It might sound dumb of me, but I haven't understood "steampunk" -- what it is, who are famous "steampunk" writers, and how is it currently developing?
To answer many of my questions, a wonderful book, full of gorgeous illustrations and "steampunk" history, landed on the desk at my local library.
- Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction and fantasy literature, primarily concerned with alternative history, especially an imaginary 'Victorian era' when steam power and mechanical clockwork dominated technology.
- Earliest literary works of Steampunk chronicled a future that never happened, one in which the Industrial Revolution took a different direction.
- Steampunk stories feature the technology and at times the attitudes of today filtered through the past, hence the 'punk' appellation.
- Steampunk has grown to encompass film and television, graphic novels and computer games, music and fashion.
- The word "steampunk" was coined by writer K.W. Jeter who suggested the label when submitting a story to Locus magazine.
- Victorian fantasies a la Jeter, Blaylock and Powers lay the groundwork for a huge explosion of the genre across all media. These authors drew on the classic science fiction of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Arthur Conan Doyle.
- There is no one definition that encompasses everything given the label -- the adventures of mad scientists travelling the world in airships, steam-driven robots and pseudo-Victorian or at times Edwardian settings.