: science fiction dealing with 19th-century societies dominated by historical or imagined steam-powered technology
“Steampunk.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 27 May 2014.
I think that’s a boring, generic definition written by someone who has no interest in the genre. I define Steampunk as:
: A science fiction sub-genre featuring post-apocalyptic or open faced anachronistic technology, spiritualism, and/or evolution. An art and design rebellion against the modern era of disposable products, hermetically sealed technology, and safety labels.
The historical fiction re-enactment style stuff isn’t nearly as interesting to me as the post-apocalyptic punk art of steampunk.
My introduction to the ideas that make up steampunk as a fantasy sub-genre came from watching Voyagers! reruns as a kid back in the 80’s, watching City of Lost Children in 1996, and later playing Thief: The Dark Project in 1998. These sources have nothing to do with the Victorian era too often pre-supposed as the definition of steampunk. The sequel to Thief pushed the “medieval fantasy universe with electricity and steam power” aesthetic further. The key defining idea in Thief 2 was a hidden war between a religious faction of machinists and a nature worshipping pagan faction.
I thought that was a great contrast and I still like that balance in my art. My other influences were mostly Japanese with more well-known titles, like Final Fantasy VII (more dieselpunk, but it still counts) and another Square Enix title, Full Metal Alchemist. There were plenty of other influencing sources too, but I really didn’t assign a genre title to anything until 2007 when the term “Steampunk” was a joke about “Goths that found brown.” I never got into the wardrobe part of the genre because my clothing is starkly functional and rarely defined by a myriad of accessories. That said, I did sketch a coat and pants back in the day that now look totally steampunk-esque to me.
Well, that’s my definition of Steampunk post. How were you introduced to the genre and how do you define it? Let me know in the comments. Cheers.