Steampunk and alternate history have a lot in common; in fact, one might conceptualize steampunk as a branch of alternate history (at least, the steampunk set in the real world.) As such, we accept that some sort of change has occurred in the real world to cause a departure resulting in all sorts of exciting gadgetry and possibly airship pirates. While dealing with steampunk set in Victorian England or the United States, most western readers can easily recognize the references, and have at least some sort of an idea of what the original was like – and that enables them to spot the differences popping up in the steampunk-y alternate past.
Challenges of Writing Alternate History Set in Other Cultures by Ekaterina Sedia on Tor.com
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