Steam What? Guest post by Suzanne Lazear aka Lolita Suzanne

Steampunk. You’ve probably heard the term.

But what is Steampunk, anyway?

There are plenty of witty quips put there – Steampunkers party like its 1899, Steampunk is what happens when Goths discover brown, it’s Jules Verne on crack.

Basically, it’s alternate history. It’s imagining what modern technology would look like if we used Victorian materials and aesthetic – think airships and brass robots. Think of a world filled with adventure, mad-scientists, brass goggles, difference engines, air pirates, corset-and bustle wearing Vampire hunters, and zeppelins. That’s Steampunk.

Steampunk worlds often have a Victorian feel--think Neil Gaiman’s Stardust or The League of Extraordinary Gentleman. But they don’t need to take place in Victorian London. They can be set in any place or time – the distant past, modern-day America, or even another planet all together. Leviathan is an alternate version of World War I Europe. Steampunk stories can be any genre from mystery to paranormal; they can be dark and gritty, or light and fluffy.
Steampunk is also all about the gadgets and embracing the Victorian attitude of makerism. For example, Leanna Hieber refers to her book The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker as “Gas-Lamp Fantasy” and not Steampunk because it lacks “gadgets.”

Okay, I get the steam, but why the punk?

The term “Steampunk” was coined as a bit of a joke in the 1980’s and stuck. I’ve heard several people say that “Steampulp” would be more accurate. In Cyberpunk, Biopunk, and to some extent, even Elfpunk, there’s usually a whole dystopian/anarchy theme to the stories--hence, the “punk”. These themes are usually missing in Steampunk, but there’s still often themes of rebellion and the stories can get gritty – the Victorian era wasn’t all balls and bustles and an alternate Victorian-esque society probably isn’t either.

The things I like the most about Steampunk is the sheer variety. No two Steampunk worlds – or stories – are going to be alike. There literally is something for everyone. There is so much room to be creative and mash up genres.

Steampunk is also more than books and movies. There’s great Steampunk music from bands like Abney Park and Emilie Autumn, there’s Steampunk art, Steampunk clothes from places like Clockwork Couture and the Steampunk Emporium, and even Steampunk jewelry. Just take a look at Etsy, there are so many fabulous things, many of them handmade and one-of-a-kind. There are even Steampunk conventions--Steamcon2 in Seattle, anyone? Steampunk is many, many things.

Most of all, Steampunk is fun. Have a ball and don’t forget your brass goggles.

Lolita Suzanne’s Young Adult/Middle Grade Steampunk Reading list

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
• “The Society of Unrelenting Vigilance” series by Glenn Dakin
• Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Worldshaker by Richard Harland
• The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Hieber
• The Boneshaker by Kate Milford
Airborn by Kenneth Oppel
• Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
• “His Dark Materials” series by Phillip Pullman
• “Hungry City Chronicles” series by Phillip Reeve
• “Larklight” series by Phillip Reeve
• The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
• Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Bio: Lolita Suzanne is Chief Mayhem Officer of the Steampunk Group Blog, Steamed! She likes Steampunk for the shoes and clockhand tiaras. Suzanne also writes Steampunk books for teens, with her first releasing in 2012. Sometimes she can be found wearing a bustle, but she has yet to make a ray gun.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...