My personal taste for the aesthetic should be termed Steampunk Lite. I like brushing by it, picking up traces of it on my plotline or characters, but I don’t actually want steampunk in its full manifestation. Here’s why.
Steampunk as an aesthetic is more a fabulous concentration of things than it is unique, which makes it hard to define. That’s also actually why I first resonated with it. Goggles, corsets, Victoriana, dirigibles, steam technologies–we’ve all seen them, but steampunk, a subgenre of sci fi, made me feel like I was looking at them under a selective magnifying glass.
The elements common to the aesthetic popped out from familiar things I’d seen along these lines, so that they were no longer props but the main artistic elements. That was something I would have never concocted, so I marvel at its evolution.
My working definition of steampunk is art, literature, film, fashion, or anything else which unites futuristic technologies with those of the steam age, often in London and often in terms of an alternate telling of history due to those achronistic pairings.
Given my recognition of the aesthetic’s intense visual and ideological potentcy, it is perhaps paradoxical, then, that my personal taste for it should be termed Steampunk Lite. I just want it to be more vulnerable to scale, rather than composing the main jist of a scene.
I like brushing by it, picking up traces of it on my plotline or characters, but I don’t actually want steampunk in its full manifestation. Rather, I am eagerly glad it exists as a dense social reference point, so that I can happily imbue my fiction writing with a muted version of it.
So I don’t and probably won’t dress up and go to conventions. I don’t build clockwork anything as a hobby. But I am extremely enthusiastic that so many in the steampunk community do, and hope the trend continues and expands. It’s so cool!