Friday, November 5, 2010

The Extraordinary Worlds of Steampunk/November CONTEST

*November CONTEST info. at the end of this blog post.


To follow the last blog post about Speculative Fiction sub-genres, I decided to give more details on Steampunk and repost and earlier blog.

I don’t claim to know what this amazing world is all about but I am quite intrigued that that one can combine brass googles, motorcycle boots, a tight corset, suede or lace skirt and somehow manage to look gorgeously steamfashioned.

A long time fan of alternative fiction, science fiction and fantasy, I’m so glad to see books coming out in this sub-genre, especially romance. According to author Jeff VanderMeer, Steampunk, a term first coined in 1987, is a “retro- and forward-looking sense of adventure and discovery.” Steampunk has hit pop culture, and we can see influences in movies, art, comics and fashion.
Gail Carriger has an interesting write up on the two main types of Steampunk: Traditional, the H.G. Wells and Jules Verne type with a Victorian culture and setting, and Futuristic, an industrial steampunk set far in the future. If you read down in her article you'll see a link to Jeff VanderMeer's article. Click on the link to his article about the history of Steampunk

I’ve done some research on this topic and found that there are some die-hard Steampunk fans. Some who are purists about certain details. Similarly, there are avid fans in the vampire realms and the Regency era and I think it’s cool that these groups have such a loyal community. As with the vampire genre, I think this sub-genre will evolve as well where authors will create their own worlds and their own rules. Still, there must be a balance so verisimilitude and the flavor of Steampunk are maintained.

Ask different people what Steampunk is and you’ll get a variety of definitions. I found several different definitions on various websites and blogs. To me, Steampunk is usually (but not always) set during the 1800s where technology somehow has gone a bit skewed. Scientific advancements combine with the old, mechanical devices tend to be steam-powered, and are comprised of gears, cogs and clockwork parts. Dirigibles, time machines, mechanical spiders, automatons, amazing underwater ships and cities, underground cities and moon rockets are just some of the oddities that can be found in Steampunk. But the setting doesn’t end there. I also like the futuristic and otherworldly Steampunk settings. Look at the movie City of Ember (click for cool trailer).
Thanks to for the following definitions. She has a fabulous site on all things Steampunk.


Victorian Science Fiction – Steampunk set in Victorian era with futuristic or science fiction elements. Think: The Time Machine by H. G. Wells.
Gaslamp Fantasy – The Girl Genius Steampunk, tight bodices, slapstick comedy and non-humans. Setting is variable, doesn’t have to be Victorian.
Fireside Science Fiction – A warm and cozy type where Victorian gentlefolk may begin their adventure around a fireplace with a small brandy, but could end up on the moon or beyond!
Neo-Victoriania – A Japanese originated alternative where the aim is to recreate certain Victorian aspects of life using modern tools and ways. Elegant Gothic Lolita.
Wild/Weird West – Centered on the American West in the 19th Century. You’ll find cowboys and scientists alongside saloon girls and giant mechanical spiders. Wild, Wild, West.
Voyages Extraordinaire – As seen in the Victorian adventures of Jules Verne.
Scientific Romance – An early, mostly British, name for science fiction, that fell out of fashion, but was also used to describe Verne’s works. Now being used more for nostalgic Victorian based science fiction.

I also came across Industrial Steampunk (futuristic), Clockpunk (1500s), dieselpunk (WWII) and Cyberpunk (computer/informational). I’m sure there are others.
Here’s Wiki’s take on Steampunk:

So what do you like about Steampunk? What do you know about it? Please share your views.

CONTEST: To celebrate my upcoming release: SECRET SOIREE at Ellora's Cave on November 26th, I'm giving away 1 Reader's Choice download of any one of my ebooks. To enter: Post a comment on the Passion Sense blog any day during the month of November and include your email address and I'll add you to the drawing. (If you prefer, you may send your email to me instead to: Put "November Contest" in Subject Line) Contest ends November 30th. I'll randomly select a name on December 1st.


Anonymous said...

I've just discovered the world of steampunk and I am highly fascinated.

I've already enjoyed a few books in this genre and have a bunch on my wishlist.

in Germany

Kathy Kulig said...

I think it's a cool sub-genre too Valerie. I've read a few and I'm keeping my eye out for more. I've added you to the contest. :)

Anonymous said...

Hello, Kathy.
Amazing how many subgenres have grown out of this concept, and no doubt more are yet to be invented.
I love "Sherlock Holmes," and it's great to see how romance has embraced the concept.
Also looking forward to your new release-- no doubt it's steamy, even if not punk.

Anne said...

I only learned about Steam Punk in the last 6 months. I read a book, the title escapes me,that was vaguely old western with a dash of science and some end of the worldness and thought it was a weird mix. I then read a review of Souless and found out that steam punk was a genre.

I have to read a few more to decide how I like the genre.

Kathy Kulig said...

I loved Sherlock Holmes too, Kelly. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was cool too. The romance genre does seem to like to embrace and merge a variety of concepts. Wonderful news for readers and writers. Thanks for the good wishes on Secret Soiree.
Got you down for the contest.

Kathy Kulig said...

Hi Anne, The term Steampunk is fairly new to me too, tho I've been a fan for a while. The worlds created are quite unique and fun to read. Thanks for entering the contest too.

Debby said...

I am new to Steampunk myself and have not as yet read one but I just bought one and hope to read it soon. It sounds fascinating. I enjoyed reading your post and seeing the different types of Steampunk. thanks
debby236 at att dot net

Anonymous said...

Thanks for adding me, Kathy!!!

in Germany

Kathy Kulig said...

Thanks for stopping by Debby. I have you on the contest list.

And you're welcome Valerie.

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Jolene Allcock and Family said...

I first heard the word steampunk about a month ago on Amazing Wedding Cakes. I honestly had no idea what that word meant until I saw the cake. It was amazing!! All of a sudden it was like a light bulb went off in my head and then I keep seeing it all over the blogs and can't wait to get my hands on these steampunk based books I keep seeing. I am intrigued. I haven't read one yet, but I get the gist of it and I did see City of Ember with my kids. Now that you mentioned it I had another light bulb go off in my head. It was like a Ta Da moment and now it makes sense even more. Please enter me in the contest. I recently got ahold of your book Desert of the Damned and am currently devouring it. I really need to get ahold of the sequel and I love the world you created. Can't wait to check out your other books, I am definately a new fan of your work. Thanks for all those hot moments you put in the book, I'm sure my husband thanks you too since he is reaping the rewards LOL

Kathy Kulig said...

Hi Jolene, I'm hooked on the Steampunk genre too. There's a sense of adventure in it. I'm so glad you're enjoying Desert of the Damned, and nice to hear your dh is too . Thanks for the kind words. I've got you down for the contest.