When the term Steampunk was coined in the 1980s it referred to a subgenre of science fiction. I apologise if I make it sound like this is no longer the case; that is not my intention. This is a literary genre that still exists and is thriving, but as I shall show, it has grown beyond this. Even though the name steampunk was created in the 1980s, it does encompass books that were written decades before. What they have in common is that they are set in a time before electricity when steam was the main source of power. Therefore the most common historical periods are the industrial revolution at the end of the eighteenth century, through the Victorian era and up until the Edwardian period at the beginning of the twentieth century. What I love about these books is not the fact that they are historically accurate but rather that they usually describe an alternative history with strange contraptions, adventures and even time travel where anything is possible powered by the wonder of steam.
The works of science fiction writers from the Victorian era, such as Jules Verne and H.G.Wells are heavily referenced or at the very least an influence on modern steampunk. They were writers from that time after the industrial revolution who were looking forward at what could be, while modern steampunk writers look back and do the same. It is not so much a love of that era, although many, myself included, do have a certain fondness for that period in history but the way we see technology and how we use it to improve our lives. It is the deeper underlying messages that are of greater import.
From this has grown the steampunk movement and you may even find people who are involved in it that have never even read any of these science fiction books, but just love the more creative side. They may love the fashion associated with steampunk or are inventors who create marvellous gadgets very much in the nature of the genre. These gadgets can be anything from unique items devised from the imaginings of these inventors or modern appliance that have been steampunked as it were.
As with any genre or movement, there is a shared philosophy but what I love about the expression of these within steampunk is that everyone has their own story. In fact steampunk almost seems to demand the expression of an individual’s creativity, be that through the written word, the garments worn and often made by the person they adorn.
Although steampunk may appear to be just connected to Victorian Britain, this is not the case. I do have to admit to having a love of Victorian Britain, but I shall discuss that more at another time when I tell my steampunk tale. Steampunk can be from anywhere and in fact the wild west of our American cousins is just as intriguing to some as the streets of Victorian London.
So what is Steampunk? It is stories, it is fashion, it is romance, it is invention, it is technology, it is freedom. It is the expression of the self. I would love to say that this site will explore all facets of steampunk, but that would just be impossible as there are as many different stories and interests as there are people involved in the movement. As the vagueness of my answer shows, steampunk is many things. This will be a place where I tell my story and perhaps you would even like to share yours.