Okay, okay. Fine. There's like three or four questions I get the most - not counting "where did you get those awesome shoes?" - most of which kind of roll together into a great glistening sphere of Steampunk-related inquiries. And I know I've KIND of SORT of SOMEWHAT answered this in the past, but I feel like my past explanations require a bit of an updating.
Aside from the overall sense of "what is" Steampunk - a question I'm not entirely certain I'm qualified to definitively answer - I think the more relevant question is why I decided to nest much of my story in the Aesirium/Dead Man books in an archaic world of steam engines, clockwork and rusted retrotechnology.
Generally speaking, straightforward Steampunk novels tend to be structured into a repurposed Victorian era, depending on that era's tech seedlings to generate the potentiality of a more broad-based technical expansion. You know, HG Wells, Jules Verne, that sort of thing. And yes, that is a DRAMATICALLY OVERSIMPLIFIED description. There are entire books written just about the nature of Steampunk, so if you want to travel down that rabbit hole, yes. I fully support said rabbit hole. Spelunk away.
For me, however, writing "a steampunk novel" had never been the intention. In my first series, "The Chronicles of Aesirium", the point was to draw a line between two cultures - one who embraced magic and the other who embraced technology. How would these two cultures develop, even side by side, if they had little to no interaction? And so, for the people of Oldtown-Against-the-Wall, their technological path was stopped cold at the moment of their division, remaining in an only mildly enhanced steam-powered civilization. And it wasn't even until the first draft of the first book that one of my editors pointed out the strong steampunk vibe my book had.
The division of tech versus esoteric - facts versus faith - is perhaps accidentally a running subtext in my books, and its something that deeply fascinates me. There is so much that connects the two, even while so much seems to divide them; how we develop apart from that which seems to oppose us is as important, I feel, in how we also reach out to the "other side" of this wall we allow to rise up between us. Of the two - division versus alliance - I think is as much a question for who were all are individually as much as who were are as Peoples, and I hope this sort of conversation springs up from readings of my books. I mean, okay, they're also adventures, with magic and giant robots and zombies and monsters and angels of death, but.... it's a story about us, really.
And that brings me back to "why steampunk?" See, there's just something so organic about steampunk - both in its expression among the fans and subculture members of their love of it as well as in the genre's materials themselves. It's a "okay, let's do this" mindset which I find refreshing and world-saving. It's "find a need, fill a need"; it's a "get off your ass"edness that we've kind of steered away from in many ways. In our culture of "instant gratification" and "internet anonymity", getting back to a hands on, side by side constructiveness is often missing, of late.
And since I can't just wave my magic wand (I've got a Sirius Black wand from Universal Studios and I'm not afraid to use it!) and make the world different - and, really, I don't think anyone should be able to do that - what I can do is write about it.
What do you think? What do you love about Steampunk? Or do you not even know if you DO like Steampunk and want to know if it's something for you? Let me know in the comments!