Friday, June 21, 2013

Punks You Should Know: Bustlepunk

Back on the last Punks You Should Know post (it wasn't called that; I pretty much just thought that up), someone in the comments mentioned Bustlepunk. Intrigued by this idea, I had to go to the Google machine to get the lowdown. And as it turns out, Bustlepunk might be one of the newest members of the club, the term having been coined in 2009 by author M.K Hobson. You can check out her “coming out” post here and her later thoughts here.

As she puts it, Bustlepunk is the “lighter side” of Steampunk. The more romantic side, I guess. From what I’ve gathered, it’s similar to regency romances, just add steampunk. I could be wrong, but it doesn’t sound any less fun.

There’s plenty that can fall beneath the “Bustlepunk” parasol, but there don’t seem to be any specific rules applied to the genre. It’s easy to say that Bustlepunk is a sub-genre of Steampunk where romance and relationships take the spotlight, almost a blend of historical romance and women’s fiction. Doesn’t mean there’s a lack of adventuring. Truth be told, most of the women in these books are highly adventurous.

However, it does beg the question: Do we really need another -punk genre? As I've discovered (thanks to
writing for this blog), there are SO MANY PUNK GENRES in the world already that another seems like overkill. How do we classify "Bustlepunk" if we choose to? Why should we? I don't see Trouserpunk anywhere. *Note to self: Coin Trouserpunk*

I feel like this is a psychological need to label anything that's outside of what we consider the norm. We have labels for everything, especially with fiction. It can't be a, because it contains x, but b is also out because it's lacking  y & z. It took me years to understand the differences between urban fantasy and paranormal romance, and in this case, Bustlepunk appears to be the paranormal romance equivalent, as it focuses more on women's lives and what they experience.

Some examples of Bustlepunk:





What do you think? Do we need this sub-genre of a sub-genre?








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