Week One: Do Your Research! What is steampunk? Period, location, and most importantly: technology. An overview of writers, old and new, who’ve produced steampunk novel and shorts.
Steampunk only acquired its name in the late eighties—that’s 1980s, not 1880s—but it’s been around for a long time. Think Jules Verne, with his submarines and airships. Think H.G. Wells, with his Martians and time machines. Think Luis Senarens and his the Steam Man of the Plains.
More recent authors include K.W. Jeter, who coined the term ‘steampunk’, Joe Lansdale, China Mieville, Scott Westerfeld, Cherie Priest, and one of my all time favorites, Philip Reeve—I absolutely love his LARKLIGHT series.
Steampunk consists of a Victorian setting, whether actually in the time period of ~1840-1900, or in a setting with Victorian trappings. These would include steam power, aether engines, airships, submersible ships and the more clockwork kind of mechanicals. Think steam power, but with a boost.
As for characters, there are certain personas in the steampunk world: the explorer, the airship captain, the scientist, the adventurer. Women of the Victorian age did not have the same opportunities as men, but steampunk women can do whatever they like, and they get to wear way cool clothes. You might want to google ‘steampunk attire’ or ‘steampunk clothing’ to get a feel for the kinds of things your characters might wear.
As for writing steampunk, the sky is definitely the limit—in every sense of the word. I’m currently involved in writing a steampunk novella which takes place on Venus. So don’t be afraid to dip into the waters of steampunk.
Attach to this thread a brief description of your experiences with steampunk. Have you read any of the authors listed above? Do you have other favorite steampunk writers who can be added to the list? Or are you new to the world of steampunk and just looking to learn more?