So, you think you’re Steapunk, huh? I’m here to tell you that unless you’ve watched “BBC Why the Industrial Revolution Happened Here” you don’t know it. Painted gears and a pair of goggles? Not yet, brother/sister/ Steam Punk is more than just a look, it’s a look based on the science fiction as would be perceived in the day. Just as we take electricity and micro-computers for granted–because we know them, real Steampunk is actually based on the limitations of the knowledge of the day. Not only did they not drink Tang or eat Kraft Dinner Macaroni and Cheese, but they could not conceive of it yet. Steam Punk is science fiction limited by the imagination of the Victorian/Edwardian time.
To successfully do Steam Punk, you have to mentally travel back in time and absorb what the times were like, and using that as a frame of reference, let your imagination go wild. Electricity–what is this mysterious force that makes things happen? 2000 Leagues Under The Sea–wooooooww. The Victorians spoke of electricity the way that today’s New Ager’s use the word “Quantum”. Zero understanding but it sounds way-cool. But a few understood it.
The abuse of the Gears symbol, Brass and Dark Wood. No. Just stop it. A gear sticker on your so-called gun does not make it Steampunk. Nor does the brass. You gun needs a plausible excuse to work. See Van Helsing: A gas powered cross-bow as a “machine gun”. THAT works. Your curtain-rod-on-wood with no plausible gun doesn’t. That you put welder’s googles on a top hat doesn’t make your look steampunk unless you’re posing as Aristocracy that welds. How likely is that? Not very. Possible, but find a visual explanation of how it can be. What makes Steampunk cool is not so much the fashion, as the imagination that the fashion points to.
Steampunk: science-fiction before we could imagine what we take for granted today.