Three Cheers for International Steampunk

Steampunk is different from country to country.

It has been a while since I contributed to this blog, a shame, really. I have been occupied elsewhere and there is this annoying thing called the day job.

What has occupied most of my leisure time is the planning of the European Steampunk Convention. Which brings me to today’s topic. When I started planning I had thought we would get steampunks from the usual places. You know, the countries who have been part of the European Community longer than all the others. France, Britain, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Germany, you get the idea.

What I did not expect was the feedback from Croatia, Russia, Belarus, Scandinavia, Slovenia. What I expected even less was people from Mexico and Argentina showing an interest in this.

I have since looked into how the scene manifests from Terra de Fuego to Trondheim and from Mexico City to Moscow.

The only thing I can say: The next person who tries to nail down what the steampunk scene is all about will be forced to wear a hollowed out, six-day-old watermelon over the head for a day.

The more you look around, the more you see there is a lot of difference from country to country, region to region, sometimes even city to city.

Global phenomenon

An example: You find Weird West elements in the American scene. Maybe some of the American steampunks are not even aware of it, because it comes to them so easily. In continental Europe, there is a taste of Belle Epoque, Fín de Ciecle and gaslight flair mixed in. These are only some of the most obvious things someone notices when casually observing from the outside.

This year, I am making a spirited attempt of visiting steampunks in places where I did not really expect them. Sometimes, communication will be difficult, I expect. Especially when I am going to the Slavic-speaking parts of Europe. I am in particular curious about what the steampunks in Prague will be like.

Some things will be just like everywhere, but since steampunk is something that draws at least part of its inspiration from the past, it will be different from country to country. Let’s see what will be different about the Prague scene.

Since steampunk has become such a global phenomenon, every attempt to put a definitive label on it is doomed to fail and at the same time likely to exclude whole communities and who wants that apart from elitist wannabes and style Nazis? (As on my own blog, I am completely unapologetic about using this term, thank you.)


I, for my part, embrace this diversity and I revel in it. There is so much potential in the global scene. Trying to press it into boxes can only hurt. Every country has its identity, every scene in this country has an according identity. This is not about conforming to a set of rules, it is about creating the best seasoned and spiciest menue ever. A global scene and flavors from all over the world!

Three cheers for international steampunk, for steampunks all around the world. Let’s celebrate our diversity together!

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