Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Fascinating World of Steampunk

Steamnocchio by Fabricio Moraes

Whilst enjoying my three day weekend, which I am so grieved is over--sniff, sniff--I stumbled upon a bit of interesting information: Apparently, my current WIP, the Historical YA featuring futuristic time travel elements, falls under the category of Steampunk.Who knew? Here I am, putting along, thinking to myself, "Wow, Alyssia. Not only are you unable to come up with a title for this project"--STILL! Grrr!--"but you don't even know what category to stick it in. Historical? Science Fiction? And if you don't know the category, how the heck is an editor supposed to know?" Sure, there are similar books out there on the market, but that just goes to prove how unfamiliar I am with this entire YA thing, not knowing the category in which I am attempting to write.

All right, so, anyways. Steampunk. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, permit me to enlighten you:

1) Yes, it is an entire genre in fiction. Though we are uncertain/debatable as to when it all actually began, Steampunk had a decent prominence during the 80's and early 90's. The style often reflects influences based on the works of great authors such as H.G. Wells (The Time Machine), Jules Verne (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea), and Mark Twain (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer).

Captain Nemo's Nautilus from Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

That's great, Alyssia. But what the heck is it?

2) Steampunk involves an era or fictional world in which steam power is still widely (sometimes predominantly) used--more often than not this is in Victorian England--and incorporates key elements of either science fiction or fantasy or both. Think: Victorian-style clothing, architecture, art, culture, language, etc. meets futuristic innovations, inventions, and overwhelmingly powerful engineering. To get an even better picture, think Van Helsing, The League of Extraordinary Gentleman, and the newer Alice in Wonderland and Sherlock Holmes.

Cheshire Advice by Eric Claeys

So, what are the people like in such a world?

3) Primarily inventors, although you are certain to find either a heroine or hero (or both!) sucked into some kind of extraordinary adventure involving a most modern, yet well-known concept like, oh, I don't know... time travel! One blog author described it as, "a mechanical renaissance which emphasizes the contradiction in perfectly constructed machines and low human nature."

Grand Feeding of Fish by Elena Pigareva

And there you have it. In a nutshell, more or less. Really, there are so many aspects to this genre, so many nooks and crannies I've yet to explore, I could dedicate an entire blog solely to the ins and outs of Steampunk. Art, design, culture, history, music. The list goes on and on and on. But I am extremely excited about exploring new territory (for me, at least) and I promise, I'll let you in on some of the juicier details as I go along.

Cassandra by Alice Agostini

For now, I'd love to know what you think of the genre. Have you read many of the YA or other books currently on the Steampunk market? If so, which ones?

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,



Addison Moore said...

I think steampunk is SUPER cool!!! And a huge thank you for the kind words you left on my blog. I'm so happy to hear you enjoyed Tremble! =)

Addison Moore said...

*oops* I meant Ethereal. *sigh* I'm too blonde for my own good sometime. But if you do happen to read Tremble, I hope you enjoy that too. ;) ~Addison

Lynda R Young said...

Yep, I love steampunk. My current WIP is a steampunk.

Lela said...

I haven't read much Steampunk, but it was a big part of my teenage years, for sure! A lot of my friends were into it and now my neices and nephews are, as well. I should, perhaps, in my quest for reading material, pick up a steampunk writing or two... :)

Kimberly said...

See... this is what I'm missing. I write a romance and my research consists of "What pretty drink comes in a really big glass? You know...like the kind that sneaks up on you and gets you really, really drunk?"

You, on the other hand, end up giving lessons on steam engines and rifles and Napoleon during the war, and where the largest coal mines may have been once upon a time. Totally cracks me up!

Jacqueline said...

I love your Steampunk novel, looking forward to reading more!...I love how you always teach me something on your blog=school was never this interesting :)

Irunn2doorz said...

I haven't read any books that would be considered Steam Punk, but I watched an anime called Full Metal Alchemist which has some Steam Punk elements to it. I love Steam Punk art - it's such an interesting combo of future and past all in one neat little creation. :)

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