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Steampunk fiction

Librarians who LibraryThing

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May 14, 2010, 3:52pm Top

"Steampunk fiction" has been approved as a Library of Congress Subject Heading, as of March 17, for those who are keeping track of how far LCSH lags behind popular culture.

(And is it just me or does "steampunk fiction" sound like "drama plays" or "internet web"? Doesn't "steampunk" generally refer to fiction?)

May 14, 2010, 3:54pm Top

I guess it's not much stranger than "Fantasy fiction."
But it does sound awkward.

May 14, 2010, 7:04pm Top

It sounds okay to me. Steampunk is also a word describing fashion and art. So "steampunk fiction" is more descriptive. That subject heading probably wouldn't be used on a manual for incorporating steampunk elements into a wedding dress, for example. Though I say "probably", because I've seen examples of strange subject heading usage here on LT, linked from folks who keep an eye on them.

May 14, 2010, 7:34pm Top

3.> To my knowledge, the Library of Congress does not catalog fashion or art, except as those subjects relate to books. So yes, Steampunk fiction does sound a bit redundant, especially if taken as a subdivision of Science Fiction, which I do.

May 14, 2010, 7:39pm Top

But you wouldn't use "steampunk fiction" for a non-fiction book about the art or fashion steampunk scenes, is what I was trying to get at. An art book wouldn't be fiction, either, I don't think.

May 15, 2010, 2:59am Top

No, art books are not - to me, anyhow - fiction. Fashion is not fiction either. Perhaps that's why they used steampunk fiction despite the seeming redundancy. They may also use steampunk nonfiction for the art and fashion books.

I don't follow the Library of Congress filing system, but rather a haphazard, and, to many others, senseless system of my own, something like this:





Science Fiction

I might also use other subdivisions if they apply to specific books.

May 15, 2010, 12:51pm Top

I just checked out this week's list and it looks like Steampunk comic books has been added this week.

May 30, 2010, 12:55pm Top

I had no problem with steampunk fiction. If you go out on the web and type in "steampunk" you get all kinds of results that take you to fashion, art and design sites. I view steampunk as a sort of social/cultural movement, so the FIC/NFIC designation is helpful to me, and I would think others.

May 30, 2010, 3:47pm Top

8.> When you look at books in a library - for example, the Library of Congress, those books are initially divided into fiction and nonfiction... as is proper. The double designation of the fiction as you get when you look at how books are organized in the library just seems redundant and completely unnecessary to me.

I take it you don't see the redundency of that organization?

In fact, for science fiction, it's actually a triple designation, which seems to me to imply that, once a person has navigated out of fiction into science fiction that they need the reminder they're in a subdivision of fiction, and then into steampunk fiction, so another reminder that the person is still looking at a further division of fiction.

Science Fiction
Steampunk Fiction

So, really, are people in general so forgetful that such designations need to be made in triplicate?

May 31, 2010, 10:03pm Top

I don't see a redundancy, in fact I see a necessity for the two designations. There are numerous non-fiction book titles that are about the world of Steampunk. A quick view of Amazon.com reveals titles such as Steampunk Style Jewelry: Victorian, Fantasy, and Mechanical Necklaces, Bracelets, and Earrings, Steampunkery: Polymer Clay and Mixed Media Projects, and OGL Steampunk. The growing popularity of Steampunk has spawned hundreds of fiction and non-fiction titles that will need to be cataloged in both fiction and non-fiction. I agree that making Steampunk a subdivision of Science Fiction might be redundant and as it has themes of fantasy and historical fiction as well, maybe it should just be FIC / Steampunk FIC.

Jun 1, 2010, 5:12am Top

10.> There are numerous non-fiction book titles that are about the world of Steampunk.

Agreed; however, you would not find those titles filed under fiction in any competently organized library or bookstore/website.

>>>maybe it should just be FIC / Steampunk FIC.

Simplification is always best when it comes to organization.

Jun 2, 2010, 2:57am Top

The Library of Congress Subject Headings aren't a way of determining shelving arrangement (that would be the Library of Congress Classification). Instead, they're included in bibliographic records so they can be used in catalogue searching. The intention is for each heading on its own to indicate a sufficiently precise subject for searchers' needs.

Jun 5, 2010, 1:19pm Top

> 11 "You would not find non-fiction titles about Steampunk filed under fiction in any competently organized library or bookstore"

I respectfully disagree. One of my favorite independent bookstores has, for many years, shelved critical and descriptive works *about* science fiction at the beginning of the SF section, on the theory that the most likely buyers of them are SF readers.

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