Steampunk /stēmˌpəNGk/, verb: To seriously annoy grammarians by verbing the word “Steampunk” to mean “Make something Steampunk”; example: “Is it safe to Steampunk a velociraptor, and if so, why would you do so, and why do you have a velociraptor, anyway?”*
Is it possible to Steampunk EVERYTHING? I think it might be. I mean, we’ve Steampunked cars, houses, individuals, bands, martial arts, Tarot decks, games, bookmarks, cocktails, and way more things than I can mention here. I don’t think Steampunk has a practical limit.
People used to make fun of that. People used to say that our ability to add multidinous things to the Steampunk culture meant that Steampunk was too simple or too easy. They didn’t get that Steampunk wasn’t a contest; that Steampunk wasn’t out to be the coolest kid on the block. Steampunk was out to build as magical and wondrously peculiar a world as possible. (But I’ll write more on that another time.)
It was yet another one of those things that people said would cause the Death of Steampunk; they thought people might just get tired of Steampunking things. But that’s not at all what happened; there are, after all, billions of things in the world. We’ve Steampunked something like, what, .00000002% of the things on Earth? We’ve got a long way to go before Steampunk stops being unusual and creative; and by that time, Steampunk will undoubtably have mutated in splendid and unexpected ways and it will be doing new things we’ve not even conceived yet.
Because that’s what Steampunk does. You can throw a spotlight on it and it will give you a dazzling show; you can leave it alone in a dark, empty room, and it will quietly shine and sing. Steampunk refreshes the rest of the world; it’s not in competition with the world.
* Of course, any grammarians reading this are already going to be annoyed that I used the word “verbing” at all, not to mention the fact that I split an infinitive in the same sentence.