Steampunk Revolution?

“We’ve got a steampunk revolution

We’re tired of all your so-called evolution

We’ve darted back to 1886

Don’t ask us why; that’s how we get our kicks”

Steampunk RevolutionAbney Park

I have admired Steampunk from afar for a while now. I’ve enjoyed the costumes, the machines, the music, and the creativity. I’ve read a few steampunk books. I ran one of the many steampunk role-playing games a long time ago. In fact, I recently discovered Professor Elemental’s steampunk-flavored hip hop. But in the end, I really don’t get it.

Was the age of steam really that great? I refer, of course, to the Victorian era. (And I hate to break it two you, but most of our electric power is still generated via steam. It is just heated by more sources than coal.) 

Don’t get me wrong. The Victorian era was an era of discovery and adventure. The world was still a big place then. It took a long time to travel from country to country. Ships and trains ruled the day. Much of the world was still unexplored.

What is steampunk trying to capture or recapture? 

Is it the romance of the Victorian era or the adventure or the discoveries? Or is it just a DIY movement with cool fashions? Or is it to satisfy a deep need in some of us to explore that modern life can’t satisfy?

I thought about putting together a costume and going to a steampunk event or two, but I would just be a poser. (I could see myself getting into a steampunk role-playing game, but I’m not sure I’m qualified to run one.) So I guess I will have to content myself with listening to Abney Park and Professor Elemental and admiring steampunk creations in pictures and videos.