The Steampunk Aesthetic as Neo-Vicwardian Retro-Futurism

Dirigible Parking only.

I think the best way to understand the term Neo-Vicwardian Retro-Futurism is to break it down into its component parts.

Neo:  ‘neo’ is a prefix from the ancient Greek word for ‘young’; a new or revived form of.

Starburner Couriers

Vicwardian: a portmanteau word of Victorian and Edwardian, to cover the beginnings of the Industrial Era. The Industrial Era occurred at different times all over the world.


Retro: imitative of a style or fashion from the recent past.

The term retro has been in use since the 1970s to describe new artefacts that self-consciously refer to particular modes, motifs, techniques, and materials of the past.  – Wikipedia

Scott and one of theGhost-busters  proton packs

Futurism: concerned with events and trends of the future, or which anticipate the future;

Retrofuturism (adjective retrofuturistic or retrofuture) is a trend in the creative arts showing the influence of depictions of the future produced in an earlier era. Characterized by a blend of old-fashioned retro styles with futuristic technology, retrofuturism explores the themes of tension between past and future, and between the alienating and empowering effects of technology. Primarily reflected in artistic creations and modified technologies that realize the imagined artifacts of its parallel reality, retrofuturism has also manifested in the worlds of fashion, architecture, design, music, literature, film, and video games.         – Wikipedia

Does this clear up some of the confusion? No?

Alisa from back

The Victorian and Edwardian eras didn’t have just one fashion style. Just like now, fashions changed, and different parts of the world had different fashion trends. What was fashionable clothing in London wouldn’t have been considered in Paris, Moscow or New York, and would certainly have been too hot for Sydney or Auckland. So the Steampunk Aesthetic doesn’t have just one style to draw from, but a whole century’s worth of fashions. The same deal goes for the literary genre … you just aren’t limited to late 19th century British writing styles!

In the Steampunk Literary Genre:

  • Their settings are industrial
  • They tend to mimic Victorian literary style and language
  • Many incorporate ‘fantasy’ elements like magic
  • Mash-ups are a popular literary device
  • They involve scientific innovation as a major plot point
  • There will be a major character who is a scientist or inventor
  • They tend to utilize Victorian notables as characters (Queen Victoria)
  • They may ‘borrow’ characters  and settings from Victorian and Edwardian fiction (Sherlock Holmes)


Filed under Bling, Characterization, Plot, Setting, Steampunk, Steampunk Aesthetic, Steampunk Genre, Writing Style

7 responses to “The Steampunk Aesthetic as Neo-Vicwardian Retro-Futurism

  1. I’m afraid I always take exception to your “There will be a major character who is a scientist or inventor” because I never do that. (Well okay, I did it once, in a webseries. Never in my books, the technology is simply there as part of the setting.)

    Perhaps you might rephrase that to the same slightly vaguer versions you have in your other lines as well?

    In mine fictional characters stay fictional; there’s no fantasy/supernatural; no famous people (except Winston Churchill is Winifred Churchill, and the protagonist in my main series is probably going to meet Gandhi in the next book). Nor are my settings particularly industrial and nor do I use scientific inventions as a major plot point (since I don’t use inventors or scientists) except the web-series. And no story is set in England (mostly India and now Africa) except the web-series and the feature film.

  2. This blog is great!
    And thanks for following mine as well, much appreciated!
    As you may have noticed, I also write steampunk, but it’s mostly in a fantasy setting, with variations on a theme, really. There is magic, usually. No scientists or inventors, yet! (never say never, right!) one of my books has an industrial sort of setting for the parts with one of my main characters in what would be deemed the ‘real world’, I suppose…this is for House of Sept, but Oath of God is slightly different, there is an element of the steampunk there, with the mechanical dragon, Eros, but I’ve slipped some Japanese armour and a few demons here and there! I like to turn everything on it’s head, as you may have realised, and I think steampunk offers a wide range of options! 🙂
    I very much look forward to reading more of your blog, also, the photos are amazing!

    • Have you heard of the Steampunk writer Jay Kristoff? He has an alternative Japanese setting for his universe, and I believe you would really enjoy his work.

      And yes, what I love the most about Steampunk is that it adapts to so many options. If you like the photos I post, you might like my Facebook page, ‘Steampunk Sunday, Queensland Australia’. I post many more images there. It was set us as a resource for Steampunk enthusiasts.

  3. Reblogged this on chrispavesic and commented:
    This is a nice article on the influence of the Victorian era on modern-day steampunk.

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