Steampunk is a sub-genre that I’ve heard about but haven’t looked into until recently. I’ve always enjoyed the Victorian time period, so this primary aspect of it appealed to me from the start. I’m also now enjoying the literature. But it wasn’t until I started speaking with the welcoming people knowledgeable about steampunk, did I find a deeper appreciation for the welcoming cog of science fiction. Below, Jeff Mach of Steampunk World’s Fair kindly answers some of my questions.
Travis Blair: What is and isn’t steampunk?
Jeff Mach: Steampunk involves merging Victorianesque aesthetics and concepts with the rest of the world. Steampunk is irrepressibly creative and vast. I’m definitely a lot more interested in looking to find new things that ARE Steampunk, rather than worry about what ISN’T.
Travis: Where did the term and genre originate?
Jeff: The term originated with author K.W. Jeter, who coined the term in 1987, speaking of his own work – “Morlock Night”, “Infernal Devices”, and, more recently, “Fiendish Schemes”.
The genre didn’t originate in any one place – it came about from all manner of creative minds all over the world! That’s part of why Steampunk has resisted being consumed by the mainstream – it has no single source for people to put on a pedestal. Anyone with creativity and verve can create Steampunk.
Travis: What would you consider a good introduction to steampunk?
Jeff: Going back to the last question for that – I’d say, “Read ‘Infernal Devices'”! Read it twice!
Travis: I can see how something can have a look inspired by steampunk, but how does music fit into the genre?
Jeff: Steampunk is a culture, and you can’t have a culture without music; music is too much of what makes us human. So if you can apply Steampunk creativity to songs, then you can come up with music which uniquely fits our world.
Travis: What goes on at the Steampunk World Fair?
Jeff: We build up a critical mass of enjoyment and offer an endless buffet of joyous fun until everyone collapses on Sunday, exhausted and happy!
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