Got a thing for cogs, goggles, corsets, and pith helmets? Do you wish you had a mechanical horse to ride around on? Do you know the difference between a blimp and a dirigible? Then it’s quite possible you’re more into steampunk than you already know.
Check out the list below, and if any of these five warning signs apply to you, it might be time to admit that you have a bit of a steampunk problem.
1. You Love Airships
Airships are, for the most part, quite a slow, impractical form of transport. But that doesn’t stop them being cooler than a penguin in a dive bar sipping an iced cocktail. Who wouldn’t love to fly through the air in a man-made mechanical sky whale!
Everybody loves a good airship, but some more than others. If you’re the sort who would jump at the chance to travel back in time to take a ride in the Hindenburg (prior to May 6th, 1937, of course) then you might want to get yourself measured up for a new top hat.
FYI: In case you were wondering, a blimp is an airship that maintains its structure through the pressure of the gas inside. A dirigible has an internal structure maintaining its shape.
2. Top Hats Aren’t Just For Weddings Anymore
Do you secretly wish that you could wear flowing ball gowns or a three-piece suit to work? Have you researched how to sculpt your beard, or actually considered wearing a corset, despite how ludicrously restricting they are?
Your average steampunk fan loves a bit of cosplay. Be it a simple cap and waistcoat, an elegant dress and stunning hat, or a full-on plague doctor complete with mechanical arm, if they get the chance to dress up they will. So if you’ve ever looked at a bit of steampunk style and thought, “Damn, I’d look good in that,” it might be time to start growing that beard out.
3. You Like Your History A Bit… Different
The past is a series of choices, choices that very easily could have gone the other way. The obvious one in the steampunk world is, What would have happened if, instead of electricity, we’d stuck with steam instead? But it doesn’t have to stop there. What if the British Empire never fell? What if martians invaded earth? What if (insert war of choice here) had been won by the other side? The possibilities are endless.
Steampunk fans love themselves a bit of alternate history. They love looking at the past and wondering, What if…? And if you love doing that too, then you could be one of us and not even know it.
4. Piping And Brasswork And Gears, Oh My!
Aesthetics are an important part of all things steampunk. Not for us the modern idea of Form Follows Function. We like a bit of style, a bit of class; a bit of wood, and brass, and (dare I say it) a few cogs here and there.
There’s something elegant about the creations of old. From Stevenson’s Rocket to Papplewick Pumping Station, when the Victorians built something they made sure it was both functional and beautiful. After all, why only have one when you can have both! So if you have a love of all things mechanical, if you think brass is class and steam is a dream, if you want a bit of beauty with your functionality, then steampunk is the thing for you.
5. One Con Good, Two Cons Better
Majesty loves company, and there’s nowhere better to find a group of like-minded souls than at a convention.
The steampunk community is a strong and vibrant one. Open to all, they embrace all the possibilities steampunk has to offer, from alternative history, to aliens, to magic, to zombies. If you can think of it, chances are someone else has thought of it too. And if they have, you’ll find them at one of the many conventions that happen all over the place.
Be it The Town That Never Was, or Europe’s largest convention, the Asylum Festival, steampunk gatherings come in all shapes and sizes. They can be found the world over, are open to everyone, and are a great place to meet lovely people who like themselves a bit of dress up, but who also don’t take themselves too seriously. You’ll often find ‘tea duelling‘ (seeing who can dunk their biscuit the longest without it breaking off) staged bank robberies, and costume parades, among other things to enjoy.
It’s safe to say that if you go to one of these cons and love it, or you find yourself going to more than one of these a year, then you my friend have a definite case of Steampunkitis. Now go get your hat on and meet me by the airship. There are adventures to be had!
Find out more about steampunk, and the fool who wrote this post, at https://keithwdickinson.com/