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Age of steam inspires computer geek

By Patrick Nelson

Computer analyst Glenn Jones gets a kick out of the steampunk genre Computer analyst Glenn Jones gets a kick out of the steampunk genre

Charles Darwin University Alice Springs computer guru Glenn Jones assumed the identity of his alter-ego at a pop culture expo in Brisbane recently.

Mr Jones attended the three-day event in the costume of a character from the neo-Victorian world of steampunk.

“It’s just a bit of fun,” said Mr Jones, a self-confessed computer geek who oversees the IT systems and networks at CDU’s Alice Springs campus.

“We call it cosplay (cos-tume role-play) and the expo is the perfect place for people like me to express our inner geek.”

Mr Jones said the expo boasted actors, authors, celebrities and creators of imaginary worlds from comics, animation, movies, television and gaming.

The expo website named Harry Potter’s Matthew Lewis, The Hunger Games’ Stef Dawson, I Dream of Jeannie’s Barbara Eden and Star Wars’ Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) among a long list of celebrity guests.

“It’s similar to the comic-cons they have in the United States,” Mr Jones said.

Tens of thousands of people turned up on each of the three days.

This expo will be about the 20th such gathering that Mr Jones has attended.

“I went to my first expo in Adelaide about five years ago, needing to get out of town to clear my head after an intense few months at work. 

“Not only did it appeal to my personality but I found a level of acceptance that prompted me to keep coming back.”

Mr Jones said his steampunk character had always been well received. 

“People come up to me and ask to have their photo taken with me. They will often complement me on my costume and character and acknowledge my little contribution to the overall sense of occasion. I find those little comments of appreciation to be deeply satisfying.”

Mr Jones said steampunk was inspired by 19th century industrial steam-powered machinery.

He said it was a subgenre of science fiction, sometimes with a fantasy element, that often incorporates anachronistic technologies or retro-futuristic inventions that people in the 19 century may have envisioned them.

“Think Jules Verne, HG Wells and the mechanical technologies from an age where steam power had ascendancy.”