An intriguing Steampunk release from earlier in the year was first-time novelist Lev A.C. Rosen’s All Men of Genius, which seems to have absorbed the lessons of classic Steampunk but also be fully aware of the modern variety. It’s aware of a need to be entertaining and of using the subgenre as social commentary, but also of creating compelling characters and situations. In the book, the budding genius-level inventor Violet Adams wants to attend the prestigious but all-male Illyria College, founded by the late Duke Illyria, the greatest scientist of the Victorian Age. So what does Violet Adams do? She disguises herself as her twin brother, Ashton, and gains entry. What follows is part farce, part adventure, and fun on a lot of different levels—including killer automata, deadly legacies, and a lot of plot twists and complications.
Omnivoracious asked Rosen if he’d give us his take on Steampunk and how it relates to All Men of Genius. This is what he came up with…
Steampunk: Lev A.C. Rosen’s View
What is Steampunk? The question gets asked a lot by people just coming to the genre. Those familiar with steampunk tend to take a “I know it when I see it” approach, and that’s because like many developing genres (although the term has been around since the 80s at least, I think of it as a genre still in flux), it’s still drawing inspiration from and blending with other genres. Many books, films, and video games have steampunk elements. Does that make them steampunk? I think it depends on what steampunk means to the viewer.