"Steampunk is What Happens When Goths Discover Brown" -Jess Nevins

Welcome, welcome, welcome ladies and gentlemen to the weird and wonderful world of steampunk. What is steampunk you ask? Why, it is many things, but let's call it an aesthetic sensibility. Gears, corsets, dirigibles, and don't forget your goggles. There is steampunk music, fashion, art, and of course books!

Steampunk has its roots in the scientific romances of the mid-19th century but really took flight (steam powered of course!) in the 1980s and most recently in the aught-aughts. A group of writers (Jeter, Blaylock, Powers) working in southern California would meet up at their local watering hole and realized they were all writing similar works, as a joke they called it "Steampunk". This genre has certainly taken off in the new millennium with such authors as Philip Pullman, Scott Westerfield, China Mieville, Gail Carriger and Cherie Priest (to name only a few) putting their own spin on the steampunk genre. 

So, back to the original question (I tend to wander, don't you?), what is steampunk? For me steampunk means the use of anachronistic technologies particularly in a story placed in the past. But sometimes it is simply a world where technology never moved past steampower and women still wear pantaloons under their dresses. For others steampunk is about gears and velvet and parasols (you musn't forget parasols!). But whatever it is, I find it incredibly fun. If you would like to hear me ramble some more about steampunk, catch me and my fellow panelists for "Grab Your Goggles, It's Getting Steamy In Here" at the 2nd Annual Denver Comic Con.

Ahem, ladies and gentlemen, not only is there all this amazing awesomeness to be enjoyed but the Central Library of the Denver Public Library will also be throwing a Steampunk Film Series! So, don your corset, grab your goggles and come down every Tuesday in the month of June to watch our Steampunk Series, costumes encouraged!

June 4th Hellboy

June 11th The Prestige

June 18th Serenity

June 25th Sherlock Holmes

For your further edification and general tastiness for your eyeballs check out these titles:

Steampunk!, an anthology of fantastically rich and strange stories. This is also available as an eBook

Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded, another great anthology of steampunk stories by authors like William Gibson and Jess Nevins.

The Steampunk Bible Collected by the authors of the Steampunk! anthology, this book is full to bursting with great factoids.

Steampunk Accessories In case you haven't already, this title will help you modify your cell phone so that it looks all old-timey and steam-powered. Awesome!

Steampunk Fashion This book is like the Christmas toy catalog of steampunk fashion. You're going to want, like, everything! Ooooooh, the pretty dresses! Also full of manly leather vests and top hats!

Steampunk Your Wardrobe Since you won't be able to buy all the goodness that you want out of the previous book, this little DIY guide will help you make your own shiny outfit!

A Map of the Floating City by Thomas Dolby. As I mentioned before there is such a thing as steampunk music. Check out Thomas Dolby one of the masters of the form.

Clockwork Angels by Rush and Clockwork Angels by Kevin J. Anderson. To round out this post, here is a book and an album that were released simultaneously. Rush and  Anderson collaborated to create a steampunk novel with music to accompany it and pulled off the feat beautifully!

For even more information please head over to our official DPL @ Denver Comic Con page!

Written by Emily on May 10, 2013


Cathy on May 10, 2013


So much fun, Emily! Thanks! I once alternated listening to audiobook versions of Mieville's Kraken and the Alexia Tarabotti novels ... and it worked. Somehow, it worked. Marvelous dreams.

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