For my part, I must admit, on the one hand, my fascination with the Steampunk (my childhood was full of Verne’s books and characters such as Sherlock Holmes) and, on the other hand, my ignorance about its authors and works. I’m an unfocused guy, going from here to there all day and nosing around in search of new things without too much judgement. However, in no particular order, I’ll dare to show you my favourite steampunk works. A general list, of course, to which steampunkers (more expert than me) can contribute if they want to; their titles will be received like a breath of fresh air (I didn’t add more Miyazaki’s works to avoid being a pain).

Bioshock Infinite (2013, video game – Kevin Levine)

The collapse of a theocratic and fanatically racist utopian society serves as a framework for one of the most amazing steampunk settings of recent times: the floating air city of Columbia. Consideredto be an indirect sequel of dieselpunk games with fictional settings Bioshock and Bioshock 2, this work by Kevin Levine is an artistic jewel full of details that makes playing it a real pleasure. In addition to a complex and opaque plot of parallel dimensions, the game shows a society on the brink of revolution, thus repeating the same pattern of its predecessors.

Whereas in the previous Bioshocks the world of Rapture was the victim of its own mercantilism, the world of Bioshock Infinite has collapsed under the burden of fanaticism (national, racial, etc…). The mixture of fantasy, social criticism and an outstanding artistic design makes the saga Bioshock one of the most exciting narratives you can find in the history of video games.

Bioshock Infinite videogame Steampunk

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (1999-present, comic – Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neal)

After four volumes and a spin-off, I’m already completely lost in the world of this story. Mr. Moore’s knowledge of fantasy literature and British fiction is SO extensive, that one would have to be as crazy as him to get all the references he includes on his pages. However, I have to admit that I fell in love with the super group of literary characters from the nineteenth century since the very beginning. This idea serves not only to do a review-tribute to modern fantasy literature, but also to act as a mirror for British society and to talk about the monsters and heroes that lie at the heart of the Empire.

And, as if the enjoyment/source of inspiration/knowledge wasn’t enough, Kevin O’Neal gifts us illustrations full of humor, dynamism and detail that know how to deprive the characters of heroism but not dignity in such a way that, despite being extraordinary, they’re as human (and weak) as we are. Well… thinking about how they ridiculed James Bond always makes me laugh.

the league of extraordinary gentlemen comic cover

Steamboy (Animated action film – Katsuhiro Otomo)

The fact that Japanese are fascinated with Europe is obvious in Japanese fiction. Katsuhiro Otomo, globally renowned for Akira, directed this spectacular steampunk story with incredible detail and vitality, which explains why they needed 10 years for its production, making it one of the most expensive animated films in history. Spies, incredible energy sources and walking fortresses push a young boy to become the savior of the British Empire.

Steamboy - Steampunk Anime

This concludes my list as a way of introduction to steampunk.

Now it’s when you say: “This novel is missing”, “this comic is essential”… Undoubtedly, you’ll be right. I hope your suggestions and comments help us discovering a genre that can turn coal into gems for the imagination.

 

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Aitor Garay

Aitor Garay

A culturally unfocused scriptwriter.
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