What is steampunk? Well, I ought to have an answer for that, as it’s something I’ve frequently been asked as I stroll around in my top hat, goggles and bustle skirt, my trusty octopus familiar (the original Archie) by my side.
Like most things, it’s not all that simple. I can get it down to one word—retrofuturism—but only if I want to be met with baffled frowns and blank looks. The easiest way of explaining it to the uninitiated seems to be to invite them to think of Victorian science fiction, with HG Wells’ War of the Worlds, The Time Machine and The First Men in the Moon, or Jules Vernes’ 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.