Steampunk Meets the Wild West
The Wild West (or “Weird West”) theme was always part of Steampunk. It could be argued that the two major historical concepts are Victorian England, and Wild West America. Any time you see a saloon girl or gunslinger, we’re pretty much talking about inspiration from the American west.
There’s never any need to worry about historic accuracy with Steampunk, but the more one thinks about the sources of inspiration, the easier it is to think up new ideas or variants. For example, if we are aware that we’re drawing from Westerns as the core mythology, where could we go with that?
Gunslingers are obvious and a lot of fun, but in Westerns, there were always madams, blacksmiths, cowboys, train engineers, school marms, ranchers, farmers, gamblers, newspapermen, snake oil salesmen, wagon train settlers, doctors, pony express, Sheriffs and Marshals, outlaws, miners, town drunks, the Cavalry, etc.
Steampunking any of those would be a great place to start. How about a steampunk Little House on the Prairie or Bonanza? That would be amazing.
Winthrop has worked hard to promote its western and mining town past. It’s really the perfect place to bring out the clockwork pistols, industrial gadgetry, and frontier character types.
If you’d like to add to the discussion about fantasy western themes and how we can portray them, feel free to join in. Pictures, links to stories, articles, or other events welcome, as well as ideas and pro tips.
Weird Weird West – Professor Elemental featuring Steam Powered Giraffe
You Should Check Out the Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention
Probably the biggest event loosely based on the topic of western steampunk: the Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention in Tuscon, Arizona.
Held in March each year, it’s only getting bigger and better – unlike many steampunk conventions that eventually collapse under their own weight, this one has been going strong and shows no signs of stopping. It’s a pretty good example of how this variant of the genre is gaining in popularity, and a terrific source of Western Steampunk inspiration.
The excitement takes place at the Old Tuscon Theme Park which is still used as a set location for countless movies. There are rides, trains, shows, etc. all with the western theme. You do have to be off site by 6pm unless attending the concert, and there are places to stay nearby.
Go check out the Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention website to puchase tickets or get visual inspiration.