Home    Workshops    Members Only    Contests    Join    Contact us                       RWA Chapter

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What is Steampunk?

Please welcome guest blogger Suzanne Lazear

Steampunkers party like it’s 1899--and what happens when Goth’s discover the color brown. Steampunk is set in a world where steam and natural gas, not coal and electricity is still the primary power source. It’s a world abounding with airships, gas lamps, gears, cogs, and brass goggles and populated with mad scientists, philosophers, adventurists, and air pirates. HG Wells and Jules Vernon are huge inspirations for Steampunk. Examples include League of Extraordinary Gentleman, Boneshaker, and the Parasol Protectorate series.

Even though there’s a heavy 19th century influence and feel to Steampunk, there could still be extraordinary technology all done with 19th century materials and in 19th century styles. There can be Steampunk airships, space ships, computers, and brass robots. Technology may have simply evolved differently–or maybe a natural (or unnatural disaster) caused society to “regress,” though Steampunk stories traditionally lack the dystopian/anarchist elements that cyberpunk has.

Steampunk stories can be set in the past, in the future, or on another planet. They can be set in Victorian London, the Wild West, Asia, another world entirely – you are only limited by your imagination. They can be alternate histories, mysteries with hard-boiled detectives or cozy Victorian ladies, they can be gothic, or horror, or sweet romance. They can be bodice rippers, erotic, or “tame.” Steampunk stories can even feature the supernatural or paranormal elements.

It’s in the setting, the language, the gadgets, and the characters–who could speak like Victorian ladies or fast-talking American teenagers. With Steampunk, there’s really a great opportunity to be creative and make amazing worlds ranging from gritty to opulent. Its basis is 19th century in nature, but it’s also fiction so you can do incredible and imaginative things. The variety of Steampunk stories is only limited by the imaginations of those who write them.

Are you ready to write?

Writing Steampunk: From Aether to Zeppelin, presented by Suzanne Lazear, runs from October 31, 2011 through November 30, 2011

Suzanne Lazear’s young adult Steampunk dark fairytale, INNOCENT DARKNESS, Book 1 of The Aether Chronicles, will be released from Flux in August of 2012. Visit her website at www.suzannelazear.com She’s also part of the Steampunk group blog Steamed http://wwww.ageofsteam.wordpress.com


Christine Ashworth said...

I have got to read some steampunk. I admire the genre - but am tentative in writing it! Can't wait until your book comes out, Suzi!

Sarah said...

I must admit, the Steampunk genre really intrigues me. Every time I hear you talk about it, I'm really intrigued. I'm just not sure I have a wild enough imagination to invent mind-blowing stuff. Maybe I should take your class...

Lynne Marshall said...

Great information about Steampunk. I love the line - "when Goths discover brown" LOL.
There are fascinating possibilities they way you've described this genre. I can see why it is so hot these days.

One tiny favor? Could you not use the term bodice-rippers? We'll never live down that unfortunate tag, I'm afraid.
Love the blog, Suzi!

Anonymous said...

I'm new to the steampunk genre but looking forward to the challenge! I was wondering if can still get into the steampunk class even though it started yesterday?