Steampunk sneaked up on me. I picked up a book. I had no idea what it was, no idea of the impact it would have on me, fifteen years later. Then there were movies: Wild, Wild West, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I rewatched classics like The Time Machine, Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea.
I still had no inkling that steampunk was a distinct genre. I thought the costumes were cool – a mash up of historical re-enactment (I had been in the SCA for years) and science fiction. Cool! I could let my imagination loose!
Those were the early days. Dearheart and I finally found local kindred spirits when we brought our steampunk costumes out to play at the 2008 Australian Costumers Guild Ball.
Next was the 2009 Maiden Voyage of the Olympia – a live action roleplay event run by some local members – a fantastic turnout. We had discovered so many like-minded playmates!
More events followed. Steampunk Safari at the Zoo, Steampunk Picnic in the Park, Photo shoots in the South Australian Library…
More Balls, Conventions, a charity afternoon tea called Teanannigans (complete with Tea duelling) to raise money for the Cancer Council. Last year we relived the glory of steam trains at the first Steampunk Expo, held at the Railway Museum (now to become an annual event. Huzzah!)
Our most recent romp was at the annual Time Traveller’s Picnic, in December.
Each event a success due to those like-minded steampunks who make up our friendly Steampunk SA community. My steampunk friends have helped me through a dark time in my life. They have reminded me how to have fun, demonstrated a positive outlook and helped me to find my inner child once more and revel in the wonder that is the world we live in – and the world we can make it.
Fifteen years after finding that first book, steampunk has provided me with an entirely new playground – and hopeful career as a writer. Who’d have thunk it?
And did I mention the really cool clothes?