|"If you're going to mess about|
with something, do something
real and meaningful with it.
Don't screw it up.
Make it better."
—James H. Carrott, co-author
Sebastopol, CA, Feb 12, 2013—Mashups are big these days. All across our culture, from books to videos to programming languages and more, we've become fascinated with combining things that don't typically coexist—like Justin Bieber and steampunk.
Steampunk, a mashup in its own right, has gone mainstream, with music videos from the likes of Nicki Minaj; America's Next Top Model photo shoots; and Prada's Fall/Winter menswear collection featuring haute couture, steampunk style. Some steampunk fans revile this celebrity. But James H. Carrott, co-author of Vintage Tomorrows, says that's just how cultural change happens. "Things get appropriated; they affect the culture in some way or another, and the people who are at the heart of trying to make that change move onto the next key idea."
So what is steampunk, exactly, and why should we care? Carrott, a cultural historian, says "steampunk is playing with the past." The world that steampunk envisions is a mad-inventor's collection of 21st century-inspired contraptions, powered by steam and driven by gears. It's a whole new past; one that has a lot to say about the futures we want to see.
In Vintage Tomorrows, Intel's resident futurist Brian David Johnson (@IntelFuturist) joins Carrott (@CultHistorian) in a globe-spanning journey to dig beyond definitions and into the heart of this growing subculture. Through interviews with experts such as Margaret Atwood, China Miéville, William Gibson, Cory Doctorow, Bruce Sterling, and James Gleick, this book looks into steampunk's vision of old-world craftsmen making beautiful hand-tooled gadgets, and what it means for our age of disposable technology.
The past is steampunk's playground—a place where dynamic minds and ready hands create a fantasy world imbued with history, humanity, and a sense of humor. With Vintage Tomorrows, you will discover how this elaborate view of a future that never existed can help us look forward.
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For more information about the book, including table of contents, author bios, and cover graphic, see: http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0636920026631.do
Steampunking Our Future is a free companion ebook to Vintage Tomorrows. Packed with exclusive interviews (including Greg Broadmore, Ann and Jeff Vandermeer, and Margaret Killjoy), notes, images, and more gorgeous gadgets than you can shake a stick at, Steampunking Our Future offers you a seat in the time machine. Download your free copy here.
Watch co-author Brian David Johnson's presentations atO'Reilly Media's Tools of Change for Publishing conference on Wednesday, Feb 13:
For more information on the Vintage Tomorrows documentary, with more in-depth interviews from the book, see:
Click here to see podcasts and a series of interviews from Intel's Tomorrow Project:
Listen to co-authors Brian David Johnson and James H. Carrott as they discuss what Steampunk (as a genre, movement, lifestyle, and philosophy) teaches us about the ways people are thinking about their relationships with technology in this podcast from O'Reilly Media:
About Maker Media
Maker Media is a global platform for connecting makers with each other, with products and services, and with our partners. Through media, events and ecommerce, Maker Media serves a growing community of makers who bring a DIY mindset to technology. Whether as hobbyists or professionals, makers are creative, resourceful and curious, developing projects that demonstrate how they can interact with the world around them. The launch of MAKE Magazine in 2005, followed by Maker Faire in 2006, jumpstarted a worldwide Maker Movement, which is transforming innovation, culture and education. Located in Sebastopol, CA, Maker Media is the publisher of MAKE Magazine and the producer of Maker Faire. It also develops "getting started" kits and books that are sold in its Maker Shed store as well as in retail channels.
O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.
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