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The term Steampunk is fairly encompassing in scope, and most would agree that the sub-genre of Science Fiction developed with a foundation in the dress and style of Victorian England’s Industrial revolution. Add in a few slight tweaks to the era, making Mad Science a reality and you have Steampunk. Some have also relayed the thought that Steampunk is whatever you want it to be. Their are a variety of books by H.G.Wells, Jules Verne, H.P. Lovecraft, and China Mieville that depict various aspects of what Steampunk can be. Each of the variety of “punks” Steam, Diesel, Atom, Cyber, etc… all show an amalgam of human and device, or human and machine, and the enhancement of humans with the devices and machines to make each of us capable of feats more than just our bodies can obtain. The ‘punks all demonstrate intellect is important and have a certain view that egalitarian conduct is preferred. The stories of the arrogance and self interest of characters inevitably cause the downfall of the character are thematic in ‘punk literature.
In music, Steampunk is a sub genre of Goth. It seems almost as if those who shifted to steampunk decided to lose the dark, brooding all black to colorful and sensual dress. The informality of jeans and t-shirts are replaced by the elegance of the suit and dresses reminiscent of the colorful aspects of Victorian age.
See “How to Dress Steampunk?” here.