SF/F Genre Glossary

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.

steampunk bike
Tutorial by Crabfu: How to draw steampunk machines

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.

The Aesthetic

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.

steampunk fashion
via outsapop.com

So that’s a quick guide to steampunk. Feel free to add and append this definition in the comments!


SF/F Genre Glossary

Dark fantasy, sword and sorcery, slip stream, paranormal? Is it all making your head spin? This is a reference page intended to provide basic working definitions and examples of SF/F subgenres.

Welcome to the
Speculative Fiction Genre Glossary Project

In which I attempt to define…stuff.

This list will be updated regularly. Terms are listed in alphabetical order.

Cross Genre



Science Fiction