What is Steampunk?

Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s. Steampunk involves a setting where steam power is still widely used – usually Victorian era Britain or “Wild West”-era United States – that incorporates elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Works of steampunk often feature chronologically misplaced technology or futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them, based on a Victorian perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, art, etcetera. This technology includes such fictional machines as those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or the contemporary authors Philip Pullman and China Mieville.

Other examples of steampunk contain alternative history-style presentations of such technology as lighter-than-air airships, analogue computers, or such digital mechanical computers as Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace’s Analytical engine.

Various modern utilitarian objects have been modified by individual artisans into a pseudo-Victorian mechanical “steampunk” style, and a number of visual and musical artists have been described as steampunk.

Revised from Wikipedia.


“Steampunk is a social movement and culture harking back to the days of steam, the turn of the previous century, when everything was steam-powered or clock-work powered, gentlemen and ladies dressed well, were educated and respected each other; with costume to match, the forward looking ideas of the likes of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells, gadgets and gizmos, air-ships and the ubiquitous goggles.”

Michael Hodgson.


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