What Is Steampunk: Definition, History & Examples [Definitive Guide]

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    Matt Guest

    Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction that incorporates technology and steam power.

    It’s a literary style that draws on the retro-futuristic aesthetic popularized by movies such as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Big Trouble in Little China, and more recently, the TV series Doctor Who.

    What Is Steampunk?


    Steampunk works are typically set in an alternative history where steam power is still widely used (or at least in common use) in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

    Characters often wear clothing, makeup and hairstyles influenced by the Victorian era, or even earlier periods like the 1700s or 1800s; they also enjoy playing music on antique instruments (like pianos).

    The term “steampunk” was coined in the late 1990s by American writer K W Jeter to describe a type of speculative fiction taking place mostly during an alternate Victorian era.

    This period was idealized as being a return to simpler days when people lived together in harmony with nature rather than being disconnected from it.

    Jeter’s definition also focuses more on social themes than plot elements; for example, her novels tend to focus more on themes of rebellion against authority rather than scientific research about genetic engineering or other important topics.


    Precursor Steampunk Examples


    Precursors are the earliest examples of steampunk. They were machines powered by steam, but they were made out of wood and metal, not engines. That’s the essence of steampunk: a combination of modern technology with the aesthetics of Victorian era design.

    The Precursor Steampunk Examples include:

    Aventurine Clockwork (1827) by James Cox, a clockwork robot built by Thomas Wedgewood. It may look like it’s wearing clothes, but it’s actually not.

    The Aventurine Clockwork is actually wearing a clockwork suit that was made to look like clothes. This is one of the first examples of steampunk, as it incorporates both old and new technologies into one object.

    The Steam Man (1852) by William Butler Yeats is an early example of steampunk that combines clockwork with human-like features such as a head and limbs. This particular piece was inspired by a scientific text about how people can create artificial lifeforms using steam power and clockwork mechanisms


    The History Of Steampunk


    In the late 18th century, the industrial revolution was in full swing. Machines were beginning to replace humans in tasks that were once done by hand.

    This led to an increase in demand for workers and a resulting shortage of labor. As such, many people turned to becoming self-employed or joining a trade guild.

    As time went on and new technologies became available, these tradesmen saw their skills become obsolete. They began to realize that people would still be able to do what they did best regardless of the fact that someone else could make a machine do it better than them.

    This led them to begin looking for other ways to make money and support their families. Some turned toward writing about their experiences as this was something that had always interested them; others turned toward creating fanciful stories about alternate worlds where things like steam-powered technology were common place.

    These writers were collectively known as “steampunk” authors and their works were often published under this label even if they weren’t actually steampunk themselves…


    Where Did Steampunk Come From?


    Steampunk is often described as a subgenre within science fiction, but the term has been used to describe any number of other things. The origins of the term are unclear, but it’s possible that it was coined by science fiction author William Gibson in his short story “Johnny Mnemonic”, which first appeared in Omni magazine in 1984.

    The term “steampunk” has been used to refer to everything from Victorian novels about airships and clockwork robots, to retrofuturistic music groups like The Flaming Lips and The Decemberists who have incorporated steam punk themes into their songs. But where did this genre come from?

    The earliest example of steampunk that I could find is a poem called “The Sun Is Going To Rise, And We’ll See Steam Engines,” written by British poet Theodore Watts-Dunton in 1872. The poem describes an imagined world where steam engines run on oil instead of coal and horses pull trains instead of trains pulling horses.

    In 1983, British writer James Morrow published his first novel, Well Past Midnight: A Novel About Steampunk Science Fiction, which introduced the idea of combining steam-powered technology with modern technology like computers and cell phones (although he didn’t call them steampunk


    Steampunk Origins


    Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction that incorporates technology and design inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery. Steampunk may also include alternative history, fashion, and art.

    The genre has been associated with cyberpunk, which draws on similar aesthetics, but often without the Victorian setting.

    Steampunk’s origins can be traced to the mid-1980s, when the cyberpunk genre was emerging in the United States as a literary movement; a number of writers started using the term “steampunk” to describe works that incorporated aspects of cyberpunk.

    The genre has its roots in 19th-century technology and is based on retrofuturistic ideas. It emphasizes the aesthetics of technology from an era when there was little regard for comfort or aesthetics in general (e.g., corsets).

    It draws inspiration from literature and films such as Jules Verne’s novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1869), Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818), or HG Wells’ The Time Machine (1895).


    Precursor To The Steampunk Genre: 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea


    20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (French: 20.000 lieues sous les mers) is a novel by Jules Verne, first published in 1870. The book was inspired by a story published in the Phonola magazine of the same name by the French author Michel Le Bris.

    The story of Captain Nemo’s submarine Nautilus explores themes of adventure and exploration, as well as the effects of scientific advancement on culture and society. Verne’s first foray into pure science fiction, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was published in 1870 to great success, selling over 400,000 copies in its first edition alone.

    Despite this popularity and acclaim, however, it has been criticized by some as being too vague when compared to Verne’s other works (including his future novels).

    The story takes place in an alternative version of 1866 London where a mysterious man named Captain Nemo rules over an underwater kingdom called “Nova Zembla”. Nemo’s undersea kingdom is populated with an unusual variety of human beings including mermen and mermaids who are all descendants from a race that left Earth long ago for unknown reasons. In addition to these inhabitants there are many other species including whales who have


    Steampunk Genre In Video Games


    The steampunk genre is a subgenre of science fiction that incorporates technology and Victorian era design aesthetics into the story. It’s often set in an alternative history where steam power and/or advanced technologies from the 19th century are re-introduced into the world, which has been influenced by the original concepts of Jules Verne’s novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine.

    Steampunk video games feature a mix of action and adventure, with some elements that are reminiscent of historical real life events or gadgets.

    The most well known example is probably BioShock, which was released in 2007 by 2K Games, developed by Irrational Games, featuring Unreal Engine 3 graphics engine and set in a fictional city named Rapture in 1960s America which serves as a utopia for scientific progress and free enterprise before being destroyed by Andrew Ryan, its founder and CEO of Fontaine Futuristics.


    What Is Steampunk In Video Games?


    Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction that blends science fiction with fantasy and/or steam-powered technology. It is most often set in the Victorian era, though some works with Steampunk elements have been set in the late 19th century or the present day (or even the near future).

    The term steampunk was coined by British author K. W. Jeter in 1987, who used it to describe an alternative history in which Victorian-era technology, especially steam power and mechanical inventions, survived into the 20th century.

    The term is also used to describe related subgenres such as cyberpunk, neo-Victorian and retrofuturism.[1]

    Steampunk often uses real world scientific inventions as its basis (mainly those of Victorian Britain), but also imaginary ones such as time machines or devices that use “ether”. This sometimes includes fictional technologies that would not have existed at the time of writing (for example, magic). Steampunk may contain elements from other genres such as fantasy or alternative history.[2]

    Dishonored


    Dishonored is an action-adventure stealth video game developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. It was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2012.

    Set in the fictional city of Dunwall, Dishonored follows Corvo Attano, a bodyguard to the Empress of the Karnaca Empire. When she is targets by usurper Empress Jessamine Kaldwin, he must investigate her whereabouts and protect the Empress from assassination or any other means necessary.

    Dishonored received critical acclaim upon release and was nominated for over 50 awards; it won several Game of the Year awards including “Best Action/Adventure Game” at The DICE Awards and “Game of the Year” at The Golden Joystick Awards, and was also nominated for “Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition” at The BAFTA Video Games Awards.

    Bioshock Infinite


    Bioshock Infinite is a first-person shooter video game developed by Irrational Games and published by 2K Games. It was released on February 26, 2014 for Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 3 as part of the Bioshock series.

    This is the third main installment in the Bioshock series, and the second to be developed by Irrational Games, who previously handled development duties for Bioshock 2 and Bioshock: Infinite.

    Bioshock Infinite follows the story of Booker DeWitt, a private detective hired to locate a girl named Elizabeth after she is kidnapped by a man named Zachary Comstock. The game takes place in 1912 Columbia, an alternate history version of New York City based on American literature, film and art from the 19th century.

    The player assumes control of Booker DeWitt as he explores Columbia and its various districts in search of Elizabeth. Along his journey he is forced to confront its corrupt leaders who have oppressed its people for decades.

    Bioshock Infinite received generally positive reviews from critics who praised its gameplay design and narrative but criticized its voice acting performances and uneven pacing. The game has been praised as one of the best games released in 2014.[2]

    The Order: 1886


    The Order: 1886 is a third-person action-adventure video game developed by Ready at Dawn and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. It was released for the PlayStation 4 in December 2015. The game’s story revolves around an alternate history version of late 19th century London, where an elite group of seven knights fight against a group of monstrosities that threaten humanity.

    Set in London during the late 19th century, The Order: 1886 is a first-person shooter that incorporates stealth and combat gameplay elements to allow players to explore a variety of environments while fighting against enemy forces.

    The title takes place during a period when steampunk technology has evolved into mechanical constructs called “punkts”, which are used by humans to fight their enemies. Players control the titular order as they journey through various districts in London, including Trafalgar Square, Hyde Park, Whitechapel and Westminster Abbey.

    The Order: 1886 received positive reviews upon release; critics praised its graphics and gameplay but criticized its linear story and lack thereof on multiplayer modes. A sequel, titled The Order: 1886 – Legacy of Imulsion


    Examples In Movies/TV


    This is a list of examples in movies and television that illustrate the points of this article.

    Love Actually (2003) is a British-American Christmas romantic comedy film written and directed by Richard Curtis. The film was produced by Working Title Films, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, and Universal Pictures, and distributed by Universal Pictures.

    The film stars Hugh Grant as David, the husband of Juliet (Keira Knightley), who has convinced herself she is in love with her boss, Andrew (Martine McCutcheon). Emma Thompson co-stars as Juliet’s mother. Other roles are played by Liam Neeson as Andrew’s father-in-law; Colin Firth as his best friend; Bill Nighy as his brother-in-law; Andrew Lincoln as his best friend;

    Chiwetel Ejiofor as his brother-in-law; Dougray Scott as a priest who falls for Juliet; Rowan Atkinson as an arrogant photographer who falls for Juliet; Alan Rickman as an arrogant photographer who falls for Lucy (Knightley); Jason Watkins as Mr. Maguire, a school teacher who teaches Love Actually at Christmas time


    Impact Of Steampunk In Movies And TV


    The impact of steampunk on movies, television and literature has been significant. The genre has been around for awhile, but it wasn’t until the 2000s that it really started to take off in terms of popularity.

    Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction that takes place in an alternative Victorian era. The primary elements of steampunk are steam power and retro technology, such as corsets, goggles and goggles made out of steam gauges (gauges used to measure the pressure of steam).

    The term “steampunk” was coined by Katsuhiro Otomo in 1985 in his manga “Akira” where he describes a future world where trains run on steam power. The term was first used as an adjective to describe this type of fiction, but it soon became popular enough as a noun as well and eventually became part of its own genre.

    Steampunk’s popularity rose slowly at first with most works being published in Japan before gaining a stronger foothold in Europe and North America.


    Steampunk In Hayao Miyazaki Movies


    In the world of Hayao Miyazaki, a lot of things are possible. In his films, there are magical creatures and fantastical creatures, but they all have one thing in common: they’re all made up. It’s the same with Steampunk.

    In the world of Hayao Miyazaki, a lot of things are possible. In his films, there are magical creatures and fantastical creatures, but they all have one thing in common: they’re all made up. It’s the same with Steampunk.

    Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction which takes place in an alternate history setting where steam power has been replaced by clockwork technology.

    It was first used to describe Victorian-era fiction that took place in the late 19th century or early 20th century (as opposed to fantasy stories set in the Middle Ages or before), but it has grown to encompass works from any time period that features steam power being replaced by clockwork technology.


    Steampunk Meaning In Cinema


    Steampunk is a genre of fiction, particularly science fiction and fantasy, that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery. Steampunk may take place in a time before the invention of this machinery or in a time when it is still in use.

    Steampunk refers to various fictional genres that employ 19th-century technology with 21st-century sensibilities. The term was coined by mid-19th century writers who were trying to create an alternative history for Victorian era Britain where steam power was still widely used.

    The genre has become associated with retro fashion and retro games, but also with neo-Victorianism and neo-Victorian literature. It has been noted for its retro stylings such as the clothing, accessories, architecture, music, and visual design.

    The themes and symbolism of steampunk often incorporate other popular contemporary works such as comic books, film noir, gothic fiction, detective fiction, horror/sci-fi cinema (such as Universal horror films), the pulp novel tradition (for example the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs or H.P. Lovecraft),[4][5]and other popular cultural artifacts from the period.[6]


    Steampunk Origin To Today


    Steampunk is a genre that’s been around for decades, but it wasn’t until recently that it became a popular and lucrative form of entertainment. The first steampunk stories were published in the early twentieth century and were centered around science fiction. Steampunk has a long history and there are many different types of steampunk stories out there.

    The genre was originally used to describe Victorian-era science fiction stories, but over time it has evolved into something more focused on technology, art and fashion instead. Today we can find steampunk stories in every genre and they range from comedic to dark, action-packed to romantic.

    Steampunk is also known as dieselpunk, gothicpunk or cthulipunk — all terms that refer to the Victorian era with an emphasis on technology and science. Steampunk has elements of horror, fantasy and alternate history genres but they focus more on how technology affects society than what happens in them (although there are some exceptions).

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