Clockwork Futures: The Science of Steampunk and the Reinvention of the Modern World

Clockwork Futures: The Science of Steampunk and the Reinvention of the Modern World

by Brandy Schillace


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Clockwork Futures: The Science of Steampunk and the Reinvention of the Modern World by Brandy Schillace

Airships and electric submarines, automatons and mesmerists—welcome to the wild world of steampunk. It is all speculative—or is it? Meet the intrepid souls who pushed Victorian technology to its limits and paved the way for our present age.The gear turns, the whistle blows, and the billows expand with electro-mechanical whirring. The shimmering halo of Victorian technology lures us with the stuff of dreams, of nostalgia, of alternate pasts and futures that entice with the suave of James Bond and the savvy of Sherlock Holmes. Fiction, surely.But what if the unusual gadgetry so often depicted as “steampunk” actually made an appearance in history? Zeppelins and steam-trains; arc-lights and magnetic rays: these fascinating (and sometimes doomed) inventions bounded from the tireless minds of unlikely heroes. Such men and women served no secret societies and fought no super-villains, but they did build engines, craft automatons, and engineer a future they hoped would run like clockwork.Along the way, however, these same inventors ushered in a contest between desire and dread. From Newton to Tesla, from candle and clockwork to the age of electricity and manufactured power, technology teetered between the bright dials of fantastic futures and the dark alleyways of industrial catastrophe.In the mesmerizing Clockwork Futures, Brandy Schillace reveals the science behind steampunk, which is every bit as extraordinary as what we might find in the work of Jules Verne, and sometimes, just as fearful. These stories spring from the scientific framework we have inherited. They shed light on how we pursue science, and how we grapple with our destiny—yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781681775180
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 09/05/2017
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 633,388
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Author, historian, and public intellectual, Dr. Brandy Schillace seeks to uncover the human stories at the center of science and medicine. She is Senior Research Associate and Public Engagement Fellow for the Dittrick Museum of Medical History and Editor in Chief of BMJ’s Medical Humanities Journal. Recent publications include Death's Summer Coat(a cultural history of death and dying) and Clockwork Futures(steampunk science in the age of manufactured power). She has appeared on public radio, local television, and most recently, the Travel Channel’s "Mysteries at the Museum" season premier.

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Clockwork Futures: The Science of Steampunk and the Reinvention of the Modern World 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
DarkRavenDH 8 months ago
A somewhat unblended mixture… My thanks go out to the crew at Pegasus Books for my copy of this book. Live long and prosper! The world of Steampunk explores a world that is sometimes extremely advanced, but uses fossil fuel, batteries, and clockwork to accomplish wonders. Imagine driving a car that burns coal, robots that require periodic winding to keep the clockwork ticking and ray-guns that operate from a battery pack. Most Steampunk Literature is set in Victorian Europe or the American Wild West. This is a world where gasoline, alternating current, computers and electronic devices do not exist. Industries are powered either by steam or water wheels. Some famous people appear from time to time. I’ve noticed that when electric power is included, the work of Thomas Edison is usually used. Edison favored DC batteries while rival Nikola Tesla, father of AC is ignored. Edison made life harsh for Tesla, but today AC current rules! The inventions in Steampunk are fantastic! There are flying conveyances of all kinds, warships, cars, trucks, tanks, and robots for any occasion. Alchemy and vivisection are considered science, working with the known world in the 1880’s. This book straddles the No Man’s Land between fiction and possible textbook. The data portions of the book are a fine intro to the aspects of a Steampunk society. The technology they do have, the way they dress, law enforcement, etc, are laid out with fair clarity. The fiction part shows how various authors take theory and create masterpieces. I’m very torn on this one. I do not find it interesting enough to really like it, but I cannot say that it is boring, either. I will give it a neutral score, three stars… Quoth the Raven…