Steampunk – the word is heard everywhere. Fashion, movies, and books.

From Wikipedia:

Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction, alternate history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s.[1] Specifically, steampunk involves an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century and often Victorian era Britain—that incorporates prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Works of steampunk often feature anachronistic technology or futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them; in other words, based on a Victorian perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, art, etc. This technology may include such fictional machines as those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne or real technologies like the computer but developed earlier in an alternate history.

Other examples of steampunk contain alternate history-style presentations of “the path not taken” for such technology as dirigibles, analog computers, or such digital mechanical computers as Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace‘s Analytical engine.

Steampunk is often associated with cyberpunk. They have considerable influence on each other and share a similar fan base, but steampunk developed as a separate movement. Apart from time period and level of technology, the main difference is that steampunk settings tend to be less dystopian.

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

This weekend I went to the movies to see Source Code and there was a preview for The Three Musketeers, definitely Steampunk-inspired with dirigibles, fire shooting cannons, booby traps and such, all mechanically operated.

What do you think of this rash of Steampunk inspiration? Do you have a favorite Steampunk movie or book?


4 thoughts on “Steampunk

    • Leigh, I’m never sure either. Most people explain it as the old TV show Wild, Wild West. It is like outrageous weapons and inventions but all steam driven.

  1. Also steam-punk…Example Citation ..Arcanum is a prime example of steampunk a subgenre of science fiction that explores the displacement of ancient ways by modern technology. Whereas such authors as William Gibson Michael Swanwick and Walter Jon Williams have explored the futuristic commingling of human being and computer in their cyberpunk novels and stories Jeter and his compatriots whom he half-jokingly has dubbed steampunks are having a grand time creating wacko historical fantasies..Michael Berry Wacko Victorian Fantasy Follows Cyberpunk Mold The San Francisco Chronicle June 25 1987…..Notes ..Although there are antecedents William Gibsons 1982 novel Neuromancer is generally considered to be the first example of a literary form called cyberpunk. Move the setting to the past especially the Victorian age take out the electronics and replace them with mechanical devices especially elaborate steam-powered contraptions and you have a new genre steampunk…Steampunk often imagines what the past would have been like if the future hadnt happened so quickly.

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