Clockpunk and Storing Energy

Although this stuff is somewhat old buy, dating back to 2004, I recently came across it so here it is. Someone at the HJO3 Project put up some ideas related to Clockpunk. The idea seems to be that in punk genres one of the things that drives the story is how power is stored or utilized and Clockpunk is no exception to this rule. Its an interesting read and here is what they have to say.

I was thinking about the differences between steampunk and “clockpunk” settings and an episode of Scientific American Frontiers about hydrogen-powered cars. On the program, they kept pointing out that hydrogen wasn’t a power source—it’s a method of storing power. Clockwork is the same way; it only acts like a battery. Well, for clockpunk, that means that everything will be ultimately powered by steam anyway (though I suppose it could be powered by human effort, but there’s something… lame about making thousands of people spend most of their time winding or pedaling things to do cool stuff). Anyway, what if you dropped perpetual motion into the setting? It wouldn’t necessarily mean free energy; you could say that complicated clockwork machines just amplify force and perhaps come up with a reason why recursive feedback (i.e. feeding an amplifier’s output back into itself) is impossible. Then you could have, for example, two-seater airplanes powered by a single guy pedaling, or cars that only require a few minutes of winding to run for hours. The “black box” amplifiers could be called “antirecursive kinetic augmentation dynamos” or something, as long as it’s technobabbly and vaguely Victorian.

2 Responses to “Clockpunk and Storing Energy”


  1. 1 Alex October 20, 2007 at 2:09 am

    It’s good to see that I am not the only person struggling with the notion of free energy in a clockwork world. It seems that almost all fiction springs from a disproportionate display of power, be it knowledge (in which case a clockwork-based world is unneeded or is simple window dressing for the story), or physical or mechanical power. Unless some sort of clockwork can be demonstrably mightier than human power, it is hard for it to be a player in a story. While I dabble a bit in Clockpunk fiction, nothing to show for it yet, I have pretty much decided on some level of mystical energy or force as the engine to hook my clockwork train to. Most everything else somehow calls for me to suspend my disbelief too much.

  2. 2 Gerald H. Zoka September 21, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    Springs are clockworks batteries.


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