But for those in the know, it’s a lifestyle.
Basically, steampunk is a subgenre of sci-fi that, more often than not, features steam-powered machinery and early 19th century Victorian or Old West costumes and retro-futeristic weaponry and costumes.
A simple Google search for steampunk will display a vast array of examples, even some pop culture characters done up in the style.
Steampunk Star Wars is a favorite of mine.
But the subgenre is so expansive that there are tons of reasons why the movement is coming to the forefront.
“For some, it’s the time period,” Daphne Garcia, the founder of Beeville’s first steampunk group, said.
“A lot of people like the fashion from that time period. Other people go for the re-imagining of the technologies, something new and making it old and vice versa.
“For me, it was a lot of the aesthetics.
“I liked the various modding (taking objects and modifying them) out of stuff and how the gears would work. The various colors and textures. The detail of it.
“So, for me, it’s purely aesthetic.”
The steampunk group held its first meeting on Tuesday, and all who attended were very enthusiastic about learning this strange new genre.
Garcia started the group out with the basics of steampunk and had a PowerPoint presentation for visual references.
“It’s just a group right now. I wanted to bring steampunk to a wider variety of people.
“I didn’t just want it to be just my friends and my group.
“I wanted to show it, because steampunk is something that a lot of people can get into.
“People see it and think it’s really cool, and I wanted to share that. Share that passion and share that love and let you know that you’re not alone.
“There are a lot of us out there.”
Steampunk has, well, gained steam in the mainstream media over the years with elements popping up in video games and movies like “Wild, Wild West,” “Hellboy” and “the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” to name a few.
“When I first kind of started looking into it, there wasn’t a lot of people doing it.
“And now, if you go to a Barnes & Noble or a hobby store, you see it everywhere, which is fantastic for me who likes making everything.
“I love reading, so going to a store and saying, ‘I just want steampunk right now’ and finding it is great.”
And steampunk communities are also popping up everywhere throughout the world and sharing their knowledge of costuming and weaponry.
“A few years ago, you couldn’t find much.
“If they modded something, they weren’t sharing.
“And if you make something and you really want to show it off, make it but also show how.
“You can keep some trade secrets... but share so other people can get involved and come to like it as much as you do.
“For the steampunk community, especially, we want to share our love and our passion and maybe bring you in to our fold.”
So, even though you may have never heard the term steampunk, you will more than likely be coming across it a lot more often in town, thanks to the monthly meetings.
“At the beginning, we’re sort of doing, ‘What is steampunk?’
“Next month, we’re going to do steampunk in media and music. We’re just going to educate you on the steampunk culture.
“But, also, we eventually want to do DIYs where you can learn how to make your own goggles, make your fashion if that’s what you choose, and how to take a Nerf gun and turn it into a steampunk gun.”
As Garcia stood before her students, her excitement erupting from every sentence, it was clear that it’s more than a weekend hobby.
“For me, the reason why I started the whole thing was to share steampunk with essentially the world.
“It’s a beautiful concept; it’s a beautiful aesthetic, and I wanted to show it to more people, because you tell people now and they’re like, ‘I’m not sure what that is’ or ‘I’ve seen it, but I didn’t know it had a name.’
“I want to get that worm in everyone’s brain and have it whisper in your ear until you want to do it.
“We just want to share it with anyone and everyone.”
It is an addicting and involving premise for anyone of any age who is curious or fascinated by the “what if” concept of steampunk.
“And I love telling people here, and you can see that spark of curiosity, and maybe one day, they’ll come into our meetings, and it’ll really take hold.”
It seems like it’s only a matter of time.