The Next Big Thing is a segment of my creation in which I talk about trends that I notice in YA lit. I am by no means an expert. I’m just someone who enjoys seeing what books will come out in the future and drawing conclusions from that.
The Next Big Thing: Steampunk
Until very recently, I couldn’t have even told you what steampunk was. I had to look it up on dictionary.com after I heard it enough times. In a nutshell, it is a Victorian era science fiction. There’s a very fine line between steampunk and cyberpunk, from what I can gather. The difference is in the technology. Steampunk uses technology that would have been advanced for the 1800s. Cyberpunk’s technology is advanced for our time, like a true sci-fi. Don’t feel bad if you don’t see much of a difference. I still struggle with wrapping my head around this.
Perhaps the most well-known YA steampunk book on the market right now is Cassandra Clare’s The Clockwork Angel. There’s also The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross and Trisha Telep’s compilation called Corsets & Clockwork: 13 Steampunk Romances, which features authors like Maria V. Snyder, Kiersten White, Jaclyn Dolamore, Caitlin Kittredge, and Lesley Livingston among others.
I’ve had to research what other books are considered steampunk because of how little I know of it. I have seen Incarceron by Catherine Fisher thrown around, though some consider it to be cyberpunk instead. I’ve also seen Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series on a few lists, even though it takes place outside of the Victorian era requirement. It really depends on how technical you’re going to be.
Why did I choose steampunk for this week’s next big thing? Until a few months ago, I’d never heard of it. Now, I’m finding all kinds of books that have only just come out that are “steampunk”. Will this trend continue? Possibly. If Cassandra Clare’s series gains enough attention (and I’m sure it will), there may be a lot of copycats out there who want to write their own steampunks. Given time, I’m sure we’ll be seeing more titles that would fit on this list.