Books beyond me…
My first encounter with Steampunk was H.G. Wells The Time Machine. What an odd book to be reading at eight years old. It was loaded with terrifying social degradation implications, carefully masked political dissonance, mentions of sex acts between the evolutionary human species, and cannibalism (kinda). Wow. I didn’t understand a lot of it until I reread the book in ninth grade, then marveled at the strangeness of my exposure.
From there, I was enamored by the science fiction of a split future-past. It wasn’t fossil fuels that we harnessed in these works of fiction, but water and other renewable sources. Wireless energy based on Tesla’s tower designs, ray guns that fired concentrated sun-beams, journeys into the deep where sophisticated aquatic civilizations used thermonuclear energies… the potential in the unexplored!
The aesthetic was undeniably alluring too. I made myself a host of different steampunk inspired goggles, necklaces, earrings, corsets, and more. I was stopped by my high school security guards more than once for having “weapons” on me (spent cartridges drilled into accessories.) Needless to say, I had to discontinue my wardrobe accessories until graduating.
I drifted more into the cyberpunk/dystopian sci-fi realm as I got older, but never forgot where those roots took hold—steampunk. Those early ideas that challenged my world as I knew it helped create my broad imagination. Nothing is impossible, just undiscovered.
Enough blabbing from me, what was your first introduction to the Steampunk genre? Let me know in the comments below!