What is Steampunk? (Plus, get a FREE book!)

What is Steampunk? (Plus, get a FREE book!)
December 27, 2018 No Comments » For Authors, Writing Phoebe Darqueling

“Steampunk” as a word is a tongue-in-cheek reference to another literary genre born in the 1980s, Cyberpunk. “Punk Literature” as a whole looks at people, places, cultures, and especially technology and its repercussions, and reimagines them.

Steampunk specifically takes elements of the Industrial and Victorian eras (roughly speaking, the 19th century but there’s wiggle room) as inspiration. It takes various forms, from an alternative history to a dystopian future to a complete fantasy world untethered to our sense of time and space. In the thirty years since the Steampunk emerged, it leaped from the pages of books and into people’s lives. It can take the form of special events, elaborate costumes, and dedicated sports, such as umbrella fencing and tea duelling.

We’re big fans of Steampunk here at Our Write Side. So much so, we’re dedicating our next short story anthology to it! (Deadline: Jan 28. Get the details.) To help you on your journey of Steampunk discovery, we wanted to let you know about a brand new and totally FREE resource.  The Steampunk Handbook was created by one of our OWS writers, Phoebe Darqueling. Her debut novel, Riftmaker, is a Steampunk portal fantasy story for teens and adults. (On pre-order now!)

What is The Steampunk Handbook?

The primary goal of The Steampunk Handbook is to facilitate inspiration and provide some food for thought, as well as resources, to get your gears going. Much of the book is devoted to expanding on the brief definition above. So, if you are still having trouble wrapping your head around it, don’t worry.

The first two chapters are devoted to understanding “steam,” understanding “punk,” and understanding the history of punk literature. Next, there are chapters that look at specific works and how the fandom has expanded decade by decade. 

The majority of the book is devoted to “Ways to Punk Your Steam,” which reflects the patterns I have observed. These are twelve tropes you can find within Steampunk. Darqueling also includes reference material recommendations and explanations of the historical context for each. These are by no means the only tropes, but are great way to see if you are interested enough in to do further research.  

Phoebe’s been an active member of the Steampunk community as a blogger, an author, and a lecturer for over half a decade. She wholeheartedly believes that anyone who wants to participate can and should be able to do so, even if funds are limited and time is short.

Her hope with offering The Steampunk Handbook for free download is to provide a jumping off point for understanding the evolution of the genre. May it guide you to a sample of the works across various media that have been involved so far. And provide information to help you go off and create something splendid of your own.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your FREE copy of The Steampunk Handbook and check out the call for our 2019 anthology featuring Steampunk short stories.

Are you a blogger or reviewer? Join the blog tour for Riftmaker, which will happen Jan 24 – Mar 6.

Phoebe Darqueling Phoebe Darqueling is a speculative fiction writer who also runs SteampunkJournal.org. You can find her writing in contributions to the Collaborative Writing Challenge, including their newest Steampunk release, Army of Brass. During the academic year, Phoebe is the Creative Director and curriculum writer for a creativity for middle school students, which has given her an understanding of and appreciation for intelligence and creativity of all shapes and sizes.

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