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Steampunk and His Dark Materials

by Kim on May 11, 2008 · 1 comment

In my enthusiasm at starting a bookish blog, I began by bookmarking a whole bunch of other blogs in hopes that they would give me some ideas and things to think about adding to mine. What a great idea, because I already have topic!

Jacket Copy, the LA Times Book News and Information Blog, just posted about Steampunk — a subgenre of science fiction and fantasy that is generally set in a world that still relies on steam power, but includes a lot of scientific or fantastical elements (Wikipedia). Steampunk is linked both chronologically and thematically to the Cyberpunk movement, another genre I just got interested in because of a class on science fiction I just finished. The biggest difference between the two is that steampunk has fewer of the dystopian elements that often characterize cyberpunk.

his dark materials triloguPhillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series is a great example of steampunk — zepplins, gadgets, and the golden compass are great examples of fantastical technology making its way into the Victorian Era . And how appropriate for my posting time, Random House just came out with a prequel to the series titled Once Upon a Time in the North that focuses on then 24-year-old Lee Scorsby and how he first comes to the North and befriends Iorek Byrnison. This is a series I’ve loved since I first grabbed them back in the eighth grade — it’s cool to go back to them now with a greater appreciation of themes and literary context. I may look into read the prequel once it’s out in paperback (poor grad students like me can’t often afford hardcover books…)

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