Thursday, December 10, 2009

Steampunk Non-Fiction

I'm not completely sold on Steampunk, a niche at best (even though Loathsome, Dark, and Deep has some Steampunkish elements to it), but a story on NPR this morning about Charles Babbage's Difference Engine piqued my interest.

(Fully operational Difference Engine at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA)

From the article:

The story goes that Babbage was inspired to create the Difference Engine one day when he came across multiple errors in a book of astronomical calculations. "I wish to God these calculations had been executed by steam!" he exclaimed.

Listen (or read) the rest of the story.

You have to love a guy who exclaims "I wish to God these calculations had been executed by steam!"

10 comments:

K.C. Shaw said...

Cool! I can't quite wrap my head around steampunk myself (although I find it an exciting idea in the abstract), but real-life steampunk is pretty awesome. I wonder if Babbage wore goggles.

Carrie Harris said...

I love steampunk, although I love cyberpunk even more. I think it's a matter of finding GOOD steampunk. There's a lot out there that's just kind of meh.

Barry Napier said...

Yeah, same here...don't think I have read a steampunk story I actually enjoyed...

Jamie Eyberg said...

It amazes me the inventions of the past and what they were intended for. Of course, someday people will say the same thing about our way of life.

Aaron Polson said...

KC - He does in my imagination.

Carrie - Drowning in meh, for sure.

Barry - It's been a bit overkill of late.

Jamie - Yeah, like computers that take up a whole desk. Ridiculous!

Natalie L. Sin said...

Well, it does wonders on wrinkled clothes!

Cate Gardner said...

I'm not as in love with steampunk as I expected to be and a little disappointed by that fact.

Aaron Polson said...

Natalie - *shakes fist at wrinkles*

Cate - I'm with you. Such promise, but...somehow the execution falls short.

abrokenlaptop said...

In the last show, some of the Victoria's Secret models had steampunk-looking wings. Gorgeous and amazing! I totally dug the look of them.

-Mercedes

katey said...

I saw this just before I left for the weekend on someone's twitter feed (probably Cherie Priest, actually!) and almost died of joy. Gah.