I thought I posted this “Steampunk Primer” before, but I can’t find it, so here it is again…
Steampunk is a term that there’s been quite a bit of buzz about. But, what is exactly Steampunk?
Steampunkers party like it’s 1899 (and what happens when Goth’s discover the color brown, lol.) Steampunk is set in a world where steam and natural gas, not coal and electricity is still the primary power source. It’s a world abounding with airships, gas lamps, gears, cogs, and brass goggles and populated with mad scientists, philosophers, adventurists, and air pirates. HG Wells and Jules Vernon are huge inspirations for Steampunk. Examples include League of Extraordinary Gentleman, Stardust, Treasure Planet, and the Golden Compass.
Even though there’s a heavy Victorian influence and feel to Steampunk, there could still be extraordinary technology all done with Victorian materials and in Victorian styles. There can even be Steampunk airships, space ships, computers, and brass robots. Technology may have simply evolved differently–or maybe a natural (or unnatural disaster) caused society to “regress,” though Steampunk stories traditionally lack the dystopian/anarchist elements that cyberpunk has.
Steampunk stories can be set in the past, in the future, or on another planet. They can be alternate histories, mysteries with hard-boiled detectives or cozy Victorian ladies, they can be gothic, or horror, or sweet romance. They can be bodice rippers, erotic, or “tame.” Steampunk stories can even feature the supernatural or paranormal elements.
It’s in the setting, the language, the gadgets, and the characters–who could speak like Victorian ladies or fast-talking American teenagers. With Steampunk, there’s really a great opportunity to be creative and make amazing worlds ranging from gritty to opulent. Its basis is Victorian in nature, but it’s also fiction so you can do incredible and imaginative things. Are you ready to write?