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"Lacepunk definition" Topic

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Inner Sanctum Inactive Member04 Apr 2013 2:22 a.m. PST

Most of you know Steampunk, which takes the Victorian world of the industrial revolution to the nearer planets.

There is, as yet, no clarification of Lacepunk. So here is my attempt.

Lacepunk refers to science fiction based in the Age of Reason. During this period there was a great expansion of knowledge both of the natural laws and areas of the planet by the western powers, particularly Great Britain. This is the age of the first multinational companies, some of whom held more wealth, power and land than their parent countries. Some claim that the Seven Years War was the first World War.

While Steampunk concentrates on the mechanical, even the electrical, lacepunk concentrates of the biological. This is the age of Dracula and Frankenstein's monster. That is not to discard the possibility of alien invasion. The Martians could have come earlier. Civilisations beneath the sea can exert their influence on nearby shores. A Predator gives an honoured adversary a souvenir flintlock, hinting at encounters in some other steaming jungle. Perhaps we should add Lacepulp and Steampulp to our wargaming vocabulary?

In Steampunk Egypt looms large, but in Lacepunk it is the old civilisations of the Americas and the east that still have some treasures and horrors left. This is India before the Raj, China with its warlords and the hidden land of Japan. Gods old and newer face extinction in the harsh light of scientific method. This is the age of the Hellfire club and other secret societies. Pirates, privateers, merchant adventurers and private armies boldly go where no European have gone before, seeking new treasures, new civilisations and exploiting them.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP04 Apr 2013 5:21 a.m. PST

Look forward to seeing where this goes!

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP04 Apr 2013 6:54 a.m. PST

Anyone with stock pins stuck all through their clothing is definitely lacepunk ~,~

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP04 Apr 2013 8:33 a.m. PST

I HATE the term "lacepunk!"
I hate everything with "punk" in its name, including C M Punk, the wrestler.

Just put a corset on the broads and be done with it.

Lacepunk refers to science fiction based in the Age of Reason.

No, it does not. I reject the term and the definition.

I absolutely refuse to consider that Mister Franklin's Leyden Jar Galvanic Projectors have anything at all to do with the term "punk".
Whether or not his mistress wears a corset is irrelevant to gaming.

And you can shove the term "Steampunk" too, as far as I am concerned.
It is nothing but VSF with corsets.

jpattern2 Inactive Member04 Apr 2013 9:21 a.m. PST

Please consider participating in my new OFMpunk Kickstarter. It will mostly involve men in sedan chairs yelling at kids to stay off their lawns, but with rivets and corsets.

skippy0001 Supporting Member of TMP04 Apr 2013 9:22 a.m. PST

Well, I hate 'Punk' also so I stick with Victorian Science Fiction for the 19thC.
For the 18thC-
Adventure in the Age of Reason-Newton's Canon and Franklins' Folly-Lace Puckle-Lace, Stocks and Two Smoking Ribaldaquins-
Muskets, Mayhem and Milady-Prussians, Russians & French, OH MY!-Reason, Revolution & Ribaldry-Space:1759-Georgian Reasonable Fiction.

Well, I tried…

Roderick Robertson Fezian04 Apr 2013 9:36 a.m. PST

This is the age of Dracula and Frankenstein's monster

Since both books were written in Victorian times, and both stories take place in Victorian times, I find this "definition" to be a bit a bit silly.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP04 Apr 2013 10:02 a.m. PST

Riveted corsets?
They hold back a LOT…

KatieL Inactive Member04 Apr 2013 10:09 a.m. PST

Alternate 70s history -- "punkpunk"…

Militia Pete Supporting Member of TMP04 Apr 2013 1:15 p.m. PST

Coming this fall to the WWE

Technopunk. With Cyndy Lauper as his manager…

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP04 Apr 2013 5:53 p.m. PST

I dislike the term as well. It's VSF -- not 'punk' anything.

platypus01au04 Apr 2013 8:33 p.m. PST

Hellfire Club. If it's the same as the one in Sydney you will need some whips, rope, handcuffs as well as the corset.


Coelacanth04 Apr 2013 8:37 p.m. PST

"Georgian Science Fiction" might be better (even if used for the Restoration period); or "Baroque Science Fiction", or perhaps "Extravagant Gothic". Let's please give the Punks a rest.

By the way, "Frankenstein" was first published in 1818, during the Regency (if memory serves). A second edition, with some changes, was published in 1831, six years before Queen Victoria was crowned.


Meiczyslaw Inactive Member04 Apr 2013 8:37 p.m. PST

VSF and Steampunk get confused because they've got many of the same elements: primarily the time period, plus the period's approach to Sci Fi. What makes the "punk" is a transposition of the punk ethos on top of that: protagonists tend to be lower class anti-heroes, and antagonists are the powers that be. Or at least, used to be before it became a mainstream fashion.

Billy the Kid with a gatling rifle is steampunk; Teddy Roosevelt with one is not.

So, thinking about "lacepunk", the important point you're missing is the "punk". Make your heroes roving thugs of swordsman who actually know the historical meaning of swashbuckling.

Inner Sanctum Inactive Member05 Apr 2013 3:30 a.m. PST

I'm liking Baroque SF – BSF. Here's a slightly edited e-mail on the subject:
Lacepunk is an excellent concept. In addition to all you've described, there is always of course deepest darkest Africa, that sensual and mysterious mistress that has swayed and captivated many an otherwise reasonable chap! The 16th and 17thC saw trading delegations coming back from the interior with fantastical tales of wondrous kingdoms and bearing great wealth. Colourful natives and sweet dusky maidens… Slaves, gold, ivory and precious spices, barks and gums. Not all came back of course. Tales were told of terrible animals and monstrous beings only slightly less horrifying than the Devil himself! Great kingdoms were described, with warriors uncounted and impregnable cities. Tremendous wealth could be won by brave and steadfast men, but failure and death were only a turn of Fate's card away for the weak and fainthearted. Many the expedition that set out in good spirit, only to suffer fates unknown. Natives might speak of terrible noises and flashing fire, but could only show braver souls the oddest of marks and gouges on the ground and perhaps fire damaged vegetation. Surely not enough to explain away an entire parties' disappearance?
Lacepulp eh? This might be the more heroic kind of adventure, with larger than life successes and defeats. Or perhaps Cthuhlu style monsters from some cursed jungle temple. Daylight might hold precious the clarity of Reason, yet when dusk falls, strange horrors creep forth to hound and torture…

Pyrate Captain28 Jul 2013 9:46 a.m. PST

Perhaps it would be a more apt term to use Lace-Gothic as the elements of Gothic horror held all the elements of science and experimentation suggested here.

I agree with OFM. Steampunk grew at a time when the counter-culture social movement of the west was one of dark prophecy of hopelessness, corruption, greed, Orwellian society, etc.

The Steam-"punk" adage was just an adaptation to try and identify a science fiction genre with a contemporary genre.

To apply the suffix, "punk" to every genre to follow is probably not the most descript, especially in view of the many dark prophecies having become reality, punk itself has more or less been replaced with Goth as a social genre.

To quote the slogan from the Dark Future miniatures game, "I have seen the future and it is dark". In contrast, the age of reason would have coined the phrase, "I have seen the future and it is light".

mrinku Inactive Member24 Nov 2013 5:54 p.m. PST

I like Baroque Science Fiction in this context. It's a period where the *real* investigation of nature was just as fantastic as during the modern age (if not more). If you want to go "punk" for Age of Reason, you're pretty much describing a Picaresque setting and probably involving a heavy dose of pirates and/or mercenaries. Fantastic elements can be left out or added to taste.

I almost guarantee you could take the basic plot and characters (without the tech) of most Cyberpunk stories and set it in 1635. Selfishness, greed, conspiracies, slavery, war and secrets abound, with staggering wealth on one hand and crushing poverty on the other. Pamphleteers were the bloggers of their day and there was a big struggle to control or set free information.

Your bible will probably be Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle, though that's set a little later in the period. Dumas' stuff can be fairly grim though.

Oh, and for the BSF version of Verne, look no further than Swift.

abdul666lw Inactive Member18 Jan 2014 12:54 p.m. PST

Lacepulp link / Lacepunk link are respectively fantasy link gothic horror link . link lovecraftian themes link . link pulp link and science-fiction link set in the (mid) 18th C. link . link. The limit between them is actually blurred: it's not uncommon for a 'Lacepulp' character to use 'Lacepunk' contraptions / weapons to face 'supernatural' encounters in the same way as, among 'Victorian' games, the themes of Empire of the Dead ('more' fantasy) and In Her Majesty Name ('more' SF) are overlapping.

Lace- from the Lace Wars:seemingly the English expression dates from the translation of Funcken's L'uniformes et les armes des soldats de la Guerre en dentelle link. If in English 'lace' is generally taken as referring to the ribbon / tape edging tricornes and cuffs, reinforcing buttonholes on uniforms… in the very old French expression dentelle refers to the doll lace at the shirts collar and wrists of those officers competing in courtesy "Shoot first, gentlemen, I pray you.": the delicate elegance of the material (rather incongruous on a battlefield) taken as expressing the almost artificial, theatrical nature of the formalized, gentlemanly 'war without hatred' in continental Western Europe between the WSS and the Revolution.

-punk from steampunk, itself built on cyberpunk. While cyberpunk is dystopian '-punk' lost any such connotation as soon as steampunk was coined: steampunk settings are not specially dystopian, indeed the Bavarian and French societies described in 'Castle Falkentein' are less dystopian than their historical counterparts! While 'typical' VSF authors such as Verne, Wells and Robida sometimes gave glimpses of a very dystopian future.
[Some 'mainstream' VSF players, embarrassed by the 'excesses' of steampunk, try sometimes to exclude it from their favorite genre. But steampunk, being SF set in Victorian times, belongs to VSF. In the same way as 'traditional' SF set in the future (hence its old French name Anticipation Scientifique) encompasses very diverse subgenres from proximal 'hard science' la Rendesvous with Rama to epic space opera of multi-galactic scope, Victorian SF encompasses various subgenres, steampunk among them. Steampunk merely comes further away from History than mainstream VSF, both by its 'weird' science and by getting rid of Victorian prejudices, chiefly with regard to gender roles -and thus fashion link . link. The two are logically correlated: 'weirder' contraptions and weapons requires an early divergence of science from our History, leaving more time to new technologies to impact on mentalities and society as a whole. One of the best discriminative is 'Women wear their corset under their dress in VSF, above it in steampunk']
From steampunk on '-punk' -*a handy tag*- merely denotes SF set in a given period of the past. -hence radiumpunk, dieselpunk…
As for the technological 'weirdness', it is rather subdued in Lacepunk: being set some 130 years before steampunk / VSF, 'progressive' technologies are far less advanced. While in such 'alternate' mid-18th C. steam-powered contraptions would be definitively more 'working' than historical Fardier link and Pyroscaphe (using the equivalent of the Watts double acting engine?), they would still be rare prototypes. 'Advanced' weapons link would basically have the efficiency of historical Victorian ones: Colt revolver, Winchester rifle, Chassepot military rifle… Being still rare and extremely expensive they are reserved to major 'characters' and maybe given to -at most- a few selected 'followers'.

- Instead of Lacepunk some use Clockworkpunk link (because clockwork can be, like steam, a source of mechanical power? But it's not the case of 'cuber-', so…) but the term is far less specific: clockworks are known since the Middle-Ages -indeed a game is named 'Clockwork &Chivalry', maybe in reference to the old 'Chivalry & Sorcerery' rules. Several of Da Vinci's designs TMP link were to be clockwork-powered; clockworkpunk thus is probably more appropriate for Late Medieval / Renaissance / Elizabethan SF.

- 'Georgian SF'? Sorry Anglophones, but British King George sadly lake the 'worldwide reference' value of Queen Victoria (Gaud bless Her!): 'Georgian' means nothing to most of humankind

- 'Baroque SF'? 'Baroque' is mostly a 17th C. style -only 'Late Baroque' / Rococo' corresponds to the 18th C. Hence Baroque SF / Baroquepunk corresponds rather to science fiction set in the time of the 3 Musketeers YouTube link Cyrano de Bergerac or the Sun King.

- As for science fiction set in Ancient times link what about Peplum SF / Peplumpunk -with reference to the 'peplum' movie genre (encompassing, in the wider continental European meaning, not only 'sword & sandal' films but also 'historicals' set in Antiquity and the Dark Ages and biblical movies!).

abdul666lw Inactive Member19 Jan 2014 1:19 p.m. PST





Do Lacepunk women wear their corset abover their dress?


Doc Rotwang Inactive Member06 May 2016 5:42 p.m. PST


I'm loving the concept, but I'm not down with the term (I don't like 'steampunk', either, but I digress). I like "Baroque SF" or "Georgian SF", so I'll pick one of those at some point and stick with it.

I'm primarily an RPG guy, so I look at this stuff and I immediately want to pick a system and start making characters, buuuut….I'm here for the miniatures and wargaming stuff, so that leads to my question:

What are some good wargames for this kind of shenanigans?

LazyStudent320 May 2016 9:21 a.m. PST

Hi Doc,

I'm also quite liking the idea. I'm never too worried about what people call these 'fantasy' themes. They are after all made up!

I'd guess the latest offering from Osprey Publishing would be a good start. The En Garde! rules allow for magical and mystical beasts as well as a large array of civilizations. I've not had a chance to play these properly yet, but the reviews I've read and the fact they are based on the Ronin rules set bodes well.

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