What is Steampunk?

As I’ve been posting and talking to people about the anthology project, I’m often asked: “Just what is steampunk?” So I decided to post my thoughts on the matter.

Steampunk put simply is Victorian science fiction, the world of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells, a Victorian world plus, one with strange mad science and wondrous steam-driven technologies from heavier-than-air flying ships to steam-driven mechanical computers to giant, track-driven land battleships to brass-covered automatons. It’s science fiction blended with alternate history–a Victorian era of What If? Fantasy elements are not out of the picture either. Much of steampunk involves vampires, zombies and magic these days. It’s very much an ‘anything goes’ fictional genre.

The freedom and openness of the steampunk genre is built on, in my opinion, the immense enthusiasm its fans have for dressing up and do-it-yourself costuming. While people can and do buy props and costume pieces off the internet, steampunk is much more about making your own gear and showing it off for friends and family. People in the steampunk community group together, often in costume, in local clubs called airships. There isn’t yet an airship here in New Orleans but people are working to rectify that oversight.




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