From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Top 10 Steampunk Media

Yesterday we gave you steampunk lit, and today we move on to other media. There are a lot of great steampunk movies to choose from (though Repo! is, sadly, not among them), but also some great websites, music and games. Fantasy staffers Nicole D. Leffel and Samantha Chapman picked ten of their favorites with input from Keith Thompson and Evelyn Kriete. (Descriptions and commentary by Samantha.)

10. The Illusionist
This movie, set in turn-of-the-century Vienna, is similar to The Prestige in that its protagonist is a magician and there are top-hats involved. Intrigue and romance give this movie a mystical tone, focusing on the historical setting but still indulging in steampunky gadgets and fun.

9. Wild Wild West
Less Victorian England, more Reconstruction America, but still has bulletproof chainmail, flying machines, steam tanks and a giant mechanical spider. Wild Wild West may not have been exactly a successful movie, but it sure was steampunk.

8. Treasure Planet
Full three-masted sailing ships in outer space rather sum up the aesthetic of this retelling of Treasure Island. The same pirate-filled action-adventure about a young English boy, but this time with cyborgs and solar-powered surfboards.

7. Castle in the Sky
An early film by Hayao Miyazaki, Castle in the Sky features airships and flying cities, sky pirates and spunky, begoggled children. This may be the most obviously steampunk movie to come out of studio Ghibli, but other Miyazaki films like Princess Mononoke and Howl’s Moving Castle have also been pointed to as steampunk.

6. Steamboy
Described as the quintessential steampunk movie, Steamboy takes place in an alternate 19th century, telling the story of a 13-year-old inventor, working with cogs and steam power to make his creations. Full of adventure as well as a classically steampunk setting.

5. Castle Falkenstein
Half-novel and half-tabletop RPG, Castle Falkenstein is set in an alternate universe that combines our sense of Victorian England with traditional steampunky tech, faeries and futuristic ray guns. The RPG is designed for an actual Victorian aesthetic; as dice are something that vagabonds and other unsavories play with, Castle Falkenstein is based around playing cards.

4. Clockwork Cabaret
Steampunk music is featured on this weekly online radio show. What counts as steampunk music, or “music o’ gears”? An intriguing mix of jazz, blues, goth, folk, swing, dark cabaret, classical, and other genres that come together to create a unique sound.

3. Willows Magazine
Looking for steampunk and fantasy/horror stories? The Willows magazine publishes Weird fiction from straight-up fantasy to smart horror (less gore please!). The newspaper-style images on the website help bring a deliciously old-style feel to the publication.

2. The Prestige
The turn-of-the-century setting still has enough tophats and suits to qualify as Victorian, especially with two lead characters dressing up for their magic shows most of the movie. Technology from trick rings to enormous lightningy machines is present all through this twisting steampunk story.

1. Brass Goggles Site
A blog devoted to “the lighter side of all things steampunk”, Brass Goggles brings together fun steampunk things from books to movies to pictures to anything else you can think of. Lighthearted and cheery and a great place to seek out new shiny things to look at.

There are a lot more websites, games, movies and other steampunk media out there. What did we miss? Tell us your favorites in the comments.

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