Definition: The statement of a meaning of a word

One of the most interesting parts of the Steampunk Week interviews at Meljean Brook’s blog was the question, “How do you define steampunk?”

Actually, what was most interesting to me was that the answers were all so different.

Humans have a need to quantify things, to draw lines in the sand and put ideas into pretty little boxes. What makes steampunk? Is it goggles and steam engines and quasi-Victorian era? Is it adventure with dirigibles and land-walking clanks? Is it a straight-up adventure yarn or a social commentary? Does the narrative have to have a technological and scientific underpinning that obeys the laws of physics, or can it venture into the impossible? Is it an aesthetic movement with literary offshoots, or is the genre a genre in its own right? And in many of our narratives, where did the “punk” go – the social outcast, the fringe element to society, the anarchist hate-on for social norms?

I don’t have answers for these questions, and I’m glad that there aren’t any hard-and-fast rules as to what steampunk is. It means that every steampunk book I pick up is an adventure, and every story something new. The field is evolving, and I’m so excited that I can contribute, in my own small way, to its definition.

12 days and counting until release day.


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