ERIC Number: EJ922998
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Dec-1
Steampunk: Full Steam Ahead
Campbell, Heather M.
School Library Journal, v56 n12 p52-57 Dec 2010
Steam-powered machines, anachronistic technology, clockwork automatons, gas-filled airships, tentacled monsters, fob watches, and top hats--these are all elements of steampunk. Steampunk is both speculative fiction that imagines technology evolved from steam-powered cogs and gears--instead of from electricity and computers--and a movement that fosters a do-it-yourself attitude and a love of beautifully crafted, yet functional, objects. Although K. W. Jeter coined the term in the late 1980s, the concept is much older: Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, Mary Shelley, and other 19th-century authors are primary influences. These writers inspired a dark, melancholy genre typically set in Victorian England. There are academic purists who adhere to the original style, but as the steampunk audience expands, the field now includes books set in other countries, fantastical universes, and even far-distant futures that have re-adopted Victorian dress and behavior. There are also books that are not strictly steampunk but incorporate select elements, such as steam-powered villains or clockwork automatons. These undefined boundaries complement the rebellious ethos of steampunk. For librarians and teachers, steampunk offers multifaceted approaches to reach diverse students. For talented artists, emphasize the DIY philosophy. For Victorian history or Industrial Revolution lesson plans, highlight the historical anachronisms and what-ifs of steampunk. For classic literature discussions, illustrate how steampunk has embraced Jules Verne and H. G. Wells. Steampunk has many attractors for students: the Victorian aesthetic, promotion of upcycling (making "junk" into something both functional and lovely), and anachronistic role-playing. Steampunk is all about bravely breaking the rules. This article provides a list of related books and websites.
Descriptors: Classics (Literature), Fiction, Nonfiction, Books, Librarians, Teachers, Elementary School Students, Middle School Students, Novels
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Media Staff
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