Could Greenpunk be the New Steampunk?

Illustration for article titled Could Greenpunk be the New Steampunk?

Steampunk's Victorian and Edwardian aesthetics, combined with its imagined technologies has captured the imagination of designers, hobbyists, and writers. Now a literary publicist hopes to launch the same kind of movement for green technologies.

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Matt Staggs, a literary publicist who specializes in speculative fiction, has put forth a "GreenPunk Manifesto," to define the concept and his hopes for a possible eco-friendly fiction movement:

GreenPunk: a technophilic spec-fic movement centered on characters using and being affected by the use of DIY renewable resources, recycling and repurposing. GreenPunk would emphasize the ability of the individual – and his or her responsibility – for positive ecological and social change.

Rejecting steampunk's romanticism while embracing its focus on approachable, "knowable" technology (as opposed to the "black box" nature of digital tech), GreenPunk envisions a world in which the detritus of consumer culture as propogated by the Elite is appropriated and repurposed by the masses toward the reconstruction of a devastated ecology and the address of social ills.

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What Staggs misses, however, is the design component that has made steampunk so popular. Because it's rooted to a particular aesthetic, steampunk is easy to recognize and simple for enthusiasts to replicate. Staggs is trying to compile a list of novels and stories that fit within his definition of greenpunk, but he might do better to work with designers and solicit images as well.

A GreenPunk Manifesto [Enter the Octopus]

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DISCUSSION

Ooookay. Create a manifesto outlining a new SpecFic genre and then wait for the stories to fill it. As I wrote last week, the term "steampunk" was a jokey term that K. W. Jeter coined to describe stories he and others had already been writing for a few years.

I don't think consciously manufacturing a fad works all that often. My idea for "teapunk" never really took off.