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A rotation of thoughts

  1. I wrote about windmills (among other things) for my PhD in Toronto. I've seen far more of them since I moved to England. easterbunny once set me a windmill-themed photo challenge.

  2. I bought my first Gelaskin, and it arrived last week. I hadn't realized it was a Toronto company. The robust, protective, reusable iPod sticker has a windmill on it, which is why I chose it.

  3. Today, catvalente used "windmillpunk" as a possible label for fourteenth-century high tech developments.

  4. A web search tells me this is part of a zeitgeist. In January, someone used windmillpunk on the forum at Asimovs.com.

  5. Perhaps "clockpunk" doesn't sound sufficiently medieval? Even if it did, it occurs to me that no one would think that it included water clocks. (Clock, coming from glock, must have bells, you know, in the same way that all maps are oriented by turning east to the top.)

  6. Would windmillpunk include vertical as well as horizontal-axis windmills? Does it go back to the eighth or ninth century in the Middle East or twelfth-century England?

  7. But if I argue for that, then doesn't steampunk start with ancient Greek toys?

Despite appearances in this post to the contrary, I can't be that obsessed with windmills. I don't even have an icon of any.



( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 9th, 2010 11:43 pm (UTC)
The UK has a profusion of defunct windmills, but very few operating ones. It also has many windmill enthusiasts.
The Netherlands has a profusion of operating windmills, and windmill enthusiasts.
Therefore UK windmill enthusiasts, and researchers, go to the Netherlands to see real operating windmills.
If you're interested in that, go to Amsterdam and take the train north to Koog-Zaandam, then walk to the nearby windmills where there is a row of still-operating windmills. A former colleague of mine lives there and is one of a group of enthusiasts who operate a windmill (it's rather like a pre-industrial version of people who operate old steam engines), gave me a detailed tour of his mill and a bunch of other ones. Millers all know each other, it seems.
Feb. 9th, 2010 11:55 pm (UTC)
That's a good thought. I haven't been to the Netherlands since before my interest in windmills developed.

I do mostly go see working ones when driving out specifically to see windmills here. They're more likely to be open, much as the non-functional variety are very photogenic too.

I haven't gone out of my way for modern windmill farms, but I do like the enormous, spare modern ones too. There was a single one by our freeway exit in Toronto. Driving to Leipzig, we drove through a group of perhaps fifty of them. I loved that.

I used to belong to SPAB-Mills Section and went to their annual meetings in London. I was a rare person there under retirement age. Eventually, it all became too technical in ways which didn't match the nature of my interest, so I've stopped subscribing. The best part of the journal was the ads for mills for sale. Entertaining reading.
Feb. 10th, 2010 07:37 am (UTC)
How about cogpunk?
Feb. 10th, 2010 10:07 pm (UTC)
Simple. Elegant. Thematically, it would be a sequel to wheelpunk. ;)
Feb. 11th, 2010 12:44 am (UTC)
Should we form a movement?

I suspect that Karl Schroeder's Ventus books would count...
Feb. 15th, 2010 04:00 pm (UTC)
Ludicrously sophisticated and effective Greek mechanical invention is definitely a real if under used theme in existing fiction. Clash of the Titans had the mechanical owl. The Disney Aladin series had Mechanicles the insane Greek mechanical genius who built robots and so on. According to popular media all ancient civilizations were capable of building sophisticated mechanical traps that would last a millennium or more. Then there is all the stuff Archimedes is supposed to have built (burning lens etc.)

I was going to suggest gearpunk.

So you think clepsydrapunk would be too obscure?
Feb. 15th, 2010 04:45 pm (UTC)
There are even real examples of greek cogwork with the antikythera device - something an ex-boss of mine worked on from the astronomical perspective.

I think cogpunk has more of a ring (or solid forged iron) to it :-)

Other books that could be absorbed into the 'movement' would include Jay Lake's Escapement and Mainspring...
Feb. 10th, 2010 11:54 am (UTC)
I can only find a Wild West Playmobil one, or I'd 'shop you an icon.
Feb. 10th, 2010 10:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you for looking! I appreciate it. Clearly, Playmobil needs to expand their range to be even more relevant to me.
Feb. 10th, 2010 01:48 pm (UTC)
Clockpunk is difficult to say. I keep wanting to put an extra "L" in it, which is surely a name for those ball-bearing clocks you can make.
Feb. 10th, 2010 03:19 pm (UTC)
Well, if water clock counts, my The Grass King's Concubine is clockpunk. Which is cool.
Feb. 10th, 2010 10:06 pm (UTC)
That IS cool!
Feb. 10th, 2010 06:43 pm (UTC)
Nothing sensible to say about punk of any type, but I went to check out the Gelaskins and some of the designs are gorgeous. Everyone in the house wants one now! Nice rec and nobody had heard of them before, so thanks!
Feb. 10th, 2010 10:06 pm (UTC)
I've been coveting one for months. Friends in the states and Canada sporadically mentioned buying them over the past few years. I thought I would finally when I was in the US over Christmas, but then noticed that not only do they finally ship abroad, but given my time constraints, it was actually going to be cheaper to have it sent here than to the US.

I'm very pleased with it. It's far more svelte than protective skins I've had for mp3 players in the past and - on the first few uses - does indeed seem like reasonably robust protection as well as decoration.
Feb. 10th, 2010 08:08 pm (UTC)
I always tend to think of the "clock" in clockpunk as being an abbreviation for "clockwork" - which I think gives a starting date (at least for western Europe) somewhere in the early 14th century. But also makes me want to counter-bid the Antikythera mechanism against Hero's steam toys.

Next question - any ideas for what comes before windmillpunk?
Feb. 10th, 2010 10:04 pm (UTC)
I vote for glasspunk. I think there's huge potential there. Blown glass was developed around the first century BCE/CE, but it wasn't until a thousand years later (approximately, from memory) that stills and alembics were developed. There's no evidence of the sandglass/hourglass before the fourteenth century, but the infrastructure necessary to make them goes back to blown glass.

Cast glass, of course, substantially predates blown glass.
Feb. 16th, 2010 01:56 pm (UTC)
Oh, clockpunk is already a thing, I think! At least, several_bees et al wrote Clockers a few years ago, which was set early Victorian-ish.
Feb. 16th, 2010 02:20 pm (UTC)
It is, but clockpunk is normally Renaissancian, not medieval.

For example: http://davinciautomata.wordpress.com/2007/03/03/introducing-clockpunk/

But the thirteenth century, when mechanical clocks were developed, is a little early for most definitions of the Renaissance. Whenever that was.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )