This seems to be a common question. I think I have an answer for you.
I’ve been spending a long time working on a Steampunk novel with Mike Plested. I’ve read a number of Steampunk novels during that time. It’s something that’s become quite an interest to me. I’m fascinated not only by the written word, but the fashion that has arisen around the Steampunk community. It’s really grown into a fascination culture all its own.
So when I saw the Beiber video, I was at first interested. I knew he had done a Christmas Album and for a pop artist this is nothing new. I don’t think Beiber even knew what Steampunk was until he shot the video It didn’t bother me that he had made one. To be honest there are a lot worse Christmas albums out there. Will it be in my music rotation anytime soon? Oh I don’t think so. I’m not a fan of his music. I’m not a thirteen year old girl after all.
But my daughter is. She loves the Beeb. She can’t get enough of him.
Now let me stop for a moment here. I write a lot. I explained to my daughter the concept of Steampunk. I told her what my Steampunk novel was about and she seemed a little interested. She always shows a little interest in the stories I’m working on and have even posted about them on her Facebook page.
So when I saw the Beiber video, I asked my daughter if she’d seen it. I wanted to share it with her. Even though I don’t care for Beiber, I do care about my daughter and I like to know what she’s interested in. Even though she’d seen the video, we watched it together. I asked her what she thought about it.
“It’s pretty cool. I like all the gears and stuff and the song is okay.”
“People online say that he’s killed Steampunk. They’re upset about this video.”
“Why? It’s just a song.”
“Because it’s Justin Beiber and a lot of people don’t like him.”
“So what does this video have to do with Steampunk?”
“Well, you remember that book I’m working on? The Steampunk one? Well, the theme for his video is Steampunk fashion.”
“Is THAT what your book is about? That’s so cool. Now I really want to read it!”
So in my mind, no, the Beeb didn’t kill Steampunk. If anything he’s introduced the concept to a whole generation that may never have heard about Steampunk or even cared that it existed. I don’t think it’ll take off like a rocket, but he didn’t single-handedly shoot the genre in the foot with a ray gun either.
So before you go off ranting that he’s done killed off an entire genre, take a deep breath, step back, and let’s just see where this all plays out. Who knows, it might result in new fans we never thought would turn to Steampunk.