To Steampunk or not to steampunk


Evelyn Nesbit Thaw by Bain News Service, 1913

While working in this new serial, I find myself adding a lot of steampunk elements, but I am not sure if I should call the story steampunk or not.

There are a lot of Steampunk purists who would instantly tell me that what I am working on is not Steampunk.  The story takes place in a secondary world.  It is not a Victorian era setting in most ways.  The plot is a mix of supernatural horror, epic fantasy, and steampunk.  So what is it?

I hate genre titles.  I've posted about that on numerous occasion.  The problem is one of constraint.  Oddly, that is also what I love about genre.  It gives you conventions to play with and constraints on the types of stories you can tell.

In fact, I am almost more concerned about calling the serial an epic fantasy than a steampunk story.  To be honest, it is somewhere between an epic fantasy and a sword and sorcery story.

I suppose, what I am most concerned about is more how readers react to the terms.  I will probably use all the above as keywords for the serial.  I just hope people know I am doing it in good faith.

What do you think?  How flexible is the term steampunk?  Let me know.