What Exactly Is Steampunk?


What Exactly Is Steampunk?

What is Steampunk?I’m currently reading Clockwork Angel and when I was looking at its Goodreads page, I noticed that quite a lot of people labeled it as “Steampunk”. I’ve been seeing this genre/label/sub-genre floating around like crazy lately so I decided to investigate.

My first stop: Wikipedia. I mean, Wikipedia is ALWAYS right about any and everything, so where else would I go? I bet if I typed “What am I wearing?” into Wikipedia, it’d be right about that too. :)

But anyways, that page was actually pretty helpful, but still a bit foggy in its definition. So with the help of my best friend Google and thinking really extra hard *ouch*,  I think I’ve come up with what I think is an easy way to determine if a book is considered Steampunk. If you’re as baffled by this new (but not really new at all) genre, then this is dedicated to you:

  1. Generally takes place in the 1800′s or very early 1900′s (up to about 1910). The first part of the term “Steampunk” is actually referencing to taking place in a time when steam power is still widely used.
  2. The book also has strange technology that is futuristic in terms of how the Victorian era would have pictured it (think The Time Machine). This technology consists of devices that are high tech (for the time) and should not exist during that time (or ever). Generally these devices/machines are very gear-like and mechanical in nature and might use a lot of brass and iron. So basically kind of like sci-fi for the Victorian era.

Steampunk FashionThat’s it. Pretty much if it takes place in the 1800′s and Victorian-future-esk, gear-like machines that wouldn’t really have existed during that era are present, then it’s steampunk. In some Steampunk books there will also be a change in the wardrobes. They aren’t just wearing corsets and pantaloons. They have something extra. Like say, the infamous goggle-like sunglasses, or something else that is just as strange for the time.

Anyways, I don’t know if this helps anyone else, but this is what I’ve come to understand is Steampunk. I could be totally off here. If I am, please tell me, this genre still boggles (or should I say goggles) my mind because it’s such a huge mix of paranormal and historical and sci-fi. But, I think I generally get the gist.

What are your thoughts on the newly popular Steampunk genre?

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