Thursday, October 21, 2010

What's the deal with Steampunk?

Defining steampunk was a common theme at VCon, and I wish I had written down what Cherie Priest had to say on the subject. From what I can recall (I am old, and have a bad memory) Cherie was against pigeonholing steampunk - it's not about narrow focus, and is more than just corsets and tiny hats. Why exclude those that see steampunk as something different than you do? Why not welcome in other ideas and expand your horizons?

I think the fundamental idea behind steampunk (and feel free to comment if you agree or disagree) is that it's speculative/alternative fiction based on a world where steam power is still widely used. Imagine you lived during the era of steam power and dreamed of the future; submarines, spaceships, airships and mechanical limbs all based on gears and springs.

I'm not sure what exactly appeals to me about steampunk but I'm fascinated by it. I really enjoyed Cherie Priest's novel Boneshaker, and am looking forward to reading Dreadnought. I (who own very few "girlie" clothes) bought a corset at VCon - but no tiny hat. I find myself looking on Etsy for steampunk jewellery.

Can anyone recommend some great steampunk books? Tell us about your favorite places to find steampunk in the comments!


  1. What's VCon? And I never considered that there might be people who would pigeonhole steampunk... What's the definition of steampunk exactly, and what defines it? Would steam-powered robots count, does it have to be steam-powered? Or is steampunk rooted in Victorian-era style? Tell us more about what steampunk is, I'm intrigued!

  2. Thank you so much for clearing this up. I have been long confused by the numerous Steampunk definitions and branches. Boneshaker was...okay. Zeke was too whiny & annoying for a 15 year old. He kept reading as 11 to me. The parts of the book I really liked were focused more on the world and the inhabitants than Briar and Zeke.

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  4. What is with all the skulls and skeletons in Steampunk?

  5. What is with all the skulls and skeletons in Steampunk?