Vintage Tomorrows

Book description

What would today's technology look like with Victorian-era design and materials? That's the world steampunk envisions: a mad-inventor collection of 21st century-inspired contraptions powered by steam and driven by gears. In this book, futurist Brian David Johnson and cultural historian James Carrott explore steampunk, a cultural movement that's captivated thousands of artists, designers, makers, hackers, and writers throughout the world.

Just like today, the late 19th century was an age of rapid technological change, and writers such as Jules Verne and H.G. Wells commented on their time with fantastic stories that jumpstarted science fiction. Through interviews with experts such as William Gibson, Cory Doctorow, Bruce Sterling, James Gleick, and Margaret Atwood, this book looks into steampunk's vision of old-world craftsmen making beautiful hand-tooled gadgets, and what it says about our age of disposable technology.

Steampunk is everywhere--as gadget prototypes at Maker Faire, novels, and comic books, paintings and photography, sculptures, fashion design, and music. Discover how this elaborate view of a history that never existed can help us reimagine our future.

Table of contents

  1. Vintage Tomorrows
  2. Dedication
  3. Foreword: Any Questions?
  4. Prologue
    1. Acknowledgments
      1. From James
      2. From Brian
  5. 1. A Futurist and a Cultural Historian Walk into a Bar
    1. It All Starts in a Bar
  6. 2. Beats, Pranksters, Hippies, Steampunks!
    1. An Embedded Historian
    2. I Reject Your Reality and Create My Own
    3. Living the Past
      1. Counterculture’s Not Dead, It’s Outside Looking In
      2. How the Beats Became “Beatniks”
      3. Still On the Bus
      4. You Get the Burn You Need: Discovering Steampunk at Burning Man
      5. That’s How it All Started
  7. 3. Technology That Ships Broken
    1. A George Orwell for the 21st Century
    2. Contraptions, Coffee, and Culture
    3. Bodging About Over Lunch
    4. Remembering Just How Miraculous Technology Can Be
    5. Reflections in a Taxicab Window
  8. 4. A World-Destroying Death Ray Should Look Like a World-Destroying Death Ray
    1. Three Degrees of (Hairy) Separation
    2. From Elder Goth to American Steampunk Icon
    3. What If They Didn’t Run Out of War?
    4. There’s Room for Everyone to Play
      1. Technology Should Be Beautiful... and Hands-On
    5. Pretty Is Its Own Reward
  9. 5. Steampunk: A Dinner in Three Courses
    1. Getting the Band Back Together
    2. The Big Night Arrives
      1. First Course: Steampunk Soup
      2. Main Course: The Meat of the Matter
      3. Dessert: The Future Looks Sweet
    3. A Film is Born
  10. Prelude. A Note from the Historian
  11. 6. It’s About Chickens and Teapots
    1. Chicken Tea Is Clucking Good
    2. Steamcon and the Steampunk Sandbox
      1. The Steampunk Scholar
    3. Scholar on the Spot
    4. Asking the Right Questions
    5. Snark Hunting in Victoria
  12. 7. Digging Into the Past
    1. The Past Is About 75 Feet Deep, Depending on the Season
    2. All Those Futures and Pasts Bumping Into Each Other: Scott Westerfeld
      1. Not Nostalgia for an Era, But for Its Fantasies
      2. History Wears Uncomfortable Shoes
    3. We Have Met the Victorians and They are Us
      1. Steampunk Is Happening Now
    4. Time Flies, But Not Very Well
    5. Early-onset Steampunk
  13. 8. History Has Sharp Edges
    1. Having a Higher Bar: China Miéville
      1. It’s About Power
    2. The Victorian Problem
    3. Steam Around the World: Jaymee Goh
    4. Art, Social Change, Martinis… and More Chickens
    5. An Evening With Abney Park
  14. 9. Punking Time in Key West
    1. Living in the Future
      1. Our World is Not the Only One Possible: Margaret Atwood
      2. The Information: James Gleick
    2. Steampunk Parallax: William Gibson
    3. The Shock of the New: Dexter Palmer
      1. Endless Summer
  15. 10. The Answer’s in Our Own Backyard
    1. Empire and Rebellion in a Cup of Tea
    2. The Septic Tank: Overflowing with Ideas
    3. Sorting Through the Rubbish
    4. A Bloke Without a Shed
    5. A Wall of Hammers
    6. Henry Hoke, Tinker of a Deeper Truth
    7. The Hand-Brain Link
  16. 11. Makers and Burners
    1. Cultural Capital
    2. Friday: The Infrastructure of Inspiration
    3. Saturday: Mad Science and the Safety Switch Problem
    4. Sunday and Beyond: Neverwas a More Marvelous Thing
      1. Furthur into the Neverwas!
  17. 12. Pop Goes Steampunk
    1. Steampunk Is Coming to Town
      1. Steampunk Grew Three Sizes That Day
  18. Prelude. A Note from the Futurist
  19. 13. Humor Is the New Killer App
    1. Siri, Where’s the Closest Comedy Club?
    2. What’s This Humor Business All About? Jaime Masada
    3. Humor Is Like Sex (Err, at Least So Say the Experts)
    4. Humor Is Social
    5. Why Now?
    6. Accepting the New
  20. 14. Don’t Forget the Humans
    1. How an Anthropologist Changed the World: Genevieve Bell
    2. A Genealogy of Devices: Humor Is All About Relationships
    3. History Is a Tricky Idea
    4. Infusing Human Personality Into Technology
    5. The Romantic Poets of the Information Age
  21. 15. When Is an iPhone Like a Pocket Watch?
    1. Is That the Past in Your Pocket?
    2. Once Upon a Time, the Pocket Watch Was an iPhone
    3. Meanwhile Back at the Bar
    4. We Can’t Touch Our Past; It’s Been Turned into Bits
      1. Meanwhile Back at the Bar
    5. The Science of Memory and the Future
    6. Meanwhile Back at the Bar
    7. What Kind of History Do You Want to Be From?
      1. Meanwhile Back at the Bar
  22. 16. We Must Design a Better Future
    1. A Conversation with Bruce Mau
    2. Design Is Humor
    3. History Is a Bridge to New Places
    4. Extraordinary Human Capacity
  23. 17. Humanity in the Machine
    1. Humans (and Steampunks) are Hairy
    2. Great Hairy Steampunks!
    3. Where Does the Internet Live When it Goes Home for the Night?
    4. Fantastic, Marvelous, and Wonderful Technology Being Used by a Bored 16 Year-old Girl
    5. Mr. Jobs’s Incredible Music-Shrinking Apparatus
  24. 18. We Want to Remember a Time When Our Lives Were Not Made of Plastic
    1. On the Road to Burning Man
    2. The Maker’s Maker: Jake von Slatt
  25. 19. What’s Next?
    1. Last Call
    2. Compute Moves to Zero
  26. A. Image Credits
  27. Index
  28. About the Authors
  29. Colophon
  30. Copyright

Product information

  • Title: Vintage Tomorrows
  • Author(s): James H. Carrott, Brian David Johnson
  • Release date: February 2013
  • Publisher(s): Make: Community
  • ISBN: 9781449337957