Tucson has a large and enthusiastic Steampunk community who hosts or attends multiple events throughout the year. Even if you are not a member of this thriving group, you likely know someone who is. We suggest you attend at least one of these events or go all out and join their ranks because these folks bring the fun. Steampunks are creative, talented, intelligent and entertaining friends. That is why Bookmans asked the Tucson Steampunk Society to return for a 2nd Annual Steampunk Invasion of Bookmans Speedway. We thought this might be a good opportunity to go over a few basics with a Steampunk 101, or at least try. The greatest thing about the Steampunk movement is that it’s inclusive. The next greatest thing is that, while some activities are common to most Steampunk events, the party is an ever-changing, highly-personalized vision of a future past. It’s not exactly “anything goes” but it is close.

Steampunk 101

H.G. Wells and Jules Verne are arguably the unofficial grandfathers of Steampunk given that their works helped set the stage. Trust us, Steampunks love to set a stage. Steampunk exists as a subgenre of science fiction or fantasy. Steampunk is a alternate reality set in a future past that combines the technology and aesthetics of the 19th-century Victorian era and the American Wild West and is peppered with Art Nouveau/Horror/Fantasy features. Members of the Steampunk community dress up, use imaginary devises, time travel and drink tea. This takes us conveniently to things that happen at Steampunk events.

For the upcoming event at Bookmans Speedway, we will view the iconic film, The Time Machine, teach crafting panels, debut local art and engage in tea dueling! We are often asked about tea dueling. We will tell you but it is more fun to experience as descriptions do not do it justice. At the basic level, tea dueling contestants drink tea while Chemis-Tea Girls kibitz, give tips, watch for biscuit drooping and declare a winner.

Steampunk covers more than dress-up party activities. Look for Steampunk-inspired fashion, film, art, home decor and literature. You can find dedicated Steampunk displays or even entire sections at Bookmans that feature Steampunk fashions, film, art, home decor and literature. Explore the genre, but don’t just stick to our dedicated displays. You’ll find Steampunk-ish items all over the stores.

For those looking to dive into Steampunk literature, our current titles include Scott Westerfeld’s Behemoth, which covers the exploits of Deryn and her compatriots. Deryn is a girl posing as a boy in the British Air Service, who is battling to end an epic war. Other titles include Agatha H. and the Airship City by Phil and Kaja Foglio and Steampunk Emporium compiled by Jema Emilly Ladybird Hewitt. Steampunk Emporium is a collection of how-tos, what-nots and interesting bits of information.

For a more tongue in cheek explanation of Steampunk check out The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. If you would like to be a part of the fun contact Tucson Steampunk Society. Don’t miss the adventure and fun at our 2nd Annual Steampunk Invasion of Bookmans starting at 10 a.m. on April 23. Sign up for tea dueling; it’s delicious fun.