The essay about 9/11 is interesting in presenting Steampunk as a reaction to tragedy, but it may have missed a larger and more obvious one. The Victorian era is quite close to the high water mark of the British Empire. World War 1 & 2 and the Cold War loom just ahead, and as such it seems to mark the end of a great optimistic era of Western expansion. Spengler would start writing the Decline of the West in 1911 and technological progress and parity with Germany would lead us to the literal dead end of World War I, spiraling down to WW2, and at last further stalemate with the Soviet Union and Mutually Assured Destruction. By the end of the short 20th century (1914-1991), cynicism about progress and the universality or even goodness of Western civilzation was rampant. The collapse of the Soviet Union renewed a sense of Triumphalism in the west and expansion of Nato into Eastern Europe. The internet was just becoming popular and for a decade, we were all abuzz about a technical revolution with its infinite possibilities. And then, history reasserted itself. Our technology, passenger planes, GPS, cell phones, electronic money transfers were all turned against us again. Time will tell whether 9/11 marked the high water mark of America's unipolar moment, but it was certainly the end of the Peace Dividend. Ah, nostalgia, it isn't what it used to be.