Photo: Duarte Amaral Netto

Navigating the Stars: Thinking the Present and Projecting the Future by Looking at the Past

Inês Vaz

Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas UNL

Abstract | This essay aims to discuss how science fiction works, namely adaptations of adventure classics, can allow us to think about the present by looking at the past. It begins by providing a definition of concepts such as steampunk and neo-Victorianism and explaining why they are relevant in this context. It then focuses on the analysis of the movie Treasure Planet (2002) as a steampunk adaptation of Stevenson’s Treasure Island (1883), highlighting the various aspects that link the two works, as well as the ones that set them apart. Ultimately, this essay seeks to address the retrofuturistic nature of steampunk narratives of this kind, finishing with a reflection on how this particular work can be but one example of a narrative that chooses to display the present by rethinking the past and projecting the future.

Keywords | steampunk, retrofuturism, neo-Victorianism, Treasure Planet, Treasure Island