07-21-18 Patricia Sargeant

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Steampunk Author Theresa Meyers - STEAMPUNK FOR CHRISTMAS

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except a clockwork mouse."

OK, I couldn’t help myself. Christmas is nearly here.

And check out these stockings (already pre-filled with delightful steampunk goodness) that you can hang by the chimney with care.
My suggestion is you skip the milk and cookies and leave St. Nick what he really wants–a steaming cup of something hot, like some real English Christmas teaOkay, perhaps leave him shortbread cookies too.

And for Steampunk's sakes, why make an ordinary gingerbread house when you can create a Victorian manor gingerbread house instead?
You see there are any number of ways you can steampunk for Christmas. That’s because steampunk isn’t a genre. It’s an aesthetic – a style that can be applied to anything from fashion and literature, to holiday stocking stuffers. It’s the glorious reimagination of the Victorian era, only with more fantastical inventions, far more variety in women’s roles within society, and the ability to make it whatever you wish.

 And it’s that wondrous flexibility that makes steampunk reading so much fun. From dark dystopian zombie takeovers of Seattle, such as Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker, to the Victorian elegance of paranormal society in Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, to the wild west that never was in my Legend Chronicles series, there as many divergent paths as there are stories and authors. One of my personal favorites being the comic book series Girl Genius .
All of which would make fantastic stocking stuffers. Besides, what’s better than curling up with a good book and a cup of tea on a winter night?

 And when I say the steampunk aesthetic can be applied to anything, I’m completely serious. Check out this amazing home! 

To truly understand and appreciate steampunk, you need to see past the goggles and gears, past the corsets and pocket watches, and see the beauty of history re-purposed. The gilded age was a time of discovery and invention. A time of global changes. There are vast realms that can be explored because not only did the Victorian era technically last all of Queen Victoria’s reign from the late 1830’s to 1901, but it can extend into the period just before World War I before diesel-powered engines became pervasive. That’s a lot of history – nearly a whole century—you can explore.

But steampunk is also more than just an ode to an era. It’s the visionary concept infused with the spirit of the maker culture. A pride in things that are hand-crafted, rather than mass-produced. The idea that making your own homemade cordial as a gift is something more elegant and more meaningful than buying a commercial prepared bottle.

And as times change, history repeats itself. My personal thought is that the rise of steampunk popularity is in large part a response to our changing society, where a return to the do-it-yourself culture is somewhat inevitable when times become economically challenging. We learn to make do. To repurpose. To find new uses for things rather than just running out and buying more.

So throw off your holiday humbug, and do something different this year by adding a little steampunk to your Christmas. Hang old keys as ornaments from the tree, decorate with ribbons or pearls instead of garlands. Wrap presents in wrapping paper made from plain butcher paper or newsprint you’ve embellished with stamps or had the kids color. For heaven’s sake, MAKE something as a gift, even if it’s simple. Turn out the electric lights and light the candles or oil lamps and spend some time playing a board game together drinking hot chocolate. 

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!


Judith Ashley said...

Hi Theresa,

So glad you could stop and visit with us at Romancing The Genres today. Great resources! and information about Steampunk.

I agree that now is a good time to make something. Growing up we always made cookies, sachets, pomander balls, embroidered a handkerchief, etc. for gifts for family and friends.

This year we are making pomander balls - but instead of the board game and hot chocolate, we'll be watching a fire in the fireplace and talking about our favorite things from this year.

Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel said...

Hi, Theresa! Just got a weird error message as blogger was eating my comment...

...which was gushing about how much I enjoyed your post and I absolutely love the Victorian steampunk house! I really, really like the look of things steampunk, but had no inclination to write it--until I looked at that house.

Now ideas are flowing like crazy with how I can mutate Steampunk with some other stories I'm writing and perhaps come up with a whole new subgenre. How fun!

Heather Hiestand said...

What a great commentary on the aesthetic of steampunk and how to make a holiday of it. Thanks for posting!

Heather Hiestand

Sarah Raplee said...

What a fun post, Theresa! I love Steampunk's flexibility as well. You've done a great job of describing the Steampunk aesthetic for our readers.

I look forward to reading your books!

Tam Linsey said...

I love your Christmas suggestions, Theresa. I must have been born Steampunk. I often try to give homemade gifts rather than store-bought, and I am big-time do-it-yourself for living in general. I just wish I could come up with some of those clever devices I read about in Steampunk :) Thanks for visiting us today.

Paty Jager said...

Theresa, Great ideas for add your writing flair to your Christmas!