Words To That Effect #30 | Steampunk I (Fetch Me My Fighting Trousers)

There are cultures, and subcultures, and sub, sub, sub cultures.

There’s science fiction, there’s alternative history, there’s steampunk.

There’s hip hop and there’s chaphop.



There’s an anachronistic Victorian gentleman wearing a pith helmet with an orangutan butler, dissing a fellow chaphop artist for parodying, rather than engaging with, the genre.

What, you may quite reasonably ask, is going on?

Over this episode, and the next – because this is part one of a double episode – I’m going to take a really, really deep dive into the world of steampunk.

Steampunk is a lot of things: an aesthetic, a genre, a fashion, a lifestyle. To really understand it, and to see how influential it is on mainstream popular culture and a whole host of different areas, you need to look at it from several different angles.

Which is why I have some very exciting guests lined up across these two episodes. In this instalment I’ll be talking to two very different professors:

Dr Rachel Bowser is Associate Professor of English at Georgia Gwinnett College, in the U.S. and has written extensively about steampunk.

Professor Elemental is the Victorian gentleman whose music you’ve just heard, the chap in the chaphop. He’s a hiphop musician, performer, and voice-over artist, and he provides a another, very different angle in looking at this fascinating world.

This podcast tries to answer the question: what, exactly, is steampunk and how has it become so popular?

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