Sunday, March 10, 2013

Post Punk

Steampunk Theology has been live and kicking it for almost a year now. The Magus, the Alpinist and the Ecclesiast post infrequently but regularly, offering up steampunk musings with a theological bent. But you might still wonder, what is steampunk? So, for the under-initiated, here's a basic definition:
Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery, especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century. Therefore, steampunk works are often set in an alternate history of the 19th century's British Victorian era orAmerican "Wild West", in a post-apocalyptic future during which steam power has regained mainstream use, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power. Steampunk perhaps most recognizably features anachronistic technologies or retro-futuristic inventions as people in the 19th century might have envisioned them, and is likewise rooted in the era's perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, and art.
Just the other day I discovered a living analogy for steampunk that might interest you. I'm calling it "postpunk." Some genre writers have already been imagining alternatives to steampunk--like clockpunk or cyberpunk. In this case, the punk is literal. I found this par avion letter in my drawer while pulling together tax paperwork, so took a couple of digital photos of it to post. I think it is postpunk because it's almost like an alternative future, but one that used to be. I bought this when an international letter cost .50 cents to send (pretty close to what a domestic letter costs today), and in an era when people sent paper letters. But in this case the letter itself is also airpunk, remembering an era when innovators imagined air travel and mail delivered by air freight and balloons. All steampunk theology does is interpret these kinds of approaches to steam and punk but in theological perspective. What if theology had moved forward from an alternative history? What if the science theology took to be rigorous was of a different sort? 
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