There is a BIG detail most of my fellow steamers tend to forget: cyberpunk came first; the reason that it became a pop culture stamp is its ability to bring the fictional aspects out into the real world in the way of clothing and home decor. Steampunk is really famous now because of many people tiring of the simple generic look of cyberpunk and they are amazed by ingenuity that steampunk has to of...fer. The problem is people’s lack of creativity and would rather throw money at something then use their own imagination to cobble something together. My one gripe is people’s need to define exactly what steampunk is and what is not. The one thing many hardcore steampunks do not want to accept is this: Steampunk is a term, which is subject to evolve with the times, if it does not change it is doomed to die out, run out of steam, if it were.
I understand the need to simplify the genera but there is one thing that frightens me to no end about that: limitations. In one such instance, Teaslacon; a convention that immerses itself in the world of Victorian science fiction. They are perhaps right on the money of what steampunk really is. They have taken several journeys through the world, chasing a Victorian criminal, going under the waves on a “pleasure cruise”, and next year they are going to the moon! (be sure to get your tickets right away, they are selling out fast and space is limited) However there is talk about what they will do for the fourth year, gathering prominent steampunks from around the world making a Steampunk Magna Carta. This new document will tell the world about this very unique and powerful movement, but more importantly, completely define what steampunk is and what is not.
This is most terrifying! From the definition that many “pure” steampunks claim steampunk to be, is will completely rub out what many of us are. There will most likely be no “clockpunks” because that is far too early before the steam engine. There will be not “steampunk fairies” anymore because steampunk is “Victorian Science-fiction” and fantasy will not mesh together. They most likely will get rid of “air-pirates”, because they are so many of them and they are just like “real pirates” anyway. The western steampunks? Gone, if they cannot justify to the set standards. ”Dieselpunk” is already almost a bad word to some circles.
That leaves out my favorite one of all, post-apocalyptic punk. It takes the roots of the cyberpunk name, to deviate from the norm of society, but it is looks into the past and gets from it something that cyberpunk lacks: hope. In post-apocalyptic punk, the world has either ended well over hundred years ago, or rather a more present day motif in which the power grid has failed and society has fallen, we have gone back to a simpler form of power for our machines, and untimely a less sophisticated society. But despite the world having ended they are a lot of hope for the future, unlike the more dystopian way of cyberpunk. I love that post-apocalyptic punk can incorporate both Victorian and modern items into steampunk.
But perhaps the reason it is my most beloved aspect of steampunk was my introduction to steampunk was through Abney Park. Their music was something I had not heard before, and surprising they had a rich backstory as to why they are steampunk. Did they influence not only me, but a whole new wave of steampunkers with pioneering a new sound, or did they have the foresight to jump on the steampunk bandwagon at the right time and right place? A Chicken or egg to me. Despite how they have started, or how they have expanded into literature and mediums, they were the first and most prominent thing in steampunk for me.