Inspire: On Magitek and Steampunk

I wonder if it was common, throughout the ages, for people to have the thought: “Man, technology today is so boring. I wish was born in the past, or further in the future.”

I rather doubt it. Though I’ve read that it is sort of a common human condition-type thing to believe that one’s current era is the worst time ever – as though the apocalypse loomed just ahead of us. It is not unusual to hear someone, an elder or otherwise, muse on “the good old days,” or, conversely, about how “the kids these days have it so easy.” I’ve always found conversations like that interesting, having suffered from both kinds of thoughts at one time or another.

I feel that the same might also be applied to this notion of Steampunk, a genre of fiction (and fashion, apparently) that I do not claim to be an expert on, but find interesting nonetheless. While I confess no particular love for Victorian dress, I rather dig the concepts and mechanics of steam power. Electronics and all manner of Cyber Things belong to the realm of magic as far as I’m concerned. Discussions regarding alternating currents and electrons being conducted through closed/open circuits happen at about the time when I start to feel like it’s time to go lay down and rest my head.

But steam I can get, with enough time to observe the clockwork, and that’s part of what attracts me to the idea. Similarly, we have a word for something I even more attractive: Magitek. Now, this is something I’m on board with, because as far as this humble caveman is concerned, the foundational basics of how it works are just as mysterious. It terms of a story, this is usually accepted, whether there are hints of an explanation, such as Howl’s Moving Castle – or not explained at all, such as the magitek armor of Final Fantasy 6.

At any rate, there is some discrepancy between Steampunk and Magitek, but in other cases they tend to overlap. I suppose at this point, it is up to the individual story to decide, and personally I intend to consume more fiction in both of these genres.

What of you, dear readers? Are there any favored works of Steampunk/Magitek variety you enjoyed, or would recommend to anyone?

##Edit## : I actually backed a Kickstarter project for a Steampunk anthology, which can be found here. They’re funding period has already ended, but I’m rather excited to see what it’s all about.

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2 responses to “Inspire: On Magitek and Steampunk

  1. With respect to steampunk games, I’ve never forgotten Chrono Trigger and Xenogears. I’ve heard Final Fantasy 6 is the best rpg ever made, but unfortunately I’ve never played it. In movies, not considering anime, the 2009 Sherlock Holmes movie was the best steam punk I’ve seen. I haven’t read any steampunk books, but I really should find a good one.

    • Admittedly, FF6 has a powerful nostalgia factor for a lot of people (including me). Chrono Trigger is definitely in the top three. As for books, I neglected to mention that I found a Steampunk-themed anthology on Kickstarter. You can bet I’ll be talking about it when it’s ready!

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