Warren Ellis asks an intriguing question:
Is it possible that steampunk is making a comeback as acquiescence to the notion that our more recent apparently plausible models of the future will never come to reality?
To a large degree, I would say, yes, it is.
We’ve run out of future. Plain and simple. And it’s not just the lack of jet packas and moon colonies that have us collectively concerned about what shape our future will take, there’s also the creeping suspicion that, due to our shortsighted and reckless attempts to build moon bases and jet packs, we won’t have a future.
The industry that it takes to build the technology we have now, most of which is causing global warming and shortening our specie’s life expectancy,Â has also left us with the more banal aspects of our early 21st century lifestyle. Everything is mass produced and disposable. But at leas tit looks shiney and futuristic. Steampunk is a reaction to this. It presents us with a way to go back to the golden age of Science fiction, before things got to mechanized to see if we can start over. maybe this time we can go down a different path, where technology still has character, is hand made and homespun and though it’s not efficient, it comes more from our dreams of going to the Moon as a way to find out about ourselves an explore, rather then from the hubris of imperialism and manifest destiny that drove our predecessors.
Maybe this time, we can dream a cleaner, more responsible and sustainable future, but one that still has style and substance, rather than just a slick face hiding the rotten corpse of dystopia underneath.