doncjesuis : [goes to look up "steampunk" in an alternative dictionary]
"Steampunk" is a fun aesthetic to play around with, esp. in visual fiction. It does make the assumptions that:
1) your power sources are sufficiently efficient to be useful,
2) you have sufficient cheap labor to create all of the attendant fripperies, and
3) you have sufficient capital to put it all together.
Check out Girl Genius for some good steampunk / gaslamp fun.
"Steampunk" in real life I tend to group with cosplay, SCA/RenFaire, and our poor, misguided, beloved Goth children.
geor3ge : Well, I got that completely wrong.
[throws out coal-powerd Marshall stack]
Figuring out how to drive a " coal-powerd Marshall stack" is utterly steampunk.
Hesiod : Question of the day: Was Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang steampunk?
Good question - a mad scientist, an impractical yet operative invention, British (Victorian) empire - yep, I think so!