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The steampunk umbrella


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As not to flood the topic i made earlier this week with "semi-related" subjects

I decided to instead make a new topic to discuss things that ARE steampunk but work slightly different from how steampunk is traditionally seen.

Let's start trying to find a suitable definition for steampunk, shall we? Now everyone defines steampunk differently (as 2 steampunks to define steampunk to you and you get 3 different answers), but there are some guidlines that most do follow when working on steampunk as a real-life phenomenon. With this i mean steampunk as we encounter it in fashion, Subculture and lore. This border i set to exclude alternate universes in which everything works a little differently. Coming back on topic, i think a few things make steampunk steampunk, which is a heavy base in the 19th century, a focus on technology in some way and a certain amount inventiveness or creativity for good measure. 

In short, steampunk is a form of retrofuturism based on the industrial revolution. 

From here on i would like to place a small disclaimer because i am not an expert that studied the subject. I am merely part of it in some way and noting things happening around my personal niche that i take liking in but other than that have not excessively looked into. Thank you for understanding and in all cases correct me if I'm wrong.

Now the most common form of steampunk barely needs an introduction, but I'm going to give it one anyway. Common steampunk usually is inspired on the victorian era, in England. It generally takes after high social classes but we also see a lot of engineers, inventors and scientists among the nobility: Some personas may even be a combination of multiple tropes. To use my own main steamsona as an example: lady Gearington is of noble birth, but decided to dedicate her life to studying the science of time travel. Time travelers, alchemists, noblemen, military men, mad scientists, airship captains, airship pirates, engineers and inventors are all common tropes in the general steampunk genre. But they need to be viewed loosely and cannot be standardised. Clothes wise general steampunk likes to layer. Making a point out of being well dressed and not showing too much ankle.


(Character probably ment to be an engineer or machine operator of some sort)

Song impression for general steampunk: mechanical menangery by the cog is dead

But general steampunk is quickly followed by another big group. Post apocalyptic steampunk. Post apoc lacks the wealth and riches of victorian britain but has all of the filth. And sometimes even zombies. In this terrain there are two possibilities of lore: men had to revert back to steam power after electricity failed us all, or the industrial revolution happened and then everything went wrong. The lore determines if personas would have access to more modern objects and clothes (such as pans, rubber tire, licence plates, sneakers and bras) or if they would be more victorian  (utalising fine tea sets, walking canes, leather, corsets and monocles) but all in all neither of the backgrounds really have time to dress completely correctly. Post apocalyptic steampunks often wear clothes that reveal a lot pf skin either due to rags or because the dystopian world they supposingly are from is very warm. Hats are absent though caps do appear and this group generally seems to take a liking in sand tones. 


Song impression for post apocalyptic steampunk: wasteland by abney park.

The third group I'd like to name, i also named in the other topic and exists of the steamgoths. A group claimed by both the gothic as steampunk subculture, i think they fit the steampunk universe very well. Drawing inspiration from victorian authors such as edgar allen poe and lovecraft, as well as the dark side of victorian history and the vast genre that is gothic, steamgoth forms an unique group within the steampunk (or gothic- for that matter) subculture/genre. Adding tropes of vampires, freakshows, ghosts and the creepier mad science of necromancy among others to steampunk. Steamgoths also seem to not place as much emphasis on technology as the regular steampunk does and displays itself mostly in the form of fashion.


Steamgoth song suggestion: the day the clock stood still by the melting clock

But that is by far not all variety steampunk has to offer. On the other side of steamgoths we will find a lighter world, that holds just as much of magic. I am, of course, talking about fairypunk (not to be confused with dragonpunk). Fairypunk takes inspirstion mostly from romantism as found in art and literature. It portrays a romanticised image of non urban areas, making use of fairytales. Fields that are filled with playful fairies, unicorns roaming the woods. We have entered a world of clockwork pixies and alice in wonderland-eske aesthetic. Fairypunk is light, but can be rather freaky at times, just like their source material tends to be.



Still to serious for your liking? Try Nerfpunk on for size! I cannot spend toouch text about this style, because it lacks lore. It just exists and it's wonderful. A lot of steampunks will repaint nerf guns to make them look steampunk; Nerfpunks will recolour their outfit to look like nerf guns. 


(Sorry to disappoint you but there is no such thing as nerfpunk music)

In the future i will ramble about teslapunk and dustpunk among others. Feel free to ask questions, leave suggestions or tell me to stop making steampunk topics.

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