I’ve posted two steampunk reviews in the past couple weeks, and both times in the “genre” section I’ve had to put Sci-Fi/Fantasy, which REALLY grates my cheese. Science Fiction and Fantasy are NOT the same thing (except when, occasionally, they are…) and even though the get lumped together at bookstores and libraries, it’s usually pretty easy to spot the difference.
But not with Steampunk.
I think this is largely due to the fact that Steampunk has often adopted supernatural creatures, such as vampires or werewolves, which make them crossover more to fantasy. However, Steampunk works without those creatures have little or no fantastical elements. In those cases they function more as alternate histories featuring crazy technological advancements which, while scientifically possible, we never made. Hence, science fiction.
Really, it’s unfair to attempt to throw the whole sub-genre into one genre. Which makes absolutely no sense.
So what do I do in my book reviews, and, more importantly, on my bookshelf? I COULD differentiate. Boneshaker is more of a fantasy, what with the zombies and all. The Difference Engine, however, is more science fiction. But I don’t know, that seems like a lot of responsibility, and I’m a little afraid of pissing off the hard-core science fiction lovers. Also, it seems like they should be on the same place on my bookshelf… I could permanently combine Science Fiction and Fantasy, like they do at bookstores, but as I mentioned, that bugs me. THEY AREN’T THE SAME!!!! I could just not include the “primary” genre in my reviews, and give steampunk its own shelf on my bookshelf, I guess… But as I mentioned many moons ago, I’m running out of bookshelf space, and it doesn’t make sense to create a whole shelf for like, three books. (I gave most of my steampunk to Half Price Books. Still looking for a steampunk novel to fall in love with!)