Living Steampunk

What is a Steampunk lifestyle? What is Steampunk generally? Not really an easy question to answer. Brass Goggles begins the discussion with the statement:
Steampunk is a genre of fiction set somewhere in the 1800’s during the Victorian Era. The fictional part comes in that technology has gone a bit skewed – though the exact methods vary, generally steam-powered devices that would have been impossible or unfeasible at the time are found to exist.”

A good starting place, but I would hazard to add: all that and so much more. Steampunk has blossomed into a full-throttle aesthetic movement bringing a Victorian design sensibility into everyday objects and fashions and now even has its own musical genre.
Pictured here is my new house in Boulder County, Colorado. It is situated in a community of new houses built with Victorian or early 20th-century Arts and Crafts antecedents. In short, it is a neighborhood either caught in a time warp or presciently proto-Steampunk.

Where do Steampunks congregate to share their love of this (probably baffling to outsiders) love of all things neo-Victorian? Gatherings are occurring all over the map. Last October, your intrepid author and her ever-reliable and adventurous spouse, spent an enjoyable weekend in Seattle at the inaugural Steamcon convention, an event set to return November 19-21, 2010.

The big question for an author of fiction: are my novels Steampunk? Only the most recent, The Second Glass of Absinthe, would technically fall near that definition. It is a Victorian mystery novel that plays with elements of the Victorian occult, but given its lack of more pronounced urban fantasy elements, I would have to say that is does not qualify unless the constantly evolving definitions of this genre were expanded.

My current work-in-progress, however, may come closer to the mark. It, too, is a mystery set in 1875, but its primary theme--spirit photography--represents the ultimate nexus of the twin Victorian obsession: technology and the occult.
To be continued...

1 comment:

Hannah Dennison said...

Hi Michelle -
What a terrific post. Now I understand it all and as I am going to Bouchercon, would love to hunt you down for a chat. I really want to know more about it - hear your recommendations etc. Thanks for responding. I'll look out for you!