With the George Clooney kids movie Tomorrowland being described as a “steampunk wonderland” a friend of mine turned to me and said, “You write steampunk stories don’t you.”
I don’t think I ever considered my Violet Reincastle stories steampunk. Yes I have written a specifically steampunk story. In Asp Among the Water Lilies, the whole intention was the creation of steam powered technology as a driving force in the story.
Which brings us inevitably to the question, what is steampunk?
Essentially, steampunk is a literary subgenre of science fiction and fantasy fiction that features some form of steam-powered machinery. In reality, steampunk is a little more complex and occasionally verges on a lifestyle choice. No, not those lifestyle choices, more a personal decision to celebrate 19th century history and fantasy. As a consequence, you get conventions and cosplay.
In fiction, steampunk has a multitude of incarnations. You can have post-apocalyptic steampunk. There is wild west steampunk. Is that Cowboys vs Aliens? Maybe a little. Probably more like Wild Wild West. There is alternative world steampunk. I suppose this would be more the Bioshock world. You can have horror steampunk and my personal favourite, Victorian steampunk.
I am not going out of my way to be contentious, but Victorian Steampunk is for me the essential steampunk, but even there is a huge amount of variety. Jules Verne and H.G. Wells provide a version of steampunk created in the 19th century, while The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling and the always astounding Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen are more modern incarnations of Victorian steampunk.
So, how do I feel about the suggestion that I write steampunk? Pretty good. The company is good. I like the 19th century implication and the science fiction/fantasy element.
Check out the anthology containing Violet Reincastle story one ‘Tentacles and Petticoats’ and story two ‘Shock to the Corset’ here.
And story three ‘The End of Things in Underthings’ is here. And yes, the title has an intended pun.
And here for good measure is the Tomorrowland Trailer.