This Halloween I put together a steampunk costume, and did the usual party rounds. In all cases, few or none of the people I met knew what I was; and when I told them I was a steampunk inventor, the inevitable question was "what's steampunk?" (Mind you, I was very popular on the explanation circuit.) I didn't win any awards for best costume, but I believe that if there had been a category for Most Obscure Cultural Reference, I would have walked away with it. This made me wonder about the claims by some that steampunk is a growing genre, becoming more popular every day... maybe within the SF world, but I'd have to say, certainly not outside of it. Yes, there are books, but they seem to only turn up when you specifically search for them. And the relative failure of every steampunk-y movie of the last few years hasn't helped its cause. But have any of you seen something different out there? Is there a sign that steampunk is indeed growing into a healthy offshoot of SF, destined to become as popular as other subgenres (like horror) someday? And if it does... what form will its most popular stories take? Will they all be stories of airship wars? Steampunk-tech-armed detectives and science-heroes? Romances behind the difference engines? Great races between intrepid vehicle inventors? Or incredible journeys into the outer-aether or inner-seas by uber-genius engineers? Where do you think steampunk is going?