Steampunk was first christened in 1987, a lifetime ago as cultural and literary fads are measured. It has proved remarkably long-lived, but as Steampunk hits the mainstream cultural radar and finds its way onto primetime tv shows like CASTLE, how long before people start saying they're sick of it? Or is this a genre that will have lasting appeal?
Having just been at one such convention, I can honestly say that the interest in steampunk is currently still growing. Last year we presented one panel that was filled beyond capacity. This year we presented four panels and ALL were filled beyond capacity. As well, the number of people dressed up who came to visit was at least triple the number from last year. Many of them said they had seen and/or spoke to us last year and fell in love with steampunk. It was wonderful.
I do agree with Kevin though. It will eventually have its decline and those who truly love it will stick around and be there when it has its resurgence once again.
In similar vein as most cultural compunctions, the Steampunk movement shall last perhaps five to seven years. Following such a period of high days shall be the nostalgic afterglow. Such a nostalgic afterglow may yet ignite new flames which could burst into several small though intense fires of passion. The mixing of literary genres will be complete when Steampunk elements are visible in the works of other genre without seeming to be frivolously applied. As the Steampunk movement would seem to have been born of the past, or elements of past days, it seems that we could legitimately count its reign to be rather long!
The current state of affairs both political and cultural would seem to suggest that, as literature mirrors reality (said reality merely a reflection of art), it seems as though the future hols much for the Steampunk aura - all of those dystopian tomes waiting to be written, and just as many to be read!
Sail on, airships!