Let's play a guessing game. What do H.G. Wells, "The Golden Compass," "World of Warcraft," Abney Park and the TV show "Firefly" all have in common?
They're all a part of a "steampunk" takeover. Now, I know that some of you may be thinking, "What in the world is steampunk?"
Steampunk is a science fiction subculture that has been around since the days of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, two Victorian-era writers who were the founding fathers of steampunk. However, it wasn't until the 1980s that the term "steampunk" was actually coined.
Steampunk is an idea of a Victorian world in which the technological revolution was dominated by the mechanical, rather than the electrical. Everything from cars to computers runs on steam power, and the skies are ruled by enormous dirigibles and other fascinating flying machines.
Since the 1980s, steampunk has been squirming inch by inch into our society. Nowadays a person can see steampunk in their clothing, at art exhibits, and even on television. Although steampunk is all around, some people still cannot see it, which is why I'm going to educate you on all that is steampunk.
A steampunk's outfit usually consists of a mixture of articles of clothing from the Victorian Era, peppered with cogs, gears and other bits of machinery. Next, every steampunk must have an identity, title or job, which is what is used for the basis of the outfit.
For example, say a person wants to be a duke. He would then dress in a fancy multiple-piece suit with a hat or some other well-to-do accessory and goggles. Some other person may want to be pirate of the sky, which of course means he'd have to have some type of retro weaponry along with a snazzy old-fashioned outfit. Oh, and goggles. The three main aspects of steampunk are goggles, imagination, and more goggles.
Now, since nobody is walking down the street in a weird getup insisting his name is Lord Gearbucket, we can assume that steampunk has not made its full entrance into our clothing. However, it is there in the background. For instance, has anyone noticed an increase in double- breasted coats with brass buttons? Well, that's steampunk.
There are hints of steampunk in everything, from those little adorable bunched-up dresses to our jewelry. Recent trends have increased the amount of brass and antique-looking metals in our jewelry, not to mention cameos, mini pocket watches and skeleton key necklaces.
The romantic art style of steampunk has been spreading among our local teens who have been using it in every form. Any teens who have gone to or participated in any of the local art shows may have noticed an increase of cogs and gears in the paintings and sculptures.
During this year alone, one could spot three steampunk artworks, all in different mediums, at the Springville High School Art Show. It only goes to prove that Utah teens are loving this new look.
TV and movies
"The Golden Compass" is a perfect example of steampunk in movies, especially with its wonderful use of costumes, cogs and dirigibles. There are many steampunk-inspired TV series and movies including "Firefly," "The Prestige," "Sherlock Holmes," Disney's "Treasure Island" and "Hellboy." Even normal television series like "Castle" and "CSI" are bringing steampunk into the mix.
Steampunk began with books; more specifically, Wells' and Verne's books which include "The Time Machine" and "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea." But since the 1980s, there has been a major increase in steampunk novels and comics.
Some of the more popular examples are "Girl Genius," "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen," "Boneshaker" and "The Steampunk Bible." Nowadays there are enough steampunk books and comics to fill a couple of shelves at Barnes and Noble.
Although there is not an agreed-upon sound for steampunk, there are many self-proclaimed steampunk bands. Some of these are really intent on creating a realistic steampunk sound while others are just using the steampunk aesthetic to further their careers. It doesn't matter either way, so long as people enjoy their music. Some well-known "steambands" include Dr. Steel, Abney Park and Sugarland.
So, in the end, the only real question is, "Where will steampunk show up next?"
Madison Ostberg will be a junior at Bonneville High School this fall. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org