Since Gay was asking what steampunk is, I thought I’d take a quick moment to discuss it.
Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction or fantasy. Usually the setting is the late 19th century, so there’s a Victorian fashion sense to everything. The basic premise is that steam power and clockwork arose as the primary form of technology. Imagine if the science imagined by Jules Verne and Mary Shelley didn’t just work, but became commonplace. Or if Nikola Tesla’s theories had panned out instead of Edison’s, and Charles Babbage had been able to build a computer in his lifetime instead of just dreaming about it. Their Industrial Revolution would look completely different from ours.
It’s completely anachronistic, but that’s part of the fun.
In the fantasy version it’s pretty much the same thing, but with some magical element allowing the technology to work. The story I have in 10Flash coming out next month is steampunk with a very subtle magic element.
A few examples if you want a crash course – check out The Prestige, or The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (preferrably the comic book). Kurt Busiek’s Arrowsmith is a great example of magic steampunk. There are various anime movies that are heavily influenced by the genre as well. Actually, Pixar’s Up has a few steampunk elements, but that might be better categorized as retro-futurism.
There’s a whole steampunk sub-culture that could probably explain it better than I can. A quick google image search on “steampunk” turns up a ton of stuff that enthusiasts have hand-built.
To be honest I haven’t read a whole lot of steampunk (I didn’t care for Gibson and Sterling’s The Difference Engine, which is supposed to be the first big steampunk novel). But I love the aesthetic, as well as the alternate Earth/history aspects.
If anyone else has any ideas or suggestions for steampunk or recommendations, feel free to chip in.