Monday, January 11, 2010

In Which I am Expanding My Vocabulary: Steampunk

Am I the only one who has just recently learned the meaning of this word? Admittedly, I am never the leader of the pack on anything! I'm always a day late, a dollar short, and the last one at the party. Soooo, it's quite possible I'm the last to know here. I'm seeing it on several blogs....but I still don't know what it is!

My son's class is reading the H. G. Wells classic, The Time Machine, and did you know, by definition, this book is considered "steampunk?" I did a little exploring and found that there is a whole sub-culture of steampunk, from fashion, jewelry, literature, music, home decor, art.....who knew?

What exactly is steampunk as it relates to books? Simply put, it is actually "Victorian science fiction." Works such as Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and The Time Machine are classic science fiction, and now can be considered steampunk. Major components of the genre include 19th century technology (steam power) with futuristic elements.

Modern steampunk includes elements of 19th century technology (machinery, transportation, communications, etc..) and combines it with an edgy Victorian street culture. Here is an example of a popular steampunk novel:

Goodreads has an entire section of recommended books in this genre and I recognized a few books that I've been seeing on some book blogs. Click here for the Goodreads steampunk page.

And here's a quick visual of steampunk:

So, now I know.


Kim said...

You and I are in the same boat--arriving late. I hadn't heard about steampunk until reading about it from Lady Vee --

I like the label of Victorian Science Fiction, helps me understand it better. Thanks!

Psst...I just finished A Beaautiful Blue Death :)

Joanne said...

I have a Finch book on my list, too. I'll be checking for your review of ABBD.

Suey said...

Well... thanks for clearing that up because I've certainly been wondering too.

Tales of Whimsy said...

As a vintageaholic I love the look of steampunk but other than the Time Machine (which I LOVED) I haven't tried much of it yet.

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When Maidens Mourn
Where Shadows Dance
What Remains of Heaven
Where Serpents Sleep
Why Mermaids Sing
When Gods Die
Before Ever After
The Sugar Queen
Garden Spells
After the Night

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