This is the first of the Science Fiction / Fantasy Genre Glossary Project posts! Wow that’s a mouthful. For the complete genre index click here.
What is Steampunk?
A genre where stories are set in a Victorian, or Edwardian, inspired alternate reality where steam power is still widely used. Steampunk stories can also be set in a fantasy world that features 19th century inspired technology. The genre combines elements of fantasy and science fiction.
It’s more than just a genre.
Contrary to science fiction where the mechanics are obscured from view, the steampunk aesthetic frequently showcases the inner workings of machines. Moving gears such as clockwork are often exposed. Functionality is evident in design. There is also an emphasis on craftsmanship and the handmade.
Common materials include polished brass, iron, wood, and leather.
Clothing also draws from the do-it-yourself, handmade, movement. Historical elements such as corsets, parasols, and top hats are borrowed then mixed with more modern elements.
So that’s a quick guide to steampunk. Feel free to add and append this definition in the comments!