What is Steampunk?

Posted January 10, 2013 by Rosette in Uncategorized / 0 Comments


According to Wikipedia:

“Steampunk is often associated with cyberpunk and shares a similar fanbase and theme of rebellion, but developed as a separate movement (though both have considerable influence on each other). Apart from time period and level of technological development, the main difference between cyberpunk and Steampunk is that Steampunk settings usually tend to be less obviously dystopian than cyberpunk, or lack dystopian elements entirely.”

Steampunk, however,  has grown by leaps and bounds into something much more than a small offshoot of the science fiction genre. There are Steampunk movies, comic books and bands that produce Steampunk music. There is a whole separate culture that considers itself Steampunk in nature, consisting of men and women who enjoy the ceremonies and dress of the Victorian Fashion, as well as the imaginative technology of a steam driven gadgets. These  followers gather at conventions, balls and expos to show off their finery and discuss all things Steampunk.  They may one day even rival those folks that gather at Star Trek conventions!

The Basic Rules of Steampunk 739456073_1343244

1) It should occur in the Victorian Era. Some consider this a hard and fast rule, penning only 19th century based works. Others are not so strict with this definition.  I do  believe that one just needs to keep in mind that the technology should reflect a some sort of Victorian beginning.

2) It should include steam-powered gadgetry. Again this is another commonality. Most of the typical Steampunk stories will be easily apparent  from the many types of  inventions included within the story. Some writers, however, focus more on the characters rather than the gadgets, thereby, leaving the wicked technology as a backdrop to the story.

3) It must occur in or around Victorian England. Eh… I really don’t agree too much with this rule.  I remember watching re-runs of Wild Wild West when I was younger, and I absolutely loved that show. To me, that series embodies what Steampunk is today.  Although it was not set in England, ( it was set in the American Old West), it has pretty much followed the main “rules” of Steampunk.  I will even go so far as to say that Wild Wild West is where Steampunk was first born. (Yes, I still have a crush on Robert Conrad and that dreamy ass of his)

Wild Wild West Episode

So point being, I don’t think it’s really fair to keep Steampunk in Victorian England alone, when they can branch off into so many other areas which can make that world  so much more interesting. There are Steampunk Pirates, Cowboys, and even Samurais.

4) It should feature goggles. I’m not really sure how the symbolism and  the use of goggles in this genre came about, but they appear in great abundance.  They are a very common  element in the Steampunk world. Why? Perhaps because they serve to increase the coolness affect in the Steampunk attire.

5) Steampunk also features some  type of supernatural being such as in The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger or the Greyfriar by the Clay and Susan Griffith.  Their presence serves to enhance the story line even more.

Music influenced by Steampunk. This video features Seattle based band Abney Park

And yes, there is even Steampunk Fashion

Featured here is a video I did awhile ago of one of my favorite Steampunk Novels, The Greyfriar.  I absolutely adore Clay and Susan Griffith’s writing. 

The Greyfriar (Synopsis by Amazon)
In the year 1870, a horrible plague of vampires swept over the northern regions of the world. Millions of humans were killed outright. Millions more died of disease and famine due to the havoc that followed. Within two years, once great cities were shrouded by the grey empire of the vampire clans. Human refugees fled south to the tropics because vampires could not tolerate the constant heat there. They brought technology and a feverish drive to reestablish their shattered societies of steam and iron amid the mosques of Alexandria, the torrid quietude of Panama, or the green temples of Malaya.

It is now 2020 and a bloody reckoning is coming.

Princess Adele is heir to the Empire of Equatoria, a remnant of the old tropical British Empire. She is quick with her wit as well as with a sword or gun. She is eager for an adventure before she settles into a life of duty and political marriage to man she does not know. But her quest turns black when she becomes the target of a merciless vampire clan. Her only protector is The Greyfriar, a mysterious hero who fights the vampires from deep within their territory. Their dangerous relationship plays out against an approaching war to the death between humankind and the vampire clans.

The Greyfriar: Vampire Empire is the first book in a trilogy of high adventure and alternate history. Combining rousing pulp action with steampunk style, The Greyfriar brings epic political themes to life within a story of heartbreaking romance, sacrifice, and heroism.

Hope you enjoyed the introduction into the world of Steampunk.

So, to recap, what is Steampunk? 568860996651986851_R8UkanSk_c

Steampunk is one bad ass genre, that’s what it is!  (and make no mistake, it’s popularity has grown so much that it is in fact it’s own genre)

“It’s sort of Victorian-industrial, but with more whimsy and fewer orphans.”

– Caitlin Kittredge

“To me, it’s essentially the intersection of technology and romance.” – Jake von Slatt

“Steampunk is what happens when goths discover brown.” – Jess Nevins

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