Anyone who reads The Thieves of Nottica probably wonders why steam is still used as an energy source when the people of Nimestil have electricity and other resources such as oil. They have electric lighting and mechanical limbs that also hook to the brain with electricity (so having one forcefully removed actually stings and burns rather painfully).
There are two reasons. (twenty percent chance I dunno wtf I’m talking about)
The first reason? Electricity hasn’t been around that long compared to the amount of time humans have been there on the planet (thousands of years). Maybe a couple hundred years. If I had to date it, electricity began when Hari was a teen maybe three hundred years old and still living in her junkpile (Hari is upwards of five hundred, though).
The second reason? The demons are forced to work in boiler rooms, where they can be useful and out of sight. The humans don’t believe in waste, so they aren’t just going to kill all the demons – which is ironic considering how they unapologetically have destroyed and polluted the environment with their tech.
The humans are also characterized as very frugal, so they aren’t going to waste resources caring for demons in concentration camps. No, only the few truly valued demon workers go there for rehabilitation and those that can not be rehabilitated are killed. Any demon who can’t prove useful to the Hand is generally killed.
Though the steam technology is outdated, the boilers in Nimestil serve one purpose and one purpose only: to keep demons in their place. It is a tool of oppression. So long as humans rely on steam power, they remain in control. They are not going to put demons to work in factories, as they don’t trust demons with their technology, so the boiler rooms – where they are conveniently out of sight and at the same time doing something productive – serve to keep the status quo firmly in place with the least amount of expense.
It shows how far the humans are willing to go to stay in power. They are an advanced alien race who had to make do with what resources were available to them on the planet of Nimestil. But even when their society reached the point of advanced technology, they decided to go on polluting and destroying the environment – I mean, seriously, at this point they could have had water cars or something.
The humans are so fixated on keeping control that they will let the world crumble around them. That’s why steam still exists.
In this lore, the world is steampunk because steampunk enables oppression.