The Steampunk Resource

Written by Leanna Serras

Steampunk belongs to the genre of speculative fiction which gained popularity in the late 20 th century. It is concerned with works in fashion, arts, music, and movies. As such, the works of Steampunk are associated with the particular era when steam power became widespread.

Steampunk is influenced by the technological inventions mentioned in books by authors of the Victorian era, such as Jules Verne and HG Wells, who were famous for their science fiction and fantasy novels. There were also certain technologies from that era that did not become very popular. Such technologies included the digital mechanical computers, analog computers, and dirigibles. These gadgets are also incorporated into Steampunk culture today. Steampunk and Cyberpunk share a number of similarities, notably the need to be rebellious, but the former does not believe in the dystopian culture of the Cyberpunks.

In the field of arts, several utilitarian objects have been modified to represent the Steampunk culture. Often, materials such as wood, polished brass, and iron are added to objects such as computer keyboards, electric guitars, laptop computers, and even cufflinks. Numerous other everyday objects are converted into pseudo-Victorian mechanical objects by Steampunks. One noteworthy example was the Steampunk-influenced fully-functional steam engine that was displayed in the 2006 Burning Man Festival. The group of Steampunk artists who created it was called the Kinetic Steam Works. The Steampunk Tree House was another one of their creations, which was displayed in a number of festivals. In 2008, the Steampunk culture was further popularized by sculptor and multimedia specialist Paul St. George, who showcased an innovative video installation called the Teletroscope. This interactive Steampunk video device provided a link between London and New York, in a style which was typically Victorian.

The enthusiasm for Steampunk has also found its expression in home décor, music, and fashion. The Steampunk fashion has no hard and fast rules, but Steampunk designers try to integrate modern fashion elements with the distinct style of the Victorian era. Corsets, bustles, petticoats, and gowns are some of the garments for women that are given the Steampunk touch. On the other hand, spats, coats, and vests are some of the garments for men which are modified to Steampunk style.

Steampunk outfits are often complemented by contemporary gadgets such as cell phones and music players, but these gadgets have a Neo-Victorian motif. Some other typical period Steampunk accessories include parasols, timepieces, ray guns, and goggles.

The fan base of Steampunk is growing, and as a result, many fans want to establish Steampunk as a separate culture and lifestyle. The long list of contemporary as well as Victorian objects that are Steampunk-themed include tin etchings, Lyra's lamps, shop respirators, flash diffusers, light switch plates, all-in-one PCs, LCD monitors, perfumes, motorbikes, Mac Mini mods, iPod etch, headphones, kerosene lamps, and Steampunk cars. With the ever increasing list of musicians, artists, sculptors, and fashion aficionados who adore the Steampunk culture, it seems that the Steampunk genre is here to stay for a long time.