Can anyone help me define Steampunk?
From what I understand the sub-genre "steampunk" is kind of like an alternate victorian age with advanced, steam powered, technology. I've been thinking about getting more into it recently, but every time I try to explain it to someone I sort of stumble over myself trying to define it. For those out there that are familiar with it, how would you define it to someone who asked?
..yeah sure I'd be happy to help out with this definition - steampunk is when you put all four surviving members of the Sex Pistols into a sauna ..and lock the door!
Basically as I understand it steam punk can be any period as long as the highest level of technology is clockwork / steam. Many base it in Victorian age as it was our Steam period. Thats what I know it as anyway.
It is difficult to pin down any speculative fiction genre and say, this is it. I can't remember who it was who said it, but it went along the lines that 'science fiction is what I point at and say, science fiction'.
Steampunk has an alternative universe setting, rooted in societies that are only just coming into a mechanised structure, usually Victorian with Babbage and the computer, or devices from the fathers of science fiction, H G Wells and Jules Verne.
Probably a search through google, maybe wiki will have better info, but probably not definitive.
When I think steampunk I think, gears and clockwork. But also an age of innovation and invention. Taking what you had and making it work together. And steam power too. I think it isn't really something you can verbally define. I find pictures work better, that way people can see. I too love steampunk and always have a hard time defining it to people who don't already know what it is.
Steampunk is a fashion style as well as a genre that is becoming pretty popular. It is really hard to describe, so the best thing to say to people is, "Give it a try."
I wrote a hub about this a while back. Check it out for yourself: http://earlswynn.hubpages.com/hub/SteampunkGenre
Hope that helps!
The term itself probably grew out of "cyberpunk," a science fiction offshoot (William Gibson, Stephenson's "Snow Crash") - computer-hacking-oriented science fiction based around anti-heroes or unlikely heroes who were "punks" in one way or another (not necessarily punk rockers - more "punk" in that they challenged authority) - OR - who "punked" traditonal story devices - that sort of thing. This genre was very hot for a while but not universally loved by fans of "old school" science fiction (though the genres don't really conflict, except in that old school sci fi tends to be more positive and "we're going to the stars!" - and cyberpunk is more negative, life sucks - civilization is going to heck - so hack into this and get something while you can - sort of).
Steampunk is steam - Victorian era and steam power - but it then "punks" it, like adding a crazy "what if?" - like what if a giant steam robot attacked London? What if the Illuminati were real? What if Mark Twain teamed up with Sherlock Holmes to stop Jack the Ripper? What if steam computers worked? Not Victorian gentlemen in mohawks slam-dancing, though that could happen (it'd be an extreme subset of steampunk and not the other way around). I hope that helps you.
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