On genres and ‘punk

I got told yesterday that ‘steampunk’ is probably the wrong genre for GreenSky. It’s something I’ve been pondering for a while, but I wasn’t sure what to do about it. Green Sky and Sparks has gone into the steampunk genre as that’s now what’s on the book, and it’s the best genre I can think of – but I’m not sure what to do with the next ones.

I stuck Greensky in the ‘steampunk’ genre because I wasn’t sure where else to put it. It’s fantasy, yes – it has magic in it. But it also has technology, and that’s as large a part as the magic is. It’s not China Mieville’s “weird” fantasy, it’s not any of the established genres…so I went with steampunk to reflect the Renaissance element and the technological discoveries. However, the genre now seems to have solidifed into industrialised machinery that isn’t my technological world. Wikipedia classes it as “a subgenre of science fiction and sometimes fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery” – so not really what I’m going for.

The genre is broadening out, though. There’s solarpunk (Art Nouveau aesthetic and renewable energy). Dieselpunk (inter-war to 1950s, with retro-futuristic technology). Cyberpunk (dystopian, robotic and computer-focused, and the most well-known of the genres). There’s elfpunk, stonepunk, nowpunk… apparently clockpunk is the most Renaissance-based of the ‘punks, but although I’m using clockwork, it’s not a focus.

So I think it’s time to say “sod it”, and go with what works for my writing. Thanks to my friend @vicorva, I’m going with sparkpunk. Electricity ftw, damnit!