Monday, April 29, 2013

Are We All Punked Out Yet?

Clockpunk, Dieselpunk, Cyberpunk, Spypunk, Stitchpunk, Witchpunk, Elfpunk, Bustlepunk, Stonepunk, Teslapunk, Sandalpunk, Sailpunk, Ricepunk, Atompunk, Retropunk, Rococopunk, Biopunk, Mythpunk, Mannerpunk, Splatterpunk, Nanopunk, Greenpunk...

I could go on, but I won't.

Recently I read a blog post by someone claiming to have written a Witchpunk book. I didn't think too much about it, other than "cool, sounds neat". But later I stumbled across someone talking about Elfpunk and was left scratching my head. At what point are we just tacking "punk" on in order to jump on the punk bandwagon? Greenpunk? What's that? And is "Witchpunk" just steampunk with witches in it? What makes Elfpunk so punk? The punks are flying so thick and fast that it's nearly impossible to keep up with them anymore.

So can I write about trolls, throw a few corsets and gears in there and dub it "Trollpunk"?

Well we DO have awesome punk hair!

I'll be honest, what inspired this blog post was in part someone saying that Gail Carriger doesn't write Steampunk, she writes "Bustlepunk". What she writes is too light and fluffy to be true Steampunk. When the Steampunk "experts" make statements like this, it makes me  want to reach up, grab them by their waistcoat and yank them off their high automaton horses.

Is the umbrella of Steampunk so small that we can't let anyone else in from the rain? We have to assign Ms. Carriger a different category because she isn't dark and gritty enough to be real Steampunk? That's bloody insulting. And what about "gaslight fantasy"? Another name for Steampunk that isn't gritty enough, or isn't focused enough on the science elements to be "real". At what point do we stop splitting hairs? (Hairpunk, YES. That's got to be a thing).

Often it's hard enough for writers when we're asked to describe our manuscript's genre to an agent or editor. What exactly do I write? And now those of us who thought we were writing Steampunk apparently have to ask ourselves another set of questions. Is it gritty enough to be Steampunk? Or is it Bustlepunk? Have I written a gaslight fantasy? 

Perhaps part of the problem is that we still haven't defined exactly what Steampunk is all about. Is it a genre, a movement, a lifestyle, an aesthetic? It's different for everyone, it means something different to everyone. If you ask one hundred people what Steampunk means to them, you may get similar answers, but never two the exact same. 

That's why there are entire forum threads dedicated to the question what is steampunk And there is no one out there who can tell you exactly what, and have everyone agree with them.

So should we go hogwild with the punks? Punkwild? Or maybe we can include a lot of these under the wide umbrella of Steampunk. I'm fairly certain there's room here, and I'll jostle people to make way for you (politely of course). 

But is there even a problem with going punkwild? What's the issue? Well, there might not be a problem if you're just dressing a certain way and telling people you're a stitchpunk. But authors who write in the punk genres have got to draw a line somewhere, don't we? Do you write to an agent and ask him to represent your "trollpunk" novel? 

There are quite a few "punks" as genres that are pretty well established. Should we stick to these?

What are your thoughts on the punk epidemic? We'd love your two pennies on the matter.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Band of the Month: Circus Contraption

Since we've already featured one of our punkette's favorite bands (Abney Park), it's time for another!

Circus Contraption is an eerie mixture of funky jazz and circus tunes. You'll find them both horrifying and delightful, and most likely delightfully horrifying.

From fast-paced, frenzied songs like "We're All Mad" to the slow, creepy "The Odditorium" every song has something to make you shiver.

If "Circuspunk" isn't a thing, it might be now. So close your eyes and let Circus Contraption take you away to a creepy carnival, where chilling and thrilling spectacles await you in every tent and booth.

Welcome to the freak show. Do come in, you'll never want to leave.