Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Off Topic [Maybe] Ebook and Online Film---Popular Culture, Steam Punk, and the American Civil War

Steampunk is a sub-genre of fiction literature that combines science fiction and alternate history fiction. It came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s. In the early 1990s, CWL first encountered Steampunk literature through The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling. One part detective story and one part historical thriller, and one part speculative science fiction The Difference Engine is set in 1880s during the Industrial Revolution. So don't be surpised by the steam-driven engines that power Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine. The computer age arrives a century early.

Steampunk literature involves an era where coal fired steam engines are widely used. Specifically, Steampunk features anachronistic technology meeting futuristic innovations during the Victorian era. Generally, a Victorian perspective on politics, races, high and low cultures, art and architectural styles is the worldview of these novels. The fictional machines found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne may appear along side other to-occur-in-the-next-century devices.

Steampunk fiction is found on the same shelves in bookstores that hold Cyberpunk fiction. There is considerable sharing of concepts between Steampunk and Cyberpunk. Cyberpunk? Think of the film Bladerunner. Both Steampunk and Cyberpunk have counterparts in the visual arts and interpretative music arts. Which leads CWL to The Pinkerton Files.

"A groundbreaking new series, on sale today on iTunes, Audible, Kobo, and other digital retailers, sets the real-life adventures of Allan Pinkerton, America's first private eye, in an alternate reality where the history of the United States takes radically different turns because of steam technology. Written by Canadian author David Luchuk, The Pinkerton Files re-casts history into a steampunk reflection of itself where fact and fiction collide into a moody, sophisticated and surreal adventure.

The series is available in both digital audio and ebook formats.The audio is narrated by Michael Hogan — known internationally for his role as Battlestar Galactica's Colonel Saul Tigh — as well as his wife, Susan, and their children, Gabriel and Jennie. "Playing Allan Pinkerton was the most fun I've had in a while," said Hogan. "The world that Luchuk has created is a truly amazing place to be." Developed by Audio Joe Inc. in partnership with HarperCollinsCanada, The Pinkerton Files is the first digital-only product of its kind launched by a major publisher."

CWL has received a link to three episodes of The Pinkerton Files and will happily find time in the next two weeks to view them.

The Text in quotes is provided by the Pinkerton Files author and HaperCollins Publishing.

Top Image Source: Kyle Cassidy and is registered on Wikipedia Commons.


Brendan said...

This is so weird it might just be wonderful. I have one lingering question, though--in a parallel, alternate steam punk reality, is Pinkerton still a bungling jerk? Does the ability to wander the land on the back of a giant, steam-powered robotic spider in a pair of brass goggles improve or hinder his capabilities and sense of obligation to his fellow steam-man?

Harry Smeltzer said...

I fiurst saw the term "Steam Punk" on an end cap in Barnes and Noble. I thought, "Damn I must be getting old" becasue I had never heard it. So I looked up one of those skinny young clerks that work at every B&N whom I was sure must know what it meant. He didn't. He actually had to look it up on the internet. Best as we could figure, it's something like "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen." Lots of evil turn of the 20th century Germans (but not Nazis) and more futurist weaponry, mixed in with locomotives and zeppelins. Oh yeah,and hot chicks.

TRX said...

I love the feel of a hardcover or the glossy look of a magazine in my hands. However, I recognize the convenience of eBooks, especially when traveling. You can't exactly have your favorite reads in a suitcase.Multimedia