Two bearded ladies take a stroll at a Louisiana steampunk festival. Photo credit: infrogmation, via Creative Commons.
During the quarter century since novelist K.W. Jeter playfully invented the term “steampunk,” the neo-Victorian movement has grown into a full-blown literary genre and an energetic subculture. Steampunk is airships and corsets and bizarre glowing weapons. It’s gears and top hats and goggles and mechanical butlers. It’s no-nonsense pistol-toting female scientists and the oppressive cultural restraints that tries to shape them into proper ladies.