I just returned from Dragon*Con 2008, in Atlanta. If you’ve never been, or never heard of it, Dragon*Con is one of the biggest sci-fi/fantasy conventions in North America, with over 30,000 attendees in recent years. This year had people from “Battlestar Galactica”, “Firefly”, “Farscape”, “Star Trek”, “Star Wars”, “Lord of the Rings”, “Harry Potter”, and even a few from good old “Babylon 5”.
But this year showed a growing interest in the genre of steampunk. There were a lot of people dressed up in steampunk regalia, ranging anywhere from just a pair of goggles and duster, to full-on gizmo-ladden explorers and gadget-wielding gentry. There were also several dealers in the dealer’s room (or should I say “dealer’s multi-acer floor”) selling a few steampunk-ish items such as modded goggles, Victorian-esque clothes, and flintlocks to holster at your side. Abney Park was also at Dragon*Con this year, in concert, as was a group called ArcAttack who use Tesla Coils and robotic drums to create a truly unique techno-musical show (seeing Tesla coils sing the “Doctor Who” theme song is priceless!). Finally, there were two discussion panels on the steampunk genre, although I only made it to one of them. Micky Dolenz (of the Monkees), who also had a panel there, spoke of the “steam-powered guitars” used in the olden days, although his reference was more in jest than an intentional reference to steampunk itself.
Of course, the rising steampunk interest only constituted a tiny fraction of Dragon*Con. Still, it was nice to see the growth of this fascinating sub-sub-sub genre first hand.
Read on see a few pictures.