COTW: The Queen’s Arctic Expeditionary League

Ben Deering

Sun Star Reporter

What is steampunk?

“I think I know it, but when people ask about what steampunk is, I tell them to Google “steampunk” and the first image is of Abe Lincoln with a bionic arm,” said Andrew Paris, a cartoonist and one of the members of the Queen’s Arctic Expeditionary League, UAF’s local steampunk club.

Steampunk is “kinda historical sci-fi,” according to Zachary Potts, another member of the club.

According to Wikipedia, steampunk is “…a sub-genre of science fiction, alternate history, and speculative fiction… The term denotes fictional works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used…”

“I like steampunk because it makes history fun,” said Tyler Graham, an anthropology major at UAF and a prospective member.

Members of the Queen’s Arctic Expeditionary League get different things out of it.

For some, it’s an excuse to work with their hands. Potts and Zach Wieliczkiewicz spent most of the meeting hovering over a table loaded with Nerf guns with Potts’ personally modified Nerf rapid-fire gun sitting nearby.

“People bring their stuff and spray-paint their Nerf guns,” said Paris.

Other members are “into historical costuming in general,” said Grete Mjolsnes. “I’m into this because I like to make clothes.”

For still other members, it’s the discussions. Steven Downer has a small personal library of steampunk literature, and enjoys showing it off. “We talk about the steampunk literature, the movement,” said Potts.

The club meets Saturdays at Sipping Streams, the teahouse underneathWok N’ Roll on College Road. Period costuming is welcomed but not required. Members meet, chat, and work on their set pieces. The club’s agenda for the rest of the year include a seminar by Potts on how to build steampunk goggles on Oct. 2, a Mad Hatter Tea Party on Oct. 30, and a display at Pop-Con on Nov. 12-13.

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