Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Jude. Jude Wonders, “What is steampunk?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Jude!

Do you have a strong imagination? Let’s take a mental trip back in time to Victorian-era England. That’s the years 1837 through 1901. Look around you! People are wearing petticoats and bowler hats. Down the street, a factory is being built. There’s a steam-powered boat on the river. If you look closely, you might even spot Sherlock Holmes or Tiny Tim walking down the street!

Okay, let’s travel back to today’s time period. Oh no! You forgot to leave behind the Victorian-era fashion and technology! We’re in the present day, but electricity never replaced steam power. Plastic doesn’t exist. People still dress in fancy outfits. There are waistcoats and pocket watches everywhere!

This is the world imagined by the steampunk movement. Steampunk started in the 1970s as a type of literature. It was thought of as a sub-genre of science fiction. Steampunk authors imagined a world in which Victorian-era fashion and technology existed in modern times. For example, a steampunk character might dress just like they’re in Victorian England. But they would live in the modern world. They would use computers and cars powered by cogs, gears, and steam.

Steampunk authors were inspired by Victorian writers. Have you ever heard of Charlotte Bronte (Jane Eyre)? How about Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)? These were two of the authors who inspired steampunk writers. They also drew on Bram Stoker (Dracula) and Mary Shelley (Frankenstein). Steampunk was also inspired by 19th Century “dime novels.” These books were about romance and adventure.

Steampunk has gained quite a bit of popularity. Today, it’s much more than literature. There are steampunk movies, television shows, and video games. You can also find steampunk art, fashion, and music! In fact, many fans think of steampunk as a worldview. The steampunk philosophy combines Victorian-era optimism with modern creativity and self-reliance.

How can you spot steampunk creations today? Look for old fashions and technologies. Are there gears, rivets, and cogs? How about brass and copper? Are the characters wearing long gowns and carrying tiny umbrellas? If so, it may be steampunk.

Have you ever encountered steampunk before? Do you think you would enjoy a steampunk book? How about a movie? It’s a very unique movement that draws fans from everywhere!

Standards: C3.D2.His.2, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.10

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Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day features a lifelike karate chop!