For the longest time I would have said I was Neo-Victorian and not Steampunk. Now, I would say I also have elements of steampunk. One thing I really did not want to do on this site was get lost in semantics; that would be no fun at all. But as I have chosen the name ‘Neo-Victorian Steampunk’ I will take a moment and explain why.
In ‘What is Steampunk?’ I looked at the different aspects of steampunk and attempted to answer that question. But a more succinct and basic definition is provided by the Cambridge Dictionary:
“books or movies about an imagined time when machines use steam for power rather than modern engines and methods, or a style of fashion based on this.”
As explained on Wikipedia, Neo-Victorian…:
“…is an aesthetic movement which amalgamates Victorian and Edwardian aesthetic sensibilities with modern principles and technologies. A large number of magazines and websites are devoted to Neo-Victorian ideas in dress, family life, interior decoration, morals, and other topics.”
So, the simple answer to are Neo-Victorian and Steampunk different, the simple answer is “Yes!” But I like both as there are overlaps in many aspects. Some of the morals and practices of the Victorian era are not something I agree with, but aesthetically, looking at the fashions of that time and as a back drop for the horror stories that I love, it is wonderful. This is why I love steampunk. It allows one to take aspects of that era, but view them in a fantastically different way, making of it what we like.
I’ve written about Victorian London in other places and while many share my love of that time, others were quite disgusted that one would ‘romanticise’ that era. In fact, I had a man with Scottish ancestry who told me about the hardships and grim experiences of his family at that time. I am not a historian but I have researched the Victorians quite a bit. When I learned about how many suffered at that time though, it did not change my feelings. It instead added another element and made it even more intriguing. But steampunk is not the Victorian era, it is fiction, a re-imagining; an alternative history.
So, my Neo-Victorian Steampunk will look at my favourite topics and aspects. I do not know if I am ‘labelling’ my interests correctly, but it is what I believe and it is the story that I write.