Sunday, January 11, 2009

The World Of Tomorrow, Yesterday.

Retrofuturism is all about anachronism. It is the science of yesterday tomorrow and the world of tomorrow yesterday. It is the examination and celebration of the aesthetic of science and science fiction, regardless of whether or not it spills over into fantasy.

Wikipedia has two definitions for retrofuturism:

“…a total vision of the future as seen through the eyes of the past, often a utopian society characterized by high technology”


“…altered but recognizable versions of the past (with) exaggerated technological innovations.”

I’m interested in both of these definitions, though I will admit to being more motivated by the second one.

This is a broad subject reflecting our optimism and our fears, our utopias and dystopias. While usually used to describe a certain type of post atomic aesthetic I'm using it in a broader sense, using Wikipedia's definition as a starting point.

Why do this blog about anachronistic science fiction? Mostly because I love this aesthetic and am excited about it and want to share my explorations. I love science fiction and I love anachronisms and how they are portrayed in art and books.The works in MetaChronicles are referencing the histories of science and science fiction and creating something new.

Also, this blog is a way to compile my research and thoughts for my own work. If you are familiar with my own art and writing you may have noticed an ongoing reoccurrence of retrofuturistic themes; antique robots, Victorian technologies, industrial aesthetics etc. I see this blog as a dynamic format to compile research and explore ideas for stories. These are exciting places for adventures to happen. The opportunity to explore soaring chrome monoliths, Victorian airships and rusted, post-apocalyptic ruins is too great to resist.

My focus in this blog will be on retrofuturism in visual art and writing. I will also try to provide some context, pulling together fragmented ideas into something cohesive through an overall aesthetic framework. I will explore the subgenres that are contained by retrofuturism, like steampunk, dieselpunk, Flintlock Fantasy and clockpunk. I will discuss the periods that seem ubiquitous in retrofuturism; the Victorian era, the atomic age, the space age, post industrialism. In addition I will explore all the various sides to this subject: pulp fiction, serials, comic books, movies, architecture, toys, robotics history, automatons, military history, spy thrillers etc. etc.

With this blog I hope to cast a net and contain some of the scattered works of retrofuturism into something coherent. And to learn more about this aesthetic and the artists and writers at it’s heart.

The banner for MetaChronicles is by Steve Thomas.

The artwork in this post is by Tom Kidd.


Robert said...

I wrote a long eloquent comment...which google then ate when its word verification thingy screwed up. Too disheartened to retype it, I'm afraid. But the jist was that I was looking forward to this blog and am glad you are doing it, especially if it means more Eric Orchard art.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to this blog. It will help me learn more about this area. It's always fascinated me but I've never done much to learn about it. This will give me a good starting point. Love the banner, different from your other.

Eric Orchard said...

Thanks so much Robert! I really appreciate that and hope I don't disappoint. If you're ever down this way stop in for some some rappie pie!

Thanks Vickie! I love Steve's work and hope to do a post on him at some point.

BecK said...

Looks great Eric! I look forward to follow you on this's already starting off on a good leg (or tip-toes!hehe)

Eric Orchard said...

Thanks Becka!

bruce said...

Brilliant idea, Eric. I'm looking forward to all the time I plan to spend on this blog. This aesthetic and 'philosophy' od sci-fi has always fascinated me on an unconscious level...I think it generates so many great visual ideas and can be quite revealing of how people view technology and its impact on humanity. Now that the profound/hot air stuff is behind me, bring on the cool pictures!

PS - Rappie Pie = yuck

Eric Orchard said...

Thanks Bruce! That really is one of the main themes of this blog~exploring technologies impact on us both on a practical level and in less easily definable ways.

LuisNCT said...

great idea for a blog, Eric

Eric Orchard said...

Thanks Luis!

Barbara Canepa said...

Uaoh!! Idea genial !!!

I am fan of this universe!! Thanks!!!

Marianne said...

Ooohhh! This is going to be FUN! :-)

Great idea, Eric. You've seen some of my own fluffy sf paintings with pointy rocket ships. I do so enjoy painting them because they take me back to a more imaginative time. I was born into the mid sixties, so I still had some influence over me of the Apollo space program, lots of old movies on Saturday afternoons with my beloved visionary space - the said pointy rocket ship - when there was still a dream and a vision of the future to grow up on. I'm a fan of dystopian futures and near future disasters as well, both in movie and book form. :-)

I've been reading classic Arthur C. Clarke short stories recently - working my way through a thick tome of his collected works. But my favourite new book(s) this year is by Susan Beth Pfeffer called 'Life As We Knew It'. Contemporary setting; an asteroid hits the moon and pushes it a bit closer to Earth. All hell breaks loose and people have to survive the outcome. It is told from the point of view of a 16 year old girl in rural Pennsylvania. Damn, but I went and fully restocked the pantry after that read.


Trailowner said...

Good to see the blog started, Eric.

I'd like to see retrofuturism used to point up the misperception that regards the 'way things are' as the only possible outcome of past events.

History is actually a succession of accidents; if looked at by way of linear causality. Exploring the things that didn't happen are a way to understand how much chance has played a role.

Chris H.

Eric Orchard said...

Thanks so much Barbara!

Thanks Marianne!I love those pointy rocket paintings, Marianne and would love to feature them some time!

Eric Orchard said...

Great point Chris! I'd love to see discussion on the meaning of this type of fiction too.

Marianne said...

Anytime, Eric. :-) I'm currently working on a retro-ish robot pointy rocket ship one at the moment called 'Escape Velocity'. I'll be posting that one on my blog when it is finished.

I have such a great time looking at Eric Joyner's robot and donut paintings too. :-D


C. June Wolf said...

I like it!