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branchandroot: a globe of earth inside a gear (global steampunk)
One of the points I find ironic in the nomenclature of steampunk is that, when you get right down to brass tacks, we are still a steam-driven society. It's just that, these days, the mechanical movement propelled by the steam generates electricity rather than being applied directly to the motion of pumps or wheels or gears. What the more avid retro-mechanical fans seem to desire is not steam itself but direct mechanical motion. What I find interesting, given this, is that most envisioning of steampunk technology or accessories is either not steam driven or not a direct mechanical process. If it is a direct mechanical process, it's most likely clockwork--that is spring-driven. If it's not clockwork, it's an air-ship, which historically have used internal-combustion diesel engines. And if it's not an airship it's very often a ray-gun.

What this leads me to expect and postulate )
branchandroot: a globe of earth inside a gear (global steampunk)
At the beginning of the Tokugawa period, Japan has movable type, flight, increased mining for coal as well as metal, texts on optics and the theory of the steam turbine. The requirements of unification still lead Toyotomi to decree fixed classes, to limit travel, to disarm farmers and control samurai by separating them from the means of subsistence. There is a growing group of artisans who deal with engineering and technology and some of the newly unemployed samurai migrate into that group. This trend will continue.

Onward! )
branchandroot: a globe of earth inside a gear (global steampunk)
The goal of most of my steampunk worldbuilding has been to get everyone to meet at the 17th and 18th centuries. Up to that point, my concept of technological development has been very standard and historical; some things get noticed earlier, like movable type or the steam turbine, some social catalysts are moved around to keep cultures from locking into decline, like a small revolution for the Maya or Dara winning in India or Wu being defeated before he can ally with the Manchu or Selim II picking a different war and not losing his fleet. Overall, though, technology develops in mundane ways.

Then we get to the fun part )
branchandroot: a globe of earth inside a gear (global steampunk)
Okay, that's all for my current framework-making! Anyone want to play with details?

Remixing Indian history )
branchandroot: a globe of earth inside a gear (global steampunk)
And wouldn’t it actually explain steampunk technology a whole lot better to assume it arose out of multiple centers of development, all exchanging and competing, and warring and trading, and inventing like mad?

This is what a week of crazy-wild reading and note-taking and contemplation of the history of technology come down to. That, right there, is the heart of this project.

Ah, and while I'm at it: Global Steam website. Still thin on content while I get my notes written up so people besides me can read them, but the infrastructure is up. *dusts hands*
branchandroot: a globe of earth inside a gear (global steampunk)
Okay, Global Steam is a go! See also the icon, which is the banner image for the Global Steam website. Which is, indeed, a WordPress installation (I knew it was famous last words when I said it) to make it easier for other people to add stuff and keep control of their own material. Coming soon to a journal near you...

First, the easiest one.

Chinese history remix )
branchandroot: butterfly on a desk with a world in a bottle (butterfly glass desk)
Once upon a time, there was a fanwriter who looked around and thought that steampunk costuming looked like a lot of fun. She'd had some passing contact with the genre through literature, and while some of it made her twitch with unexamined imperialist assumptions, a heartening majority of it seemed to be performing useful social critique alongside the cool gadgets and giant squid adventures.

It still seemed awfully... limited, though. )


[I have decided on format: this will become a website. It needs to have different sections for the history, for the particular technology, for the costuming. I don't think it will need to be a WP installation, though. It won't be that big.

Surely it won't be that big...]

February 2019

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