Valjeanne Jeffers is an editor and author. Below she discusses the definition of steampunk and why you should be reading it. If you want to try a steampunk title, Mocha Memoirs Press recommends, MOSES: THE CHRONICLES OF HARRIET TUBMAN by Balogun.
(reblogged from The State of Black Science Fiction 2012)
I love fantasy. I know fantasy/SF is pretty popular these days, but I fell in love long before the genre became the “flyest kid at the school.” There’s just something wonderful about escaping into a world (whether through reading or writing) that’s so different from everyday mundane reality― a reality of responsibilities and bills― into a dimension where you still have the same crap to deal with. . . but now you can became a creature with preternatural strength. How cool is that? It gives you a decided edge over everyday reality, or at the very least makes it more interesting.
I wrote my first novel, Immortal, with these thoughts in mind. The beginning of Immortal was the story of a young woman, Karla, living on the planet Tundra. Karla has ordinary, everyday struggles. But she has a little―no a big―edge. Immortal weaves a tale of portals. Time travel. Werewolves. Daemons. By the time Immortal III is thrown into the mix, vampires have joined the plot. Tell me, what’s not to love? Fantasy also lends itself incredibly well to “what if?” scenarios. As in: what if there was no racism? What if there was no poverty? What if folks came together and decided to change the world. . .?
For those of you who haven’t guessed it yet, I also like to mix genres. In fact, that’s the other thing I love so much about fantasy; it blends so easily with other genres, like horror and science fiction. But if fantasy is my first love, I’d have to say steampunk is my second.
From the outrageous clothing. . . bustles, corsets and knickers, to the outrageous machinery. . . airships, steam-trains, muskets. This is a genre I just can’t stay away from. Steampunk is a glorious mixture of other fantasy/SF genres. And the settings and plots reflect this― plots set in the post-civil war. Victorian England. Post-Apocalyptic America. Or a futuristic world, as in my steampunk story: The Switch. Steampunk, like any other fantasy subgenre is also anybody’s game when it comes to “what if?” plots, settings and costumes. Which of course is why I’m so head over heels in love with it.