The inherent weakness of steampunk is how readily it lends itself to quotation and pastiche. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was a wonderfully successful example. But if I set out to write a steampunk story at this late date, having such an example before me, it would be hard to resist having Holmes and Jack the Ripper fight it out in Graustark. As a successful writer, I have no trouble resisting this temptation, but were I a new writer, with one or two or no publications under my belt . . .
The strength of steampunk is that it draws upon the literature of an entire era. So that it will not soon be exhausted. Plus, that era's literature being plot-intensive, it can be productively mined and then merged with a great many modern and post-modern literary tropes.
Not that I recommend this to a new writer. Best that you follow your own star, your heart [or maybe "best"].
But if you're already set on steampunk, full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes.
This, I believe, shows you exactly how dreadful my first drafts are. But it explains why my handwriting is so bad. I'm trying to write as fast as I can think. So there's not the time to be lucid, either physically or logically.
Again, this is an essay I never got around to writing. It turned out I didn't have anything essential to say on the subject.
And a rather better bit of writing:
To be pursued by the moon is of course to delude oneself . . . The moon follows effortlessly, you cannot escape, and the larger issues -- whether you will live forever, for example -- have already been decided.
This was written for Hope-in-the-Mist, my study of the fantasist and poet Hope Mirrlees. I don't think I used it, however.
I'm quite pleased with the cartoon of the fugitives being pursued by the moon, however.