Steampunk Journal has a useful short appraisal of Solarpunk, a new trend that’s mostly literary and also very hesitantly artistic. It’s a nascent cultural trend that’s still rather vague and adolescent, at present.
But, at its most intellectually ambitious, think: News from Nowhere‘s artisanal quietist anarchism meets the practical individualists of Galt’s Gulch.
Or that the grungy unwashed males of the contemporary maker movement were to one day fall in lurv with the confident Edwardian beauty of steampunk crafts. After which they go ‘live free’ in an off-grid solar-power dome-home set amid a lush Bey-ist autonomous zone, where they snuggle down together to read Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy and watch Miyazaki movies.
There’s also a vague hope for a non-corporate future in the mix, mixed with some fingernail-nibbling about greenhouse warming and eco-tastrophe. There’s some youthful dislike of ‘ugly’ old people and ugly imagination-free suburbs, too. I’d say that those particular strands may be enough to attract anti-capitalist clicktivists and hashtag hippies to solarpunk, aiming to hijack a hot young trend as a platform for their muddleheaded old politics. It’s happened before, hundreds of times, it’s just how parasitic leftism has operated since the 1930s. Even in the left’s present decrepit state, their tiny cadres are still pretty good at that particular Gramscian maneuver. Then, once a movement’s media cred is used up, they just spit it out — before the movement has even had a chance to find out what it was for itself.
But, for now, it seems that that the intelligent ideas wing of solarpunk is still mostly happening somewhat-safely out-of-sight in the world of literary science fiction, and in the ugly usability nightmare that is Tumblr. Indeed, the core of it is still locked up in un-translated Brazilian Portuguese, in the sci-fi anthology Solarpunk : Historias Ecologicas e Fantasticas em Um Mundo Sustentavel.