A Mind Within the Books
What is Steampunk?
Steampunk is a unique genre and subculture which blends science fiction, historical fiction, and fantasy in such a way as to reflect an anachronistic view in which technology has many or all of the capabilities of reality’s technology, but powered by steam or holding a raw look which reflects clockwork or inner mechanical machinery.
This genre derived its name as a result of a need to distinguish it from another, similar genre: cyberpunk, which reflects a future (dystopian or utopian) in which mankind has melded with advanced technologies (i.e. cybernetics, digital worlds, etc.). The classic Victorian or Western style which defines steampunk placed a new time, and the steam-based technology of the time helped lend to the new name. In particular, steampunk takes place during the Victorian/Edwardian era of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, up until WWI. A similar genre, dieselpunk, uses the same concept, but is a post-WWI style rather than Victorian, and is characterized by sleeker, chrome-style technology.
Steampunk is also surfacing as a growing subculture. Through the use of “found” materials and restoration techniques, Victorian style clothing and artifacts are being crafted for everyday use by “steampunks” who embrace the genre on a daily basis in fashion and alternate personas. Modern technology is also beginning to experience a steampunk shift as those who take on the lifestyle modify them to appear more antiquated. It is believed that this subculture is in reaction to the homogenized, plastic appearance that technology possesses today as a result of mass production. In response to the lack of artistic personality, steampunk turns to individuality in order to turn the lifeless into life-filled.