Revolution, romance and technological wonders are all in a day’s work for the decorated hero of Alavonia, Sir Arthur Pageon.
An acclaimed explorer and inventor, Sir Arthur Pageon takes his unofficial role as defender of the realm of Alavonia very seriously. A fantastical world, Alavonia is home to the Discoucian Monarchy, as well as monstrous creatures and secretive academies for the highly gifted.
Upon returning from his most recent exploits aboard on his personal flying galleon The Nostradamus, Pageon is treated to a hero’s welcome and celebratory procession through the streets of Alavonia’s capital, Evermore. Little does Pageon know he’s being followed by a mysterious group known as the Purple Guard, whose devious leader is his estranged sister, Queen Lily Pageon of Harrha Island. Fiercely intelligent, Lily specialises in dastardly technological inventions with the aim of bringing down the Discoucian Monarchy so that she may reign as its dictator. However, the heir to the throne is one Princess Josephine Olandine, whose youth and royal position masks her role in the Discoucian Secret Service.
I’m so excited to have a guest post on blog today!
The Appeal of Steampunk
‘A genre of science fiction that has a historical setting and typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology.’
‘A style of design and fashion that combines historical elements with anachronistic technological features inspired by science fiction.’
Steampunk has its main origins in the writings of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, which ranged from exploring Outer Space to Inner Space and exemplified the ideals of technology far beyond the time it was first proposed but would eventually appear later.
An example is the use of it in films and television, more prominently in adaption’s of classical literature like Well’s The Time Machine. The 1960’s film shows how the idea of building a time machine in an age like the Victorian would call for it to look beautiful as well as utilitarian. The colours and the gilded ornate arches to the crystal ball lever show a design that goes far beyond a simple device but propels it to another level of art.
Another example is Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth, a story and film that takes place first in the mundane setting of Victorian Edinburgh and moves to the bowels of the earth and finally Atlantis. At the time it was not known that the Earth had a molten core so Verne was theorising what could exist miles below the surface which at the time would have made the book seem more realistic and believable.
It is not just technology that is the embodiment of Steampunk; it is also the fashion that is highly appealing. This can range from waistcoats, gold watches, bowties and elegant ballroom dresses worn everyday and even highly stylised cybernetic appendages usually made of brass or iron. The fashion that was commonplace during the Victorian era experienced a revival as the Steampunk genre became more popular. Due to the burgeoning Cosplay Community adopting the style of Steampunk it has become internationally recognised along with its use in modern media.
The television series ‘The Wild Wild West’ embodied this concept and mixed it with cowboys and secret agents patrolling the frontier against villains that range from power mad scientists to bitter confederate soldiers that want to change how history has turned out. Most of the shows ideas have their roots in Verne and Wells’ fiction and these included underwater buildings, propeller driven torpedo’s disguised as dragons and an elixir of melted down diamonds that when drunk allow a person to travel faster than light.
Its use of alternate history is fascinating, from a Confederate soldier living in a cave and not knowing that the Civil War was over to a man who was gravely wounded but rebuilt himself with steel and is nearly indestructible. He seeks revenge for the people who left him for dead after an explosion, one of which went on to become President Ulysses S. Grant who is planned to be blown up by a radio controlled missile. All of this taking place in the 1880’s sounds extremely far-fetched, however that is the whole appeal of Steampunk, looking at the past through slightly exaggerated rose-coloured spectacles.
A film that has become a Steampunk classic without being promoted as one is Hugo, which takes great care in its presentation of clockwork mechanisms that range from giant cogs in the clock tower to the intricate automatons that existed in the era. There is hardly any fantasy involved but instead the beautiful realism made to sparkle in all its brass coloured glory.
The appeal comes from the quirkiness and the alternate history that is synonymous with the Steampunk genre, and this can be seen in a film that is not really presented as Steampunk but more as a Dark Fantasy. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken is an alternate history novel that takes place during the reign of James III and with a ‘channel tunnel’ being built, wolves are moving from Europe’s cold to rural England. The prediction of a Channel Tunnel is an interesting note since the novel was published in 1962 and the Tunnel was officially opened in 1994, and it is these predictions that lend o the appeal of Steampunk. She also predicted that the world would get colder, but it seems with the theory of Climate Change that she may have got it the wrong way round.
Anime seems to have adopted the Steampunk aesthetic with films like Steamboy and Howl’s Moving Castle, and they have created beautiful films with images that are more akin to art than simple animation. Through animation it is possible to create the impossible since the constraints of a budget for visual effects become much less while the designers imagination becomes the only limit.