Several people have lately asked me what “steampunk” literature is.
Rose Anderson, Author of Dreamscape and Hermes Online, just posted this great definition of Steampunk on a listserve:
Steam grew from speculative fiction, think Jules Verne with his gadgets and machines being way ahead of their time, also Sherlock Holmes science, HG Wells philosophy etc. It’s a subculture too and this is where the punk part comes in. It’s as if the Victorian/Edwardian past has come to the future but retains much of the look of the past. It takes all modern conveniences etc and does them over with sheet metal and rivets and steam turbines and gears power it all. But more than that, it’s an ideology. It rejects the mass produced aspects of our culture and celebrates handcrafted. I know quite a few people who are into it and every one of them says it’s the romanticism of the Victorian age superimposed on the ugly realism of today. It’s fascinating really, an anachronism of sorts.
This site has the best description I’ve ever seen. http://ageofsteam.wordpress.com/2011/01/10/the-punk-in-steampunksteampunk-ideology/