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EN464: Steampunk

Instructor: Dean Karpowicz             Office:   Tallent 265; Comm Arts 251
Email: karpowic@uwp.edu
Phone: 595-2672
Office Hours: Monday 2-3 (Tallent 265); Wednesday 2-3 (CA 251); Thursday 5-6 (CA 251); T/F by appt.
Web Board: Straywriters Forums

Course Description: In English 464, we will focus on the origins, development and maturation of Steampunk trends in science fiction. While most of our discussion will center on the analysis of the literary texts themselves, we will spend some time discussion both the early works that inform the sub-genre and the historical period that the texts themselves re-imagine. Some instruction will also be given in the larger literary movements that have informed Steampunk.

Course Work: We will several novels in this course, and we will also view some supplementary material. Students will be graded on two tests, response posts, and a final paper. The tests will consist of several identifications and short answer questions; the final paper will be a thematic analysis, 10-15 pages in length and on a topic of the student’s choice. Final papers will be written in MLA style, with proper citations and a works cited page. If you have questions about a MLA citation, please ask me, as it isn’t something that we are going to cover in class; Also, the UW-Parkside library has more than one MLA Handbook on hand.

Exams: There will be a midterm and a final exam for the class. Both will consist of identifications, consisting of passages from our texts, and short answer questions from the board work done throughout the semester. There are no essay questions on the exams, and the final exam will not be cumulative.

Message Board: During the first week of class, students will register and post on the class message board found at http://straylightmag.com/boards. This message board will be used for class responses to the texts that we read. Your responses should be at least a few paragraphs long, and I may ask you to comment on a specific section of the reading. Each student will be required to complete five of the six posted responses. Each  response will be worth fifteen points, with the remaining ten points granted for being an active participant on the forums. Straywriters is also the easiest way to communicate with me. You can send personal messages and post in the class forums. I check them daily.


The Huge Hunter; or the Steam Man of the Prairie, Ellis (Electronic edition only)
The Time Machine, Wells
Anubis Gates, Powers
The Difference Engine, Sterling and Gibson
The Steampunk Trilogy, Di Filippo
The Diamond Age, Stephenson
Perdido Street Station, Mieville
*The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, Dahlquist
Victorian People and Ideas, Altick

*Possible Text

Online Resources

Neo-Victorian Studies Steampunk Issue.
Steampunk Chicago
Steampunk Empire
Steampunk World’s Fair


  • Students are allowed no more than two absences.
  • Students missing more than four classes should not expect to pass the class.

Late Work and Make-up Work

  • Late posts will not be accepted. Threads are locked Wednesday at Midnight. No exceptions.
  • Exams cannot be made up unless there is a documented emergency.


  • Any student found guilty of plagiarism will receive a zero for the theme, and plagiarism can result in a zero for the course.

Grading Breakdown

10%   Class Participation/Attendance
25%   Responses and Board Activity
20%   Mid-term Exam
25%   Final Paper
20%  Final  Exam

Class Schedule


20: Introduction to the class. Viewing: Jasper Morello. Science Fiction Timeline.
Steampunk Early Victorian History

27: Steampunk Origins. The Edisonade. The Huge Hunter; or the Steam Man of the Prairie;
Victorian People and Ideas
, Chapter 1.


3: Snow Day

10: Origins: The Scientific Romance. The Time Machine.
Putting the Punk in Steampunk. The 1980s. Viewing: The Filth and the Fury.

17: First Wave Steampunk. Anubis Gates; “Book 1”.
Victorian People and Ideas, Chapter 2.

24: Anubis Gates “Book 2”; Response 2 Due.
Victorian People and Ideas, Chapter 2.


3: The Difference Engine Iterations 1-2.
Victorian People and Ideas, Chapter 3.

10: The Difference Engine Third Iteration

Spring Break (March 13-19)

23: Response 3 Due.
24: Finish The Difference Engine. Exam 1

31: Film: City of Lost Children


7: The Steampunk Trilogy Response 4 Due

14: The Diamond Age
Victorian People and Ideas, Chapter 7.

21: The Diamond Age Response 5 Due

28: Perdido Street Station


5: Perdido Street Station Response 6 Due.
Final Paper Due.

12: Final Exam (6-8:45)

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