By Lara Nance
So, what is it about steampunk that is alluring?
Perhaps you’ve thought about reading a steampunk novel? Now may be the best time ever. With its growing popularity, there are many new books out in this genre. Including my steampunk novel trilogy, The Airship Adventure Chronicles.
First of all, What is steampunk? There are as many definitions as there are people giving them. Here’s mine:
It’s a Victorian themed world, where steam is the power of the day, running everything from furnaces to automatons. There are iconic images that pop up in this world, such as: corsets (worn on the outside, of course), goggles, top hats, pocket watches, airships, an occasional octopus, and lots of gadgets made from clockwork parts.
People are flocking to steampunk. The last convention I attended, Steamcon in Seattle, had around 3,000 attendants. And that’s only one of hundreds of other conventions and events around the world. You can check out information about conventions and local groups at www.airshipambassador.com
What’s the allure? Speaking for myself, I think it’s the romance of the era. There’s adventure on every corner with airship pirates, mad scientists and clockwork monsters. Fashion is at the forefront with everything from bustled satin ball-gowns, to bustiers and fishnet hose, to leather, chains and studs.
Some people say steampunk is when Goths discovered the color brown…But the beauty of steampunk is that you make of it what you want. You can go for a genteel Victorian flavor or a leather bristling with weapons look. Or, a combination of the two. If you don’t want to create your own outfit, there are shops on the internet with everything you need. My favorites are steampunkthreads.com and clockworkcouture.com. Etsy has a huge variety of folks selling their original steampunk jewelry.
Inventions are key. You can invent a steam powered computer or a clockwork robot. Weapons are only as limited as your imagination, as long as you stick to the clockwork/steam scenario.
For the winter fashion shows I saw major fashion designers incorporate steampunk into their fall lines, Movies add steampunk elements that never existed in the original story (think Three Musketeers with its airships and corsets, even Oz had some goggles), TV shows focusing a segment on the steampunk culture (remember the Castle episode?). Take a look at women’s boots these days – you’ll see lots of buckles and retro styling.
Okay, you get the picture. Steampunk is everywhere.
In 2013, people said steampunk had peaked. But in my opinion, the culture is on the rise. A recent IBM analysis said steampunk is on the rise to emerge from sub-culture to mainstream. On-line games and series are coming out everyday, new cons are popping up everywhere, and new books are coming out with interesting steampunk characters and environments.
So, if you’re interested in writing or reading steampunk, the time is now. You can choose between a variety of base genres in which to incorporate the steampunk theme. Sci-fi, fantasy, romance or mystery/thriller. Add some spunky, resourceful, characters and a splash of imaginative adventure and you’ve got a steampunk novel. Adding a little hot sex only adds to the allure.
Don’t forget the father of steampunk (in my humble opinion), Jules Verne. His book, Around the World in Eighty Days inspired my own stories. Books like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, are great examples of an imaginative high-tech Victorian era.
If you’re looking for movies, check out The Golden Compass, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The new Three Musketeers movie, Wild Wild West, or Hugo. They’ll give you some great images of different steampunk worlds.
Some people argue whether steampunk is alternate universe or alternate history. To me, it’s both…or either. It’s what you want it to be. And that’s the beauty of this genre-- freedom to create an imaginary world, or simply say “what if” within the real Victorian world. You can add magic, or paranormal creatures, or stick with plain old humans.
This is a chance to unleash your imagination and take a new look at the world through a pair of goggles. Steampunk folks are some of the most imaginative people I’ve ever met. And they definitely know their history.
Oh, by the way, you’ll have to learn the proper way to drink absinthe, too.
I’m so excited to announce my newest steampunk tale, One Steamed Night. It’s part of the 1Night Stand series from Decadent Publishing. Madame Eve gets very creative in this fun adventure to give Mina the fantasy man of her dreams once she becomes disenchanted with the typical bar scene.
Let me know if you like it. You can e-mail me from my website: www.laranance.com Plus, if you sign up for my newsletter you’ll get news of upcoming books, and a chance to win some great steampunk jewelry.
Have you read any steampunk books? What are your favorites?