Steampunk is a genre of alternate history and a self-described sub-culture. I confess, it often fascinates me. Perhaps I just have that personality, having spent time doing historical reenactments and researching SCA. Some of my favorite fiction series fall along this theme, such as the Ring of Fire series by Eric Flint or the Emberverse series by S. M. Stirling.
What draws me to this genre? Well, for one, I have always been drawn to gadgets. My Pawpaw was an inveterate tinkerer and held several patents. My earliest manly memories are of being invited into his shop, poking through his tools, the smells of freshly cut wood, varnish, oil and leather. It gave me a great appreciation for hand made, quality items as opposed to mass produced sterility. The ability to take a raw material and turn it into a useful item is almost a holy act to me.
I am also every bit as much a historical junkie as I am a news and political junkie. Steampunk offers me the opportunity to merge my creative/builder bent with my historical bent. To research early efforts into transportation, electricity, steam power, etc leads me to interesting bits of data from the Victorian period backward until science turns into alchemy.
Not least is the people. All my life I have been a magnet for the weirdos. I suppose because I are one. The misfits, the nerds, the goofy, have always made up the vast majority of my friends. You don’t go to reenactments or SCA events or Highland games to hang out with Joe Normal. You wont find people discussing their favorite sports team or their job as accountants, for the most part. You will get thoughtful, sometimes heated, arguments about the exactly when a certain dye or fabric went out of style, or the historical importance of the development of gun cotton. In other words, I prefer to hang out with thinking people. People who put a little thought into life and their passions. Sports, to me, are a massive waste of time and energy. Better to expand ones mind and capabilites than be mindlessly entertained. Better to hang out with the misfits, than drawn in mediocrity.
I hope you find something you can embrace that makes you think and gives you the opportunity to create. I recently joined the forum at http://brassgoggles.co.uk/forum/index.php and downloaded all the published works at http://www.steampunkmagazine.com/ and here is a site where I often find inspiration http://steampunkworkshop.com/ . I salute you, my fellow misfits, rebels, punks and oddballs!
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round heads in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them. Disagree with them. Glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world Are the ones who do.”