Listen, my friend. If you take something that’s got something to do with the 19th century, or thereabouts, and do something with it, I’m going to be comfortable calling it Steampunk.
Obviously, using a big, broad definition can give people an excuse to do cookie-cutter same-as-everybody-else stuff. I’ll totally admit that. You can buy a few plastic gears at a hardware store, throw ’em at a hat, and call it Steampunk.
But it also means that we have a massive wealth of styles, ideas, locales, concepts, and geography to play with. We’re not limited to Europe. We’re not limited to H.G. Wells. We’re not limited to EARTH. We’ve got Tesla to Curie to Jack the Ripper to Lovelace to Challenger to Elizabeth Howlett.
If we let Steampunk be defined big and far and wide, we’ll get imitation, we’ll get some mass-produced stuff, we’ll get some people who just don’t put any thought or effort into it, and yeah, that’s a shame. But we’ll also OPEN STEAMPUNK UP to the entire planet and let anyone creative, whimsical, and strange come play in our playground. Steampunk will either be mind-batteringly boring or world-challengingly enthralling BASED ON WHAT WE DO WITH IT! It’s up to US!
So tell me, mate. For you, what IS Steampunk?
~ Jeff Mach