By: Bill Waters - Staff Writer
Published: Jun 10, 2021

Steampunk: Sub-Genre Of Science Fiction

Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction, alternate history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s.

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 lighter-than-air airships, analog computers, or such digital mechanical computers as Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace‚Äôs Analytical engine.

Steampunk is sometimes thought of as related to cyberpunk, although apart from the shared origins of the name, they have almost nothing in common. Obviously their time period and level of technology are different, but the settings also tend to be less dystopian. They commonly have past connections to goth, more so than the cyberpunk or industrial scenes.


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