Tweet of the Day: The Teutonic Order and the Baltic States
Steampunk trends in the opposite direction to Cyberpunk in the scale of idealism versus cynicism. It recalls a time of boundless promise where steam power stretched rails across continents and steamers reached the farthest oceans. It thrives on the aesthetics of gears, steam plumes and dirigibles. Often it employs alternate history as setting but it can also be set in an alternate world. Its real world analog is the Victorian era (1837-1901) and has a London like city at its center although an American counterpart could exist between the end of the Civil War (1865) to the beginning of World War 1 (1914).
It also embodies the spirit of the age(s): human achievement through technological progress and capitalist growth but with whatever the author wishes to throw in, like magic, classic movie monsters, daring explorers and maybe the odd giant robot or two. It certainly runs on the rule of cool.
Not all steam punk works are happy go lucky romps through old timey cheerio England. After all the 19th century was only a paradise for those who could live in Indian bungalows or great pastoral mansions away from the toxic cities…
Or the subjugation of millions at home and abroad,
Or the alms houses and child labor,
Or the subjugation of millions of Natives in America, Africa and Asia,
Or the wars….
Dickens was only the tip of the proverbial iceberg after all. Still, it is a sub-genre where the thrill of adventure is very much alive and you can meet historical figures kicking ass and taking names.