Crystal Kamm

Written by

Crystal Kamm

14 May 2021

Books

What is Steampunk?

We’ve all heard the name steampunk. And we definitely all know what it looks like. Sometimes we hear that it’s dead. And then next thing you know, we turn on Netflix, and the next new show is clearly steampunk at its roots. So what is steampunk and is it dead or not?

First of all, steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction. Its stories are classified by a setting in roughly Victorian times, but featuring steam-powered engines and gear-heavy technology that far outweighs the kind of technology actually available in the period. Bringing the genre into a crossover between science fiction and fantasy, these stories often include elements of time travel and fantastical creatures as well.

Ultimately, steampunk is less about the content and more about the presentation. It’s generally classified by flowery language written in a similar style to Victorian literature, but with a somewhat more modern subject matter. This subgenre is truly ideal for lovers of classics and sci-fi, who have always wanted to see the two genres blend.

While books are often classified as steampunk, according to K. W. Jeter, the author who originally coined the phrase, it often applies more to films, as they are highly visual. It’s the moviemakers who created the “look,”, with it’s Sherlock Holmes-esque costumes and gear-heavy tech.

And is steampunk dead? Of course not. Nothing is ever truly dead as long as people still like it. But is it beneficial to publish in the genre? Only time will tell!