Steampunk is a subgenre of Sci-Fi that does not so much rely on concepts of future development, but a revision of existing technology. In a Steampunk world, steam engines and other retro technologies were not outmoded, but reached their highest development. Classic Steampunk settings resemble America or Europe (primarily England) of the second half of the 19th century, the era of early capitalism with a characteristic factory-urban landscape and sharp social stratification. Steampunk originated as a literary genre, but gained popularity largely thanks to comics, role-playing games, television series and anime.
The word “punk” mostly is about characters — bright individualists who oppose the systems, traditions and prejudices that keep most people in line.
The term “steampunk” was first used by two writer friends, James Blaylock and Kevin Jeter, during a 1987 discussion in Locus magazine.
Cultural overview:Jules Verne is considered the grandfather of the genre, as his novels strongly influenced the plots and style of Steampunk. Contemporary authors and founders of the genre: Ronald W. Clarke, Christopher Priest, Tim Powers, James Blaylock, Kevin Wayne Jeter and Harry Harrison. It is worth noting the cycle by Michael Moorcock about Oswald Bastable, written in the tradition of Jules Verne.
Meaning: The first steampunk works were a manifesto of socio-philosophical pessimism in a similar sense to Cyberpunk. Later, Steampunk acquired the traits of utopia, romanticism and idealization of the 19th century, especially the Victorian era. In Steampunk, sub-subgenres are distinguished: Alternative historical steampunk and fantasy steampunk (which in many respects borders on techno fantasy).
Most used keywords: #Steam engine #Victorian Era #submarine #Steam-powered robots #Airboats #Industrial revolution #Steam-driven spaceship #factory #top hat #crinoline #goggles
Distinctive traits of symbols: The term “Steampunk” arose as a parodic mirror of Cyberpunk, so early Steampunk takes many cues from its “big brother,” especially with how technology has integrated with both society and man.. Hackers, artificial intelligence, corporations, the state machine — all of this was simply placed in a 19th century environment, though with more analog technology.
The dystopia was adorned with a noir style, but the Steampunk setting would later incorporate tropes such as detectives, brilliant scientists, the Wild West, mysterious ancient races, and many others. Later, more positive elements merged into Steampunk — the romantic charm of science, utopianism, the aesthetics of “good old England” are a few examples among many.
Steampunk is easy to distinguish from other genres. Gentlemen in top hats and ladies in crinolines carelessly ride in steam cars along cobblestone pavements, their way lit by gaslights. That steam car might roll by a group of emaciated factory workers who live in the city slums and are forced to work 20 hours a day to earn a piece of bread.
Means of transportation: an airship, a steam locomotive, a steamship, a steam bus, a steam car. Everything is made with sheet metal studded with huge rivets, emphasized by clumsy levers and control devices with an abundance of dials. The mechanisms are covered with oil and soot. The machines spew smoke, steam, and sparks. They rumble, clank, whistle, and when overheated they explode.
Weapons: Bulky Lefaucheux revolvers, massive Thompson and Gatling machine guns, monstrous dreadnoughts, artillery pieces and bombs. Information technology: telegraph, pneumatic mail, old-fashioned telephones.