Steampunk Themes

What are some common themes of steampunk fiction? (If you have suggestions, please comment!)

I’m thinking along these lines:

Punk, to me, at base means rebellion against an establishment.

Because steampunk is influenced by the culture of Victorian England, I also feel there needs to be some kind of commentary on colonialism and empires, and on class divides. Looking at these issues through a “real world” lens is an important part of this.

Technology versus nature also ought to be in there, though on the whole I feel technology in steampunk is usually favorable so long as it’s wielded by the good guys. Tech might be temporarily bad, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything steampunk in which technology ended up being abolished. If it causes bad effects, they’re usually outweighed by the good.

Thoughts? Comments?

Here’s an interesting related post at the Age of Steam blog: The Darker Side of Steampunk.

About Victoria Janssen

Victoria Janssen [she, her] currently writes cozy space opera for Kalikoi. The novella series A Place of Refuge begins with Finding Refuge: Telepathic warrior Talia Avi, genius engineer Miki Boudreaux, and augmented soldier Faigin Balfour fought the fascist Federated Colonies for ten years, following the charismatic dissenter Jon Churchill. Then Jon disappeared, Talia was thought dead, and Miki and Faigin struggled to take Jon’s place and stay alive. When the FC is unexpectedly upended, Talia is reunited with her friends and they are given sanctuary on the enigmatic planet Refuge. The trio of former guerillas strive to recover from lifetimes of trauma, build new lives on a planet with endless horizons, and forge tender new connections with each other.
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