these elements together are the next logical step, and they happen all across the country. Here are 3 to consider:
1. Florida Steampunk Exhibition East -- Daytona Beach, Florida (April 13-15, 2012)
Hosted by the Florida Steampunk Society, this is the state's first ever steampunk convention. Scheduled performers include Abney Park & Professor Elemental. A masquerade ball, Victorian style feast, English High Tea, and discussion panels are planned.
Check out Daytona Beach timeshare rentals, which start at a low $86/night.
2. AetherFest -- San Antonio, Texas (May 4-6, 2012)
It's not all that surprising that the AetherFest in San Antonio, Texas, is holding its convention at the St Anthony Riverwalk Wyndham Hotel. Built in 1909, the century old property retains its Victorian era style. The oldest steampunk convention in Texas, this event will feature exciting musical performers and fascinating guest authors.
Check out San Antonio timeshare rentals, which start at just $100/night.
3. Gaslight Gathering -- San Diego, CA (May 11-13, 2012)
The Gaslight Gathering in San Diego, California is a true steampunk experience. It is also the first celebration in Southern California dedicated to the genre and all things Victorian. Highlights include the Airship Ambassador Ball, Dr. Charly Tinn’s Traveling Medicine Show, and a Victorian Swimsuit Competition.
Best of all, part of the proceeds go to Freedom Dogs, an organization that trains dogs as companion animals for veterans that have been injured in the line of duty.
Check out San Diego timeshare rentals that start at $100/night.
Steampunk conventions allow followers of this fabricated alter universe a chance to immerse themselves in their chosen genre, exchange ideas, and come up with new story lines or new mechanical marvels. Whether you have been part of the culture for decades, or are a newcomer to the steampunk world, you will have a memorable experience.
About the Author: Kit Pierce loves to read classic literature and blogs about human rights. In her spare time, she writes for attsavings.com. She's interested in steampunk, likes watching funny cat videos, and enjoys discussions about philosophy.
Photo Credit (top): catell-ruz.deviantart.com
Photo Credit (center): flickr.com