I liked steampunk before I even knew what steampunk was. I know that sounds incredibly hipsterish, but if you like steampunk the same is probably true of you. If you read H.G. Wells or Jules Verne when you were growing up, congratulations, you read the core literature of steampunk.
Steampunk is so much more than literature, however. It has branched out into almost every aspect of the entertainment world and become a subculture in its own right.
So what is steampunk? Well, essentially it began as a kind of science-fiction that used steam-powered technology to power robots, airships…pretty much anything people can dream up. Nowadays we have steampunk-inspired clothes, music, television/film, books, anime, etc. There’s even SteamCon, a convention devoted to all things steampunk (incidentally, if anyone wants to sponsor my way to this year’s con, I won’t object).
So if you’re new to the world of steampunk, here’s a few must-sees and should-haves:
If you’ve already read all the Jules Verne and H.G. Wells you can stand, here’s a few more contemporary books to check out.
This is one of the ‘classic’ steampunk books. I read it a few years ago and I really enjoyed it. Read if you enjoy time travel!
I liked this one way more than I anticpated. I read it in a matter of hours! Cornwall creates a lovely hybrid of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and a Victorian steampunk London. This one is lots of fun.
Don’t judge a book by it’s [crappy] film adaptation. Give this one a chance.
My favorite steampunk band is Rasputina, although you’ve probably heard of bands like The Dresden Dolls or Abney Park.
You may recognise this Rasputina song from a little show called Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Steampunk is growing in popularity. Films like Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey Jr. and Wild Wild West starring Will Smith have mainstreamed the genre, and web series like The Guild feature steampunk aficionados. Personally, I believe that it’s burst in popularity is because steampunk is very aesthetically pleasing and whimsical, allowing for filmmakers to create fanciful worlds that are beautiful and intriguing for viewers. There are many steampunk films that are worth mentioning (The Golden Compass, The City of Lost Children, Back to the Future Part III to name a few), but my favorite is Howl’s Moving Castle. In my mind, it is the steampunkiest of the steampunk. Take a look at the trailer:
It’s beautiful and touching and oh so very steampunk.
Now to my favorite part: Steampunk Fashion
In my love affair with the steampunk culture, this is what caused me to fall in love at first sight.
The fashion combines the Victorian with the sci-fi. I’m no fashion critique, however, so I’m just going to post some pretty pictures of my favorite steampunk outfits.
Oops, that last one isn’t fashion. Even the Daleks caught on to the steampunk trend…and if it’s one thing we’ve learned about Daleks, it’s that they never disappear. Ever. You think they’re gone for good, but then they hide in the void and turn up in Victorian England to fight to the death with Queen Victoria, who’s also a werewolf. Sorry, that’s a tangental rant and has no bearing whatsoever on this post.
In summation, steampunk is more than just fashion or literature; for those who fully embrace it, it’s a way of life. Even The Guild says so.
Disclaimer: I own none of these images….but I wish I owned the clothes.
- 10 Movies to Help You Figure Out What Steampunk Is (hometheatergear.com)
- British steampunk photographer exhibition (steampunkjournal.org)
- [tt] (Steampunk Workshop 2013-04) The Nine Novels That Defined Steampunk (stirling-westrup-tt.blogspot.com)