I have been a fan of Science Fiction since I was old enough to pick up a book and read it for myself. Normally I prefer hard science Sci-Fi to any form of fantasy. However I have been captivated by the old Wild, Wild West television show and movies such as League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and books like Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and From the Earth to the Moon, H.G. Wells’s First Men in the Moon and The Time Machine. All of these combine a Victorian environment with high-tech achievement but without high technology. Confused? So was I when I first heart the term “Steampunk”.
The ‘punk’ part misguided my brain onto thinking it was some urban-new wave sort of stuff and I paid it no mind. But as the term was bandied around more, I became curious, and found that it is in fact that odd, red-headed stepchild of Sci-Fi with which I was so fascinated. But I still was not clear on what the rules were; where are the boundaries. Then I came across this PBS mini-documentary that cleared it up nicely. If you are less than certain, I hope it will do the same for you.