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An Explanation of Steampunk

Steampunk is blowing up!

The sci-fi / fantasy-based subculture that most had never heard of 2 years ago has become a full blown national movement.

Brown Paper Tickets sells tickets for a ton of these events and it seems like steampunk-themed events have increased significantly over the last year. This last November in Seattle, the second annual SteamCon more than doubled their venue capacity and sold-out almost instantly, attracting hundreds of girdled and moustachioed attendees (complete with vintage goggles, top hats, and mechanical talking parrots) from the world over.

So, what is Steampunk? SteamCon’s vice-chair Diana Vick described it as “Victorian science fiction” in a recent the CityArts article, “Steampunk Frontier:”

It should be set in the Victorian era, roughly 1837 to 1901. Whatever technology is being used, it should run on steam. Clockworks or mechanical power sources work too. Steampunk has a few common themes – exploration, mad science, invention, transportation and alternate histories. If you’re looking at something that contains something from each of those categories, you can be pretty safe in calling it steampunk.

Here’s a great YouTube video about a recent exhibition at Oxford University that does a great job at explaining the artistic aesthetic surrounding SteamPunk.

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