Beyond Reality discussion

23 views
General SF&F discussion > steampunk: fantasy or sf

Comments Showing 1-11 of 11 (11 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 437 comments Is Steampunk SF or fantasy?

(Inspired by some comments in the April nominations.)

Originally it was clearly SF, being cyberpunk set with advanced steam technology -- and if the engines would have demanded too much energy to run, the history of SF has long allowed the use of such fudges.

And then it became steam technology.

It picked up a lot of fantasy tropes, though. Nowadays, it seems to be leaning toward any fantasy that uses steam technology, whether more advanced than actually achieved, or not.

I'm generally of the position that it's not either an SF or a fantasy genre at the moment; like genres that can be either mundane or fantasy, it doesn't tell you which it is.


message 2: by Silvana (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) I don't read many steampunk novels but books I read with similar tech such as The Anubis Gates and Raising Steam are definitely fantasy. I guess it could be fantasy or a mixbreed like science fantasy or (post)apocalyptic fantasy.


message 3: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 437 comments Yeah. Sometimes it seems just to mean fantasy taking place in a society with more than medieval tech -- and then you get into dieselpunk and clockpunk to either side -- and that's some interesting semantic drift there.


message 4: by Silvana (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) I heard somewhere that steampunk should be set in Victorian age.....maybe because of the industrial revolution? Steam engines have been around since a millennium ago, though.


message 5: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 437 comments Yeah, but they were occasional and incidental things. It's hard to build a world that that's much different because the mines are using incredibly inefficient steam engines.


message 6: by Random (new)

Random (rand0m1s) | 818 comments I tend to look at alt history and steampunk as not under either fantasy or science fiction, but beside them under the broader umbrella of speculative fiction.


message 7: by Candiss (new)

Candiss (tantara) | 1207 comments Random wrote: "I tend to look at alt history and steampunk as not under either fantasy or science fiction, but beside them under the broader umbrella of speculative fiction."

I'm with Random on this...which I realize doesn't really answer the original question. I suppose my answer to "fantasy or sf?" would have to be "neither."


message 8: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 437 comments It gets more complicated when there are dragons and elves in the world as well as the steampunk.


message 9: by Silvana (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) Mary wrote: "It gets more complicated when there are dragons and elves in the world as well as the steampunk."

Both are fantastical creatures so in that case it becomes fantasy?


message 10: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Bran | 15 comments True steampunk is alternate reality, which would typically be cohsidered fantasy. I wouldn't call it SF because that implies advanced technology rather than technology following a different path through history. The waters get muddier when you think about "steampunk flavored" fiction. February's fantasy selection, "The Aeronaut's Windlass" will give us a good opportunity to discuss this. It is steampunk flavored, but most definitely fantasy.


message 11: by Wastrel (new)

Wastrel | 40 comments It's SF&F.


back to top