Explaining Steampunk to the average person on the street can be a daunting task. While the people who make up the scene, the steampunks, are easily the most recognisable facette of the subculture. Reducing the steampunk genre to people dressed up in quasi-futuristic Victorian gear, would do the scene a serious disservice, though.
The steampunk scene encompasses literature, a wide range of music, festivals and conventions, tinkerers and inventors, and of course the aforementioned people.
Yet, even this does not cover everything. Obviously, one has to consider the people on the outside, what their general perceptions are and what they expect.
All these topics and questions and possible answers were part of a presentation I was invited to give at the Technische Universität Dortmund. The university actually offered a course on steampunk during the semester at the department for English and American literature, which is epic in and of itself.
Marcus R Gilman is a general geek who conforms to too many clichés and has a faible for monocles, Zeppelins, cyberspace and cities beneath the ocean housing ancient deities. A long-time RPG enthusiast, he also dabbles in computer programming and works full-time annoying Google. On the side, he is an author with a range spanning from anthropology to steampunk (both fiction and non-fiction) to horror to Japanese poetry. His main outlet on the web is the bilingual blog project Daily Steampunk, complete with one steampunk and one occasional science podcast. Cameos of him can be found in four different Steampunk novels and he is the official representative of Section P, the Imperial German equivalent to Pip Ballantine’s and Tee Morris’ Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. www.daily-steampunk.com; http://www.resae.net; https://twitter.com/Yithmas.