Nothing wrong with a bit of whimsy, but I fear that it could be the death of Steampunk.
Why? I hear you cry. Alright, I don't, but you know what I mean. The why is pretty simple - if the superficial trappings of Steampunk are all that are perceived of the work, and the characters are cardboard Victorians with stiff upper lips and clockwork blunderbusses who say 'Bai Jove!' a lot, then you are doing yourself, the reader and the genre a deep disservice.
It can be done well. Read G. K. Chesterton's 'The Man who was Thursday', or George and Wheedon Grosmiths'The Diary of a Nobody', or Jerome K. Jerome's 'Three Men in a boat' as great examples. Mind you they are all real Victorians, which helps. Philip Reeve does it very well in 'Larklight', too, btw. But all of these works balance whimsy with a deeper subtext (even 'Larklight').
All I'm saying, really, is maybe write something that does you and the genre justice, that gives it depth, that shows that its more than just dressing up and funny accents and crazy gadgets.
Now don't get me wrong, I love a crazy gadget and a good pun as much as the next man, but sometimes you need a bit more than that. And I think Steampunk does, too.
Sometimes.

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Comment by dave bartram on September 11, 2011 at 11:35am
No, modernism is a distinct thing in its own right, the kind of minimalist, functional buildings you speak of would be 'modern' in that sense. Post Modern tends to mean 'bung anything you want in/intertextuality/fluidity of meaning and interpretation. Steampunk is, in those terms, post-modern. Genre bending, intertextuality, shifting meanings and interpretation, re-interpretations, all hall marks of post modern thinking. Post-modern is not really an aesthetic in the same way as 'modern'. The overriding characteristic of Modernist thinking, of course is to define those who are not the same as you as 'other'. So the Victorians were moderns in those terms, as were the Nazis and all the other fascists, as, of course, was Stalin and most other Communisists. Because once you define a people as 'other' then you can begin to de-humanise and abuse them. The 'War on Terror' of recent years has seen a strong return to modernist thinking. Not a good thing, I don't think, when you see what it has resulted in in the past.

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