Welcome back! Steampunk has a diverse subculture of fans, but many people aren't familiar with it. What if you're an outsider who wants to learn more about steampunk? Good news! Everybody is in your situation at the beginning. All steampunk fans begin their journey as someone who's just curious about it. I'll give you a list of basic resources that can help you get started. Pick and choose whatever seems more appealing to you.
Believe it or not, Wikipedia isn't the worst place to begin. It might not be an expert definition of the genre and subculture, but you'll get a basic understanding. Wikipedia shows a general overview, a brief history, and some examples, including photos. It's a good place to start. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk
You can find almost anything online. I enjoy certain steampunk blogs, such as Airship Ambassador and The Steampunk Explorer. Airship Ambassador is a comprehensive database of interviews, artwork, press releases, photographs, book reviews, and more. If you want to find information about upcoming events and media, Airship Ambassador is the right place to visit. Steampunk Explorer is similar, but it's more like a collection of journal articles. Either way, you'll find plenty of current information on both websites. For those of you who enjoy YouTube videos, take a look at Radio RetroFuture. Bonsart Bokel talks about various steamunk topics, incuding current events, beginner's guides, music, video games, etc. Video blogs are probably the next big thing, so Radio RetroFuture would probably be a good idea as well.
Don't be shy about steampunk events. Just try out a Google search for local steampunk festivals or Comic Cons. Many of them of are inexpensive and fun. Steampunk events are a great way to check out the subculture in person. You'll see a big variety of costumes, props, merchandise, etc. Events showcase informative panels and vendors who sell really cool products. If you're curious about steampunk accessories and books, these events would be terrific. By the way, most steampunk fans are quite open minded and friendly to newcomers. You could probably ask various steampunk fans about their experience in the subculture and it would be quite informative.
For those of you who spend time on Facebook, check out some of the steampunk groups. Steampunk Tendencies and Steampunkorama are a couple of the more active steampunk groups. Normally, people need to join these groups to find out more information, but that's okay. I'm sure they'll be happy to receive open minded newcomers. These groups primarily show photos and artwork. Steampunk is a highly visual genre, so photos of cosplay, crafts, and other things are a useful way to learn more details. Here's what I recommend. Log in to Facebook and type the word steampunk in the search bar. You'll probably find multiple groups and topics about steampunk.
Check out Barnes & Noble if you're an avid reader. I don't have any trouble finding steampunk books on shelves. However, you might not feel like venturing to the bookstore. That's fine too because everything is available on Amazon. Just type in the word steampunk and see what pops up. It's also worth mentioning that several indie authors sell their work on Amazon, including me. Many people don't have the option of selling their work through major publishers, so self-publishing on Amazon is a great option. The quality of many indie books are quite impressive, so give it a chance. Naturally, the major steampunk books are terrific as well. Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate and Custard Protocol series are nice Victorian fantasies. The same is true about the Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare. If you prefer dystopian settings, the Clockwork Century series by Cherie Priest and Mortal Engines quartet by Philip Reeve would be a good place to start. Additional steampunk works include Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, Perdido Street Station by China Mieville, The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, and The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences by Philippa Ballantine and Tee Morris. Even comic books have decent steampunk representation. I'm a fan of Lady Mechanika and Gotham by Gaslight. You can also go back to the authors who inspired modern steampunk scribes. I would recommend anything from H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Mary Shelley, and H.P. Lovecraft. The Sherlock Holmes books are fabulous if you enjoy mysteries. Also, The Steampunk Bible by Jeff Vandermeer is a nice introduction to steampunk for beginners.
There's also a small collection of steampunk films. I would recommend The League of Extraordinary Gentleman, Victor Frankenstein, Van Helsing, Crimson Peak, The Golden Compass, Mortal Engines, and The Prestige. There are also a couple of anime gems, such as Howl's Moving Castle and Steamboy.
I haven't forgotten about the gamers. There are several video games with steampunk influences. Some of my favorites are BioShock: Infinite, Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, the Dishonored series, and The Order: 1886. I'll throw in the other BioShock games as well, even though they're actually dieselpunk.
Truthfully, it's hard to understand steampunk if your knowledge about the Victorian period is limited. You don't need to make the experience long and excruciating. Check out the Victorian era on Wikipedia for some light reading. I would also recommend some exploration on The Victorian Web. It's an interesting database about Victorian culture, literature, technology, politics, music, etc. Just flip through anything that looks appealing.
Don't forget to check through Google Images for steampunk costumes and photos. I already said steampunk is highly visual. Therefore, photos of steampunk cosplayers, models, artwork, and merchandise is a good way to understand the basic aesthetic.
I can't think of many steampunk television shows, but there are many Victorian period pieces and fantasies, such as Ripper Street, Victoria, The Alienist, Murdoch Mysteries, Penny Dreadful, and Dracula. I'm not completely sure about the upcoming series of His Dark Materials on HBO. It's another adaptation of The Golden Compass, but it might be more of a dieselpunk version.
Last but not least, here's a link to my author page on Amazon. It's an easy hub if you want to purchase my steampunk books. The Post-Apocalyptic Society is available in three volumes and it's a lot different than some of today's steampunk work.
This post should give you plenty of options to learn about steampunk. Check out information at your leisure and have fun. Ironically, steampunk is everywhere and you've probably seen it many times. I hope this post was helpful. Leave any thoughts and suggestions in the comment section. Thanks a lot for visiting and I'll see you next week.
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