Steampunk World's Fair 2012
The Steampunk World's Fair 2012 was held May 18 - 20 in Piscataway, New Jersey. Take a look at some scenes from this year's event.
From event organizer Jeff Mach, "Steampunk is a genre and artistic movement based around imagination and flights of fancy involving a sort of Victorian science fiction. Its name was given to it by author K.W. Jeter, whose book Infernal Devices was called a 'mad Victorian fantasy.'" Mach said there were more than 4,000 attendees at the festival, which featured musical performances, vaudeville and variety acts, authors, artists, and more. There were also a wide variety of vendors, some of whose wares were purely steampunk, and others that swapped and played with genres.
He noted one thing that made the event particularly unique is that, unlike steampunk events that strongly discourage attendees to dress in non-steampunk attire, the World's Fair invites people to come dressed however they'd like. This led to an impressive number and scope of steampunk and steam-inspired costuming. Mach theorized, "The thing is, when you tell people that they don't have one single set of rules, but can play by lots of rules, then they feel free to take their existing garb and outfits and modify them, which is less daunting and more exciting than trying to be a steampunk `purist'. For example, a Renfaire Pirate who becomes an Airship Pirate is not only going to worry less that she'll feel out of place, but she'll also start her steampunk costume from a pirate costume she may have worked on for years. And if some people show up in jeans, great! As long as people are relaxed, we're happy."
Photo credit: Knightmare6
Sonja Thompson has worked for TechRepublic since October of 1999. She is currently a Senior Editor and the host of the several blogs.
These pictures make me regret not going even more! My time and $$$ situations weren't right for this. I have been to events that Jeff has put on in the past and I can promise you that if you can find a way to get to one, you'll enjoy it. J.Ja
Most steampunk works assume hazy skies and choking smog from the fires and smokes of heavy industry in and around overcrowded cities. Some other genre works that predate the popularization of the term are Michael Moocock's "Nomad of the Time Streams" trilogy -- "The Warlord of the Air," "The Land Leviathan" and "The Steel Tsar" -- and William Gibson and Bruce Sterling's collaboration, "The Difference Engine."
"Steampunk" has been around long enough and in wide enough circulation not to require definition. Most well informed readers may be expected to have at least some passing familiarity with the genre. Now terms like "OS" or "ETL"..... Nice thing about the internet is it allows easy reference as an alternative to otherwise more or less superfluous verbiage. It's one of the nice efficiencies of the media, no? I don't think pretension to being 'hip' had anything to do with it. Rather I'd say an urgency to economy did. Steampunk isn't really a hipster thing...it's actually been around a bit longer than the resurrection of that term, itself.
Good grief, it must have taken an entire fifteen seconds for you to type steampunk into google and get the answer, and you feel hard done by? I look things up every day. It's called "learning". Sonja did no "great disservice" to anyone and I think it's entirely unfair for you to criticize her in that way. These photos are meant to be a bit of fun and I for one quite enjoyed them, thanks Sonja. :) PS - just for the record, I've been familiar with the term steampunk ever since I read the novel "The Difference Engine" way back in the early 1990s. It's that familiarity that made me come here and check out the pics.
Trying to appear hip by not bothering to define "steampunk" does a great disservice to your readers, Sonja. I should not have had to look it up. I consider myself fairly hip, and I had no idea what it was, despite having enjoyed many examples of the genre over the years. I wonder what percentage of your readers are familiar with the term? Probably in the single digits.
So knowing what steampunk is determines if a reader is well informed or not? So basically somebody is not well informed if they don't know about something you know about? I am well informed, I read a lot, I have seen the movie and TV series but I had no idea what steampunk was and would have had not reason too before this article. Does that make me some uninformed individual? Of course it doesn't.
The original poster had a valid point. Would have taken all of a few seconds for the author to add a one line description of what steampunk is.
To each their own and I do have to commend a number of those pictured for the amount of work that went into these costumes but hip? Maybe I am lame :-) but since when has dressing up as a fictional character and going to a convention been even remotely hip?
Did you skip the article and just look at the (not-so) pretty pictures? "From event organizer Jeff Mach, "Steampunk is a genre and artistic movement based around imagination and flights of fancy involving a sort of Victorian science fiction. Its name was given to it by author K.W. Jeter, whose book Infernal Devices was called a 'mad Victorian fantasy.'" Mach said there were more than 4,000 attendees at the festival, which featured musical performances, vaudeville and variety acts, authors, artists, and more. There were also a wide variety of vendors, some of whose wares were purely steampunk, and others that swapped and played with genres."
Let's not start a flamewar - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flaming_%28Internet%29#Flame_wars - , anyone can be a newbie - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newbie - at something. Steampunk was an eyeopener for me too, but a lot of my predilections - http://www.thefreedictionary.com/predilections - fell into place. Dieselpunk is another fine subculture. For an overview see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberpunk_derivatives Warning : better not look it up on Youtube, it *WILL* cost you a nights rest!
The movie with Will Smith, or the series from the '60s starring Robert Conrad and Ross Martin? You've never heard of James West or Artimus Gordan, and their nemesis Dr. Lovelace? This series and movie defined steampunk. And for four years, this was the only TV show that I made a point of not missing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_Wild_West
Sure I watched the WIld Wild West, but the term "steampunk" wasn't even coined until at least a decade or two after the show aired. You obviously missed my comment "despite having enjoyed many examples of the genre over the years". I still think the article owed its readers a short definition of this rather obscure term. Yes, I know how to look up things on the internet, and that's exactly what I did. So I guess authors don't have to write clear well defined articles anymore, since we can all do their research for them by using Google! It's a failing for this author to either a) assume that all of her readers were familiar with the term or b) that those that weren't could just go and look it up. That's not how you write a good article.