Steampunk's founding fathers talk shop

A reader writes, "Tim Powers, James Blaylock, and K.W. Jeter, all Cal State Fullerton alumni, give their university's paper an interview about their creation of steampunk, their friendship with Philip K. Dick, writing bad poetry for the paper when they attended the school, and Powers' book 'On Stranger Tides' being optioned for the next 'Pirates of the Caribbean' movie."
"There's at least several steampunk conventions now, and they don't really have many books in the dealers room," Powers said. "They have tons of costumes and goggles and ray guns. It's more of a costume phenomenon, which has always been a big part of science fiction fandom. It seems that it has evolved dynamically into another area and sort of out of dutiful loyalty keeps referring back to me, Blaylock and Jeter."

Due to steampunk's popularity, Jeter's novels Morlock Night and Infernal Devices will be going back into print in the spring. Jeter, who is in the process of moving to San Francisco, commented on the trend.

"The steampunk enthusiasm is entertaining to me, my having coined the term and all. I'm glad that people are having fun with the various concepts associated with it," Jeter wrote in an e-mail. "There's possibly a deeper element involved; though, I don't want to get too pretentious about it - that would be the admiration by steampunk devotees for the handcrafted, artisanal aspect of everyday objects from previous industrial periods, versus the cheap plastic crap that lines the store shelves nowadays. There's a humanness, for lack of a better word, to old stuff - and old ways - that the modern world lacks."

Powers and Blaylock agreed that they love the gadgets and details in steampunk stories.

"They came naturally for me," Blaylock said. "I was crazy for Jules Verne, and so you read 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and I think, 'I want one of them submarines. I'm going to put one of them submarines in my book.'"

Next 'Pirates' movie based on book by CSUF alumnus

(Image: Janelle Conner/Daily Titan)