Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery, especially in a setting inspired by industrialised Western civilisation during the 19th century. Steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century's British Victorian era or American "Wild West", in a post-apocalyptic future during which steam power has regained mainstream use, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power. Steampunk perhaps most recognisably features anachronistic technologies or retro-futuristic inventions as people in the 19th century might have envisioned them, and is likewise rooted in the era's perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, and art. Such technology may include fictional machines like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or the modern authors Philip Pullman, Scott Westerfeld, Stephen Hunt and China Miéville. Other examples of steampunk contain alternative history-style presentations of such technology as lighter-than-air airships, analog computers, or such digital mechanical computers as Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine.
Steampunk may also, though not necessarily, incorporate additional elements from the genres of fantasy, horror, historical fiction, alternate history, or other branches of speculative fiction, making it often a hybrid genre. The term steampunk's first known appearance was in 1987, though it now retroactively refers to many works of fiction created even as far back as the 1950s or 1960s.
Steampunk also refers to any of the artistic styles, clothing fashions, or subcultures, that have developed from the aesthetics of steampunk fiction, Victorian-era fiction, art nouveau design, and films from the mid-20th century. Various modern utilitarian objects have been modded by individual artisans into a pseudo-Victorian mechanical "steampunk" style, and a number of visual and musical artists have been described as steampunk.
- 1 History
- 2 Media
- 3 Culture and community
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 Further reading
- 7 External links
Several works of art and fiction significant to the development of the genre were produced before the genre had a name. The oldest precursor of this genre in film, Fritz Lang's masterpiece, Metropolis (1927), may be the single most important early film to represent steampunk as an emerging stylistic genre. Titus Alone (1959), by Mervyn Peake, anticipated many of the tropes of steampunk, and the film Brazil (1985) was an important early cinematic influence toward creating the genre.
In fine art, Remedios Varo's paintings combine elements of Victorian dress, fantasy, and technofantasy imagery. In television, one of the earliest mainstream manifestations of the steampunk ethos was the original CBS television series The Wild Wild West (1965–69), which inspired the film Wild Wild West (1999). In print, the A Nomad of the Time Streams trilogy by Michael Moorcock, which began in 1971 with The Warlord of the Air, was also an influential precursor.
Origin of the term
Although many works now considered seminal to the genre were published in the 1960s and 1970s, the term steampunk originated in the late 1980s as a tongue in cheek variant of cyberpunk. It seems to have been coined by science fiction author K. W. Jeter, who was trying to find a general term for works by Tim Powers (The Anubis Gates, 1983); James Blaylock (Homunculus, 1986); and himself (Morlock Night, 1979, and Infernal Devices, 1987)—all of which took place in a 19th-century (usually Victorian) setting and imitated conventions of such actual Victorian speculative fiction as H. G. Wells' The Time Machine. In a letter to science fiction magazine Locus, printed in the April 1987 issue, Jeter wrote:
Enclosed is a copy of my 1979 novel Morlock Night; I'd appreciate your being so good as to route it Faren Miller, as it's a prime piece of evidence in the great debate as to who in "the Powers/Blaylock/Jeter fantasy triumvirate" was writing in the "gonzo-historical manner" first. Though of course, I did find her review in the March Locus to be quite flattering.Personally, I think Victorian fantasies are going to be the next big thing, as long as we can come up with a fitting collective term for Powers, Blaylock and myself. Something based on the appropriate technology of the era; like 'steam-punks', perhaps.—K.W. Jeter
While Jeter's Morlock Night and Infernal Devices, Powers' The Anubis Gates, and Blaylock's Lord Kelvin's Machine were the first novels to which Jeter's neologism would be applied, they gave the term little thought at the time. However, they were far from the first modern science fiction writers to speculate on the development of steam-based technology or alternative histories. Keith Laumer's Worlds of the Imperium (1962) and Ronald W. Clark's Queen Victoria's Bomb (1967) apply modern speculation to past-age technology and society. Michael Moorcock's Warlord of the Air (1971) is another early example. Harry Harrison's novel A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah! (1973) portrays a British Empire of an alternative year 1973, full of atomic locomotives, coal-powered flying boats, ornate submarines, and Victorian dialogue. In February 1980 Richard A. Lupoff and Steve Stiles published the first "chapter" of their 10-part comic strip The Adventures of Professor Thintwhistle and His Incredible Aether Flyer.
The first use of the word in a title was in Paul Di Filippo's 1995 Steampunk Trilogy, consisting of three short novels: "Victoria", "Hottentots", and "Walt and Emily", which, respectively, imagine the replacement of Queen Victoria by a human/newt clone, an invasion of Massachusetts by Lovecraftian monsters, and a love affair between Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson.
The 1981 educational book, Elementary BASIC - Learning to Program Your Computer in BASIC with Sherlock Holmes by Henry Singer and Andrew Ledgar may have been the first fictional work to depict the use of Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine in an adventure story. The instructional book, aimed at young programming students, depicts Holmes using the engine as an aid in his investigations, and offer program listings to perform simple data processing tasks required to solve the fictional cases. The book even describes a possible enhancement to Babbage's machine; a device that allows the engine to be used remotely, through telegraph lines. Companion volumes, Elementary Pascal - Learning to Program Your Computer in Pascal with Sherlock Holmes and From Baker Street to Binary - An Introduction to Computers and Computer Programming with Sherlock Holmes, were also written.
1988 saw the publication of the first version of the science fiction roleplaying game Space: 1889, set in an alternative history in which certain discredited Victorian scientific theories were probable, thus leading to new technologies. Contributing authors included Frank Chadwick, Loren Wiseman, and Marcus Rowland.
William Gibson and Bruce Sterling's 1990 novel The Difference Engine is often credited with bringing widespread awareness of steampunk. This novel applies the principles of Gibson and Sterling's cyberpunk writings to an alternative Victorian era where Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage's proposed steam-powered mechanical computer, which Babbage called a difference engine (a later, more general-purpose version was known as an analytical engine), was actually built, and led to the dawn of the information age more than a century "ahead of schedule". This setting was different from most steampunk settings in that it takes a dim and dark view of this future rather than the more prevalent utopian versions.
Nick Gevers's 2008 original anthology Extraordinary Engines features newer steampunk stories by some of the genre's writers, as well as other science fiction and fantasy writers experimenting with neo-Victorian conventions. A retrospective reprint anthology of steampunk fiction was released, also in 2008, by Tachyon Publications; edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer and appropriately entitled Steampunk, it is a collection of stories by James Blaylock, whose "Narbondo" trilogy is typically considered steampunk; Jay Lake, author of the novel Mainspring, sometimes labeled "clockpunk"; the aforementioned Michael Moorcock; as well as Jess Nevins, known for his annotations to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
Younger readers have also been targeted with steampunk themes by authors such as Philip Reeve and Scott Westerfeld. Reeve's quartet Mortal Engines is set far in Earth's future where giant moving cities consume each other in a battle for resources, a concept Reeve coined as Municipal Darwinism. Westerfeld's Leviathan trilogy is set during the First World War, fought between the "clankers" (Central Powers), who use steam technology, and "darwinists" (Allied Powers), who use genetically engineered creatures instead of machines.
While most of the original steampunk works had a historical setting, later works often place steampunk elements in a fantasy world with little relation to any specific historical era. Historical steampunk tends to be science fiction that presents an alternative history; it also contains real locales and persons from history with alternative fantasy technology. "Fantasy-world steampunk", such as China Miéville's Perdido Street Station, Alan Campbell's Scar Night, and Stephen Hunt's Jackelian novels, on the other hand, presents steampunk in a completely imaginary fantasy realm, often populated by legendary creatures coexisting with steam-era and other anachronistic technologies. However, the works of China Miéville and similar authors are sometimes referred to as belonging to the 'New Weird' rather than steampunk.
Self-described author of "far-fetched fiction" Robert Rankin has increasingly incorporated elements of steampunk into narrative worlds, both Victorian and re-imagined contemporary. In 2009, he was made a Fellow of the Victorian Steampunk Society.
In general, the category includes any recent science fiction that takes place in a recognizable historical period (sometimes an alternate history version of an actual historical period) in which the Industrial Revolution has already begun, but electricity is not yet widespread. It places an emphasis on steam- or spring-propelled gadgets. The most common historical steampunk settings are the Victorian and Edwardian eras, though some in this "Victorian steampunk" category can go as early as the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.
Some examples of this type include the novel The Difference Engine, the comic book series League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the Disney animated film Atlantis: The Lost Empire, the anime series Fullmetal Alchemist, Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan trilogy, and the roleplaying game Space: 1889. Some, such as the comic series Girl Genius, have their own unique times and places despite partaking heavily of the flavor of historic times and settings.
Karel Zeman's film The Fabulous World of Jules Verne (1958) is a very early example of cinematic steampunk. Based on Jules Verne novels, Zeman's film imagines a past based on those novels which never was. Another early example of historical steampunk in cinema includes Hayao Miyazaki's anime films such as Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986), containing many archetypal anachronisms characteristic of the steampunk genre.
"Historical" steampunk usually leans more towards science fiction than fantasy, but a number of historical steampunk stories have incorporated magical elements as well. For example, Morlock Night, written by K. W. Jeter, revolves around an attempt by the wizard Merlin to raise King Arthur to save the Britain in 1892 from an invasion of Morlocks from the future. The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers involves a cabal of magicians among the beggars and thieves of the early 19th-century London underworld.
Paul Guinan’s Boilerplate, a 'biography' of a robot in the late 19th century, began as a website that garnered international press coverage when people began believing that Photoshop images of the robot with historic personages were real. The site was adapted into an illustrated hardbound book Boilerplate: History’s Mechanical Marvel, and published by Abrams in October 2009. Because the story was not set in an alternative history, and in fact contained accurate information about the Victorian era, some[specify] booksellers referred to the tome as "historical steampunk."
Another setting is "Western" steampunk, which overlaps with both the Weird West and Science fiction Western subgenres. Several other categories have arisen, sharing similar names, including dieselpunk, clockworkpunk, and others. Most of these terms were coined as supplements to the GURPS role playing game, and are not used in other contexts. Films and literature of this genre include High Moon, Far West, Briscoe County, Jr., and Robert Conrad & Ross Martin in the '65-69 T.V. series The Wild Wild West.
Since the 1990s, the application of the steampunk label has expanded beyond works set in recognisable historical periods, to works set in fantasy worlds that rely heavily on steam- or spring-powered technology.
Fantasy steampunk settings abound in tabletop and computer role-playing games. Notable examples include Skies of Arcadia, Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends, and Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura.
The gnomes and goblins in World of Warcraft also have technological societies that could be described as steampunk as they are vastly ahead of the technologies of men, but are not magical like those of the Elves.
In the role-playing game series The Elder Scrolls, a race of Elves known as the "Dwemer" ("Deep Elves") utilises both magic and steampunk-esque technology, as opposed to the more medieval-based technologies of Men and the purely magic-based societies of some other Elven races.
Dungeons and Dragons introduced steampunk elements with the Eberron setting, including automatons called warforged and the use of "technological" magic through items such as the lightning rail and airships.
Amidst the historical and fantasy sub-genres of steampunk is a type which takes place in a hypothetical future or a fantasy equivalent of our future, involving the domination of steampunk-style technology and aesthetics. Examples include Jean-Pierre Jeunet & Marc Caro's The City of Lost Children (1995), anime film Steamboy (2004), Turn A Gundam (1999–2000), Trigun, and Hayao Miyazaki's post-apocalyptic anime Future Boy Conan (1978), and Disney's film Treasure Planet (2002). In 2011, musician Thomas Dolby heralded his return to music after a 20-year hiatus with an online steampunk alternate fantasy world called the Floating City, to promote his album, A Map of the Floating City.
Fantasy and horror
Kaja Foglio introduced the term "Gaslight Romance", gaslamp fantasy, which John Clute and John Grant define as "steampunk stories ... most commonly set in a romanticised, smoky, 19th-century London, as are Gaslight Romances. But the latter category focuses nostalgically on icons from the late years of that century and the early years of the 20th century--on Dracula, Jekyll and Hyde, Jack the Ripper, Sherlock Holmes and even Tarzan--and can normally be understood as combining supernatural fiction and recursive fantasy, though some gaslight romances can be read as fantasies of history." Some, such as author/artist James Richardson-Brown use the term steamgoth to refer to steampunk expressions of fantasy and horror with a "darker" bent.
Television, films and video games
The 1979 film Time After Time has Herbert George "H.G." Wells following a surgeon named John Leslie Stevenson into the future, as John is suspected of being Jack the Ripper. Both use Wells' time machine separately to travel.
The 1982 American TV series Q.E.D., set in Edwardian England, starred Sam Waterston as Professor Quentin Everett Deverill (the series title is the character's initials, as well as the Latin phrase quod erat demonstrandum, which translates as "which was to be demonstrated"). The Professor was an inventor and scientific detective, in the mold of Sherlock Holmes. In the show, the lead character was known primarily by his initials, Q.E.D.
The final scene of the 1990 film Back to the Future Part III implies that the protagonist Emmett Brown, after being stranded in 1880s California, has managed to adapt 1980s technology in a steam-powered context, including the development of a steam-powered train-based time machine.
The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., a Fox Network 1993 TV science fiction-western set in the 1890s, featured elements of steampunk as represented by the character Professor Wickwire, whose inventions were described as "the coming thing." The short-lived 1995 TV show Legend on UPN, set in 1876 Arizona, featured such classic inventions as a steam-driven "quadrovelocipede" and night-vision goggles, and starred John de Lancie as a thinly-disguised Nicola Tesla. Alan Moore's and Kevin O'Neill's 1999 The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen graphic novel series (and the subsequent 2003 film adaption) greatly popularised the steampunk genre. The Syfy series Warehouse 13 features many steampunk-inspired objects and artifacts, including computer designs created by steampunk artisan Richard Nagy, aka "Datamancer". Also, the Syfy miniseries Tin Man incorporates a considerable amount of steampunk-inspired themes into a re-imagining of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
The BBC series Doctor Who also incorporates steampunk elements in the design of the Doctor's time machine, the TARDIS. During season 14 of the show in 1976 the formerly futuristic looking interior set was replaced with a Victorian-styled wood panel and brass affair. In the 1996 American co-production the TARDIS interior was re-designed to resemble an almost Victorian library with the central control console made up of eclectic and anachronistic objects. Modified and streamlined for the 2005 revival of the series, the TARDIS console continued to incorporate steampunk elements, including a Victorian typewriter and gramophone. Several storylines can be classed as steampunk, for example: The Evil of the Daleks (1966) where Victorian scientists invent a time travel device and The Next Doctor (2008) featuring a giant steam powered robot in 1850s London,
Steampunk has begun to attract notice from "mainstream" American sources as well. For example, the episode of the TV series Castle entitled "Punked", which aired on October 11, 2010, prominently featured the steampunk subculture and used Los Angeles-area steampunks as extras Syfy channel's 2013 series Robot Combat League features one robot named "Steampunk", looking much like a giant brass boiler with pressure gauges for eyes. The music videos from both David Guetta's "Turn Me On" and Panic at the Disco's "The Ballad of Mona Lisa" have drawn heavily on steampunk inspirations.
The 19th-century detective series Murdoch Mysteries occasionally incorporates elements of steampunk. In the 2012 episode Who Killed the Electric Carriage?, for instance, an inventor develops an electric car that runs on NiCd batteries charged by solar cells, only to have Henry Ford and Standard Oil buy out his company and patents and kill the project. In many episodes, Murdoch himself envisions or invents futuristic devices using contemporary materials.
The Chaos Engine is a run and gun video game inspired by the Gibson/Sterling novel The Difference Engine, set in a Victorian steampunk age. Developed by the Bitmap Brothers, it was first released on the Amiga in 1993 with a sequel appearing in 1996. Other steampunk-styled video games include 1994's Final Fantasy VI on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and Bioshock Infinite for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 systems, as well as PC and Mac home computers.
Myst is a 1993 puzzle video game developed by Cyan for the Mac OS computer that uses some steampunk elements such as machinery, cogs and gears. Myst was the best-selling PC game, until The Sims exceeded its sales in 2002. Myst's success spawned four direct video game sequels as well as several spin-off games and novels all of which contained steampunk elements.
The 2004 film Howl's Moving Castle has steam-powered busses, dirigibles & other flying machines.
Steamboy is a 2004 film by director Katsuhiro Otomo based in 1860s England and is entirely set in a steampunk environment. The plot revolves around a boy, his grandfather and father and an exciting but dangerous advancement in steam power. It is cited as one of the most expensive Japanese animated movies made to date.
The comic book series of Hellboy created by Mike Mignola and the two Hellboy films featuring Ron Perlman and directed by Guillermo del Toro all have steampunk elements. In the comic book and the first (2004) film, Karl Ruprecht Kroenen is a Nazi SS scientist who has an addiction to surgery and had many mechanical prostheses, not least a clockwork heart. Johann Krauss features in the comic and in the second film, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, and is an ectoplasmic medium (a gaseous form in a partly mechanical suit). This second film also features the Golden Army itself which is a collection of 70 x 70 mechanical steampunk warriors.
In the episode of the BBC TV seires Doctor Who entitled "The Next Doctor" starring David Tennant and David Morrissey there is a giant robot controlled by the Cybermen called the Cyber King. It is powered by a giant steam powered engine inside the chest.
The animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender featured technologies employed by the Fire Nation inspired by steampunk. Examples include the massive Fire Nation drill used to assault the massive walls of Ba Sing Se and the massive ships and tanks used throughout the series (i.e. the invasion of the Northern Water tribe).
The video game BioShock Infinite has some steampunk themes, such as the Sky-Hook and the Voxophone, as well as mechanical horses and rockets.
Art, fashion, and design
Many of the visualisations of steampunk have their origins with, among others, Walt Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, including the design of the story's submarine the Nautilus, its interiors, and the crew's underwater gear; and George Pal's 1960 film The Time Machine, with the design of the time machine itself. This theme is also carried over to Disney's theme parks in the design of The Mysterious Island section of Tokyo DisneySea theme park, and Disneyland Paris' Discoveryland area.
Steampunk design emphasises a balance between the form and function. Like the Arts and Crafts Movement, this blurs the line between tool and decoration. Various modern utilitarian objects have been modified by enthusiasts into a pseudo-Victorian mechanical "steampunk" style. Example objects include computer keyboards and electric guitars. The goal of such redesigns is to employ appropriate materials (such as polished brass, iron, wood, and leather) with design elements and craftsmanship consistent with the Victorian era, rejecting the aesthetic of industrial design.
The artist group Kinetic Steam Works brought a working steam engine to the Burning Man festival in 2006 and 2007. The group's founding member, Sean Orlando, created a Steampunk Tree House (in association with a group of people who would later form the Five Ton Crane Arts Group) that has been displayed at a number of festivals. The Steampunk Tree House is now permanently installed at the Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, Delaware.
In May–June 2008, multimedia artist and sculptor Paul St George exhibited outdoor interactive video installations linking London and Brooklyn, New York, in a Victorian era-styled telectroscope. Utilising this device, New York promoter Evelyn Kriete organised a transatlantic wave between steampunk enthusiasts from both cities, briefly prior to White Mischief's Around the World in 80 Days steampunk-themed event.
In 2009 artist Tim Wetherell created a large wall piece for Questacon representing the concept of the clockwork universe. This steel artwork contains moving gears, a working clock, and a movie of the moon's terminator in action. The 3D moon movie was created by Antony Williams.
From October 2009 through February 2010, the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford hosted the first major exhibition of steampunk art objects, curated and developed by New York artist and designer, Art Donovan who also exhibited his own "electro-futuristic" lighting sculptures and presented by Dr. Jim Bennett, museum director. From redesigned practical items to fantastical contraptions, this exhibition showcased the work of eighteen steampunk artists from across the globe. The exhibition proved to be the most successful and highly attended in the museum's history and attracted more than eighty thousand visitors. The event was detailed in the official artist's journal, "The Art of Steampunk" by curator Donovan.
In November 2010, The Libratory Steampunk Art Gallery was opened by Damien McNamara in Oamaru, New Zealand. Created from papier-mâché to resemble a large subterranean cave and filled with industrial equipment from yesteryear, rayguns and general steampunk quirks. Its purpose is to provide a place for steampunkers in the region to display artwork all year long.
In 2012, the Mobilis in Mobili: An Exhibition of Steampunk Art and Appliance art exhibit made its debut. Originally located at New York City's Wooster Street Social Club (itself the subject of the television series NY Ink), the exhibit featured working steampunk tattoo systems designed, respectively, by Bruce Rosenbaum of ModVic and owner of the Steampunk House, Joey "Dr. Grymm" Marsocci., and Christopher Conte showing very different approaches. "bicycles, cell phones, guitars, timepieces and entertainment systems" rounded out the display. The opening night exhibition featured a live performance by steampunk band Frenchy and the Punk.
In 2013, IBM predicted, based on an analysis of more than a half million public posts on message boards, blogs, social media sites and news sources, "that ‘steampunk,’ a sub-genre inspired by the clothing, technology and social mores of Victorian society, will be a major trend to bubble up and take hold of the retail industry." 
Steampunk music is very broadly defined, as Caroline Sullivan says in The Guardian: "Internet debates rage about exactly what constitutes the steampunk sound." Abney Park’s lead singer, Robert Brown, very loosely defined it as, "mixing Victorian elements and modern elements."
Joshua Pfeiffer (of Vernian Process) is quoted as saying “As for Paul Roland, if anyone deserves credit for spear-heading Steampunk music, it is him. He was one of the inspirations I had in starting my project. He was writing songs about the first attempt at manned flight, and an Edwardian airship raid in the mid-80’s long before almost anyone else…”. Thomas Dolby is also considered one of the early pioneers of retro-futurist (i.e. steampunk and dieselpunk) music. Amanda Palmer was once quoted as saying, "Thomas Dolby is to Steampunk what Iggy Pop was to Punk!"
Since there is little consensus on the sound steampunk music should take, there is a broad range of musical styles and interpretations among steampunk musical acts, from industrial dance and world music to folk rock, Punk cabaret to straightforward punk, Carnatic to industrial, hip-hop to opera (and even industrial hip-hop opera), darkwave to progressive rock, barbershop to big band.
Steampunk has also appeared in the work of musicians who do not specifically identify as steampunk. For example, the music video of Turn Me On by David Guetta featuring Nicki Minaj takes place in a steampunk universe where Guetta creates human droids. In addition, the 2012 album Clockwork Angels and its supporting tour by progressive rock band Rush contain lyrics, themes and imagery based around steampunk.
In 2012, Thomas Dolby headlined the first "Steamstock" outdoor steampunk music festival in Richmond, California, alongside steampunk favorites Abney Park, Frenchy and the Punk, Vernian Process, Lee Presson and the Nails and others.
Culture and community
Because of the popularity of steampunk, there is a growing movement of adults that want to establish steampunk as a culture and lifestyle. Some fans of the genre adopt a steampunk aesthetic through fashion, home decor, music, and film. This may be described as neo-Victorianism, which is the amalgamation of Victorian aesthetic principles with modern sensibilities and technologies.
In September 2012, a panel was held at Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo, chaired by steampunk entertainer Veronique Chevalier and with panelists including magician Pop Hadyn and members of the steampunk performance group The League of STEAM, which suggested that because steampunk was inclusive of and incorporated ideas from various other subcultures such as goth, neo-Victorian, and cyberpunk as well as a growing number of fandoms, it was fast becoming a super-culture rather than a mere subculture. Other steampunk notables such as Professor Elemental have expressed similar views about steampunk's inclusive diversity.
Some have proposed a steampunk philosophy, sometimes with punk-inspired anti-establishment sentiments, and typically bolstered by optimism about human potential.
Steampunk fashion has no set guidelines, but tends to synthesise modern styles influenced by the Victorian era. This may include gowns, corsets, petticoats and bustles; suits with vests, coats, top hats and spats; or military-inspired garments. Steampunk-influenced outfits are usually accented with several technological and "period" accessories: timepieces, parasols, flying/driving goggles, and ray guns. Modern accessories like cell phones or music players can be found in steampunk outfits, after being modified to give them the appearance of Victorian-made objects. Aspects of steampunk fashion have been anticipated by mainstream high fashion, the Lolita fashion and aristocrat styles, neo-Victorianism, and the romantic goth subculture.
Steampunk became a common descriptor for homemade objects on the craft network Etsy between 2009 and 2011, though many of the objects and fashions bear little resemblance to earlier established steampunk descriptions. Thus the craft network may not strike observers as 'sufficiently steampunk' to warrant the description. Comedienne April Winchell, author of the book, Regretsy: Where DIY meets WTF, catalogs some of the most egregious and humorous examples on her website, "Regretsy". The blog is popular among steampunks and even inspired a music video that went viral in the community and was acclaimed by steampunk "notables."
2006 saw the first "SalonCon", a neo-Victorian/steampunk convention. It ran for three consecutive years and featured artists, musicians (Voltaire and Abney Park), authors (Catherynne M. Valente, Ekaterina Sedia, and G. D. Falksen), salons led by people prominent in their respective fields, workshops and panels on steampunk—as well as a seance, ballroom dance instruction, and the Chrononauts' Parade. The event was covered by MTV and The New York Times. Since then a number of popular steampunk conventions have sprung up the world over, with names like Steamcon (Seattle, WA), the Steampunk World's Fair (Piscataway, NJ) and Up in the Aether: The Steampunk Convention (Dearborn, MI).
Steampunk has also become a regular feature at San Diego Comic-Con International in recent years, with the Saturday of the four-day event being generally known among steampunks as "Steampunk Day", and culminating with a photo-shoot for the local press. In 2010 this was recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's largest steampunk photo shoot. In 2013, Comic-Con announced four official 2013 T-shirts: one of them featured the official Rick Geary Comic-Con toucan mascot in steampunk attire. The Saturday steampunk "after-party" has also become a major event on the steampunk social calendar; in 2010 the headliners included The Slow Poisoner, Unextraordinary Gentlemen and Voltaire, with Veronique Chevalier as Mistress of Ceremonies and special appearance by the League of STEAM, and in 2011 UXG returned with Abney Park.
Steampunk also has sprung up recently at Renaissance Festivals and Renaissance Faires, nationwide. Some have organised events or a "Steampunk Day", while other Fests simply support an open environment for donning Steampunk attire. The Bristol Renaissance Faire in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on the Wisconsin/Illinois border, featured a Steampunk costume contest during the 2012 season. The previous two seasons featured increasing participation in the phenomenon.
Steampunk also has a growing following in the UK and Europe. The largest European event is "Weekend at the Asylum", held at The Lawn, Lincoln every September since 2009. Organised as a not-for-profit event by the Victorian Steampunk Society, the Asylum is a dedicated steampunk event which takes over much of the historical quarter of Lincoln, England, along with Lincoln Castle. In 2011 there were over 1000 steampunks in attendance. The event features the Empire Ball, Majors Review, Bazaar Eclectica and the international Tea Duelling final.
- "Definition of steampunk". Oxford University Press. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
- "Steampunk artists meld Victorian era, science fiction". Duluth News Tribune. January 1, 2012. Retrieved March 6, 2012. "“It’s the stuff Jules Verne used to write about, looking at it from the hindsight of the 21st century,”"
- Strickland, Jonathan. "Famous Steampunk Works". HowStuffWorks. Retrieved May 18, 2008.
- Daniel, Lucy (2007). Defining Moments in Books: The Greatest Books, Writers, Characters, Passages and Events that Shook the Literary World. US: Cassell Illustrated. p. 439. ISBN 1-84403-605-7.
- La Ferla, Ruth (May 8, 2008). "Steampunk Moves Between 2 Worlds". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-11-21.
- Braiker, Brian (October 31, 2007). "Steampunking Technology: A subculture hand-tools today's gadgets with Victorian style". Newsweek. Retrieved 2010-11-21.
- Kaplan, Janet (2010). Remedios Varo: Unexpected Journeys. Abbeville Press. ISBN 0-7892-0627-7.
- Grossman, Lev (December 14, 2009). "Steampunk: Reclaiming Tech for the Masses". Time. Retrieved 2009-12-10. "Steampunk has been around for at least 30 years, with roots going back further. An early example is K. W. Jeter's 1979 novel Morlock Night, a sequel to H.G. Wells' The Time Machine in which the Morlocks travel back in time to invade 1890s London. Steampunk — Jeter coined the name — was already an established subgenre by 1990, when William Gibson and Bruce Sterling introduced a wider audience to it in The Difference Engine, a novel set in a Victorian England running Babbage's hardware and ruled by Lord Byron, who had escaped death in Greece. ..."
- Bebergal, Peter (2007-08-26). "The age of steampunk". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 5 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-10.
- Sheidlower, Jesse (March 9, 2005). "Science Fiction Citations". Retrieved May 10, 2008.
- Vandermeer, Jeff; Chambers, S.J. (2010). The Steampunk Bible. Abrams Image. p. 48. ISBN 0-8109-8958-1. "At the time, neither Tim nor (Blaylock) considered ourselves part of any literary movement... and in fact later on I had forgotten entirely that Jeter was responsible for the term., and blamed it for a period of time on writer and editor Gardner Dozois"
- Nevins, Jess (2003). Heroes & Monsters: The Unofficial Companion to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. MonkeyBrain Books. ISBN 1-932265-04-X.
- Bebergal, Peter (August 26, 2007). "The Age of Steampunk". The Boston Globe. Retrieved May 10, 2008.
- Lupoff, Richard; Stiles, Steve (February 1980; v. 3, #10). "The Adventures of Professor Thintwhistle and His Incredible Aether Flyer". Heavy Metal. pp. 27–32 et seq.
- Bebergal, Peter (August 26, 2007). "The age of steampunk:Nostalgia meets the future, joined carefully with brass screws". Boston Globe.
- "Heliograph's Space 1889 Resource Site". Heliograph, Inc. 2010-06-30. Retrieved 2010-11-29.
- Csicsery-Ronay, Istvan (March 1997). "The Critic: John Clute. Look at the Evidence. Essays and Reviews.". Science Fiction Studies (DePauw University, Greencastle Indiana: SF-TH Inc.) (#71; Volume 24, Part 1). Retrieved 2010-11-29.
- Doctorow, Cory (July 8, 2007). "Jay Lake's "Mainspring:" Clockpunk adventure". Retrieved May 10, 2008.
- "Meet the Victorian Steampunk Society". SFX News. November 27, 2011. Retrieved January 5, 2011.
- Hudson, Patrick. "(Review of) The Difference Engine". The Zone. Pigasus Press. Retrieved February 13, 2009.
- School Library Journal,"Laviathan". Amazon. Archived from the original on 10 August 2011. Retrieved 10 August 2011.
- Waldrop, Howard; Person, Lawrence (October 13, 2004). "The Fabulous World of Jules Verne". Locus Online. Retrieved May 10, 2008.
- "the news and media magazine of the British Science Fiction Association". Matrix Online. June 30, 2008. Retrieved February 13, 2009.
- Ward, Cynthia (August 20, 2003). "Hayao Miyazaki: The Greatest Fantasy Director You Never Heard Of?". Retrieved June 13, 2009.
- Hayden, Tom (September 3, 2002). "Gotcha!". U.S. News & World Report. p. 39. Retrieved January 5, 2012.
- "Boilerplate". Abramsbooks.com. Retrieved 2011-03-17.
- "A Preview of Boilerplate: History's Mechanical Marvel". Omnivoracious. 2009-04-29. Retrieved 2011-03-17.
- Stoddard, William H., GURPS Steampunk (2000)
- "Skies of Arcadia review on RPGnet". Rpg.net. Retrieved September 8, 2009.
- "Rise of legends as steampunk video game". Dailygame.net. Retrieved September 8, 2009.
- Xerin (March 9, 2010). "WoW: Loremaster's Corner #5: A Steampunk Paradise". Ten Ton Hammer. Retrieved 2010-05-30. "World of Warcraft is almost a steampunk paradise if you look at the various technological advancements the gnomes have made. Most engines are powered by steam and there are giant airships floating around everywhere."
- "Unprecedented level of game service operation’ from Steampunk MMORPG Neo Steam". June 29, 2008. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
- Vandermeer, Jeff; Chambers, S.J. (2010). The Steampunk Bible. Abrams Image. p. 78. ISBN 0-8109-8958-1.
- Clute, John; Grant, John, eds. (February 1999) [First published 1997]. "Steampunk". The Encyclopedia of Fantasy. Contributing editors: Mike Ashley, Roz Kaveney, David Langford, Ron Tiner (Rev. ed.). New York: St. Martin's Griffin. pp. 895–896. ISBN 978-0-312-19869-8 Check
|isbn=value (help). "STEAMPUNK A term applied more to science fiction than to fantasy, though some tales described as steampunk do cross genres. ... Steampunk, on the other hand, can be best described as technofantasy that is based, sometimes quite remotely, upon technological anachronism."
- Richardson-Brown, James (2008). "Steampunk - What's That All About". The Chronicles 2 (9). p. 10.
- Orillion, Andrew (June 8, 2010). "A Fistful of Geek: A Look Back at The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.". Slant Magazine.
- Damon Poeter (July 6, 2008). "Steampunk's subculture revealed". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved September 8, 2008.
- stephanie (August 16, 2009). "Warehouse 13: Steampunk TV". closetscifigeek.com. Retrieved October 2, 2009.
- "TARDIS builders". Retrieved 16 December 2013.
- "BBC Doctor Who Classic Series". Retrieved 16 December 2013.
- http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/The_Next_Doctor_%28TV_story%29. Retrieved 16 December 2013. Missing or empty
- Clarissa (October 11, 2010). "Sneak Peeks – Castle 3.04 "Punked"". TVOvermind.com.
- "Robot Combat League - Meet the Robots: Steampunk". SyFy.
- Chaos Engine at Bitmap Bros.
- Collazo, Stephanie Amy (December 6, 2011). "YRB Interview: Dr. Grymm". YRB Magazine. Retrieved March 6, 2012. "a dangerous tattoo machine, fusing a tattoo machine and an arm. Using a hand massager, projector parts, tube radios, a paint sprayer and miscellaneous parts (such as a glass vile of squid ink), Marsocci created an interesting piece that looks like something you’d find in Mary Shelley’s home."
- Casey, Eileen (August 1, 2008). "Steampunk Art And Design Exhibits In The Hamptons". Hamptons Online. Retrieved March 6, 2012. "Steampunk is not considered 'Outsider Art,' but rather a tightly focused art movement whose practitioners faithfully borrow design elements from the grand schools of architecture, science and design and employ a strict philosophy where the physical form must be as equally impressive as the function."
- Steel, Sharon (May 19, 2008). "Steam dream: Steampunk bursts through its subculture roots to challenge our musical, fashion, design, and even political sensibilities". The Boston Phoenix. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
- Hart, Hugh (December 1, 2011). "Steampunk Contraptions Take Over Tattoo Studio". Wired. Retrieved December 5, 2011.
- Farivar, Cyrus (February 6, 2008). "Steampunk Brings Victorian Flair to the 21st Century". National Public Radio. Retrieved May 10, 2008.
- Hartwell, Lane (September 8, 2007). "Best of Burning Man: Fire Dancers, Steampunk Tree House and More". Wired. Retrieved January 5, 2011. "Kinetic Steam Works' Case traction engine Hortense glows on the playa. The art vehicle was named in honor of the artist and mother of Cal Tinkham, the steam enthusiast and railroad engineer who originally restored the engine."
- Savatier, Tristan "Loupiote" (2007). "Kinetic Steam Works' Case traction engine Hortense ".
- "Five Ton Crane". 2010.
- Jardin, Xeni (24 January 2008). "Steampunk Tree House". Boing Boing TV.
- Orlando, Sean (2007–2008). "Steampunk Tree House". Retrieved May 10, 2008.
- "Steampunk Tree House debuts at Dogfish in Milton". Cape Gazette. 2 July 2010.
- "Steampunk Treehouse Finds Home At Dogfish". Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. 21 June 2010.
- Ryzik, Melena (May 21, 2008). "Telescope Takes a Long View, to London". New York Times. Retrieved August 5, 2008.
- Sullivan, Caroline (October 17, 2008). "Tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1899". London: Guardian. Retrieved October 17, 2008.
- PH, Julie (June 5, 2008). "Testing the Telectroscope". Londonist. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
- "Telectroscope Merged Topic Threads". Brass Goggles. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
- "Steampunk". Museum of the History of Science, Oxford. "Imagine the technology of today with the aesthetic of Victorian science."
- Ward, Mark (November 30, 2009). "Tech Know: Fast forward to the past". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved November 30, 2009.
- Professor Damotimus Tipotus
- Bruce Rosenbaum,
- Stiffler, Scott (January 19, 2012). "Steampunk: The Victorian future is now". the Villager. Retrieved March 6, 2012.
- Skarda, Erin (January 17, 2013). "Will Steampunk Really Be the Next Big Fashion Trend?". Time. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
- Dahncke, Pasha Ray. "IBM Social Sentiment Index Predicts New Retail Trend in the Making". IBM. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
- Kurt Andersen (6 October 2012). "Music festival, conference set to celebrate steampunk". Public Radio International.
- Joshua Pfeiffer (of Vernian Process) on the Steampunk Bible website Steampunk Bible
- Rossmore, Mark (September 10, 2012). "Steamstock: An Antiquarian Exposition". steampunk-music.com.
- "Thomas Dolby Debuts The Floating City Transmedia Game". Reuters. Jun 22, 2011.
- Rowe, Andrew Ross (September 29, 2008). "What Is Steampunk? A Subculture Infiltrating Films, Music, Fashion, More". MTV. Retrieved October 14, 2008.
- Bizarre Magazine, issue 187, April 2012, Page 116
- The Independent on Sunday, March 11th 2012
- D.M.P. (2010-01-16). "Beyond Victoriana: #10 An Interview with Sunday Driver". Tales of the Urban Adventurer.
- "Audio Drome Review: Dr. Steel" (back issue). Rue Morgue Magazine, issue 42. November/December 2004.
- Scoggins, Wesley. "Interview: Dr. Phineas Waldolf Steel, Mad Scientist". Indy Mogul. Retrieved August 29, 2009. "Many have mentioned your work in regards to Steampunk influenced bands like Abney Park (and for that matter the Steampunk "style" in general)."
- Kaye, Marco (July 25, 2008). "Mom, Dad, I'm Into Steampunk". Retrieved August 4, 2008.
- Rauchfuss, Marcus (July 1, 2008). "Steampunk Aesthetics". Retrieved February 9, 2010.
- "Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo 2012 Panel Schedule, Saturday, September 15". Comikaze Expo. Sep 2012.
- Professor Elemental (Oct 2012). "Professor Elemental Defines Steampunk (or, at Least Tries to)". Tor.com.
- Swerlick, Andrew (May 11, 2007). "Technology Gets Steampunk'd". Retrieved August 4, 2008.
- Campbell, Jean (2009) Steampunk Style Jewelry: A Maker's Collection of Victorian, Fantasy, and Mechanical Designs. Creative Publishing International ISBN 978-1-58923-475-8, pp. 48.
- "Not Remotely Steampunk". Regretsy. Retrieved 2011-08-26.
- Pikedevant (Nov 29, 2011). "Just Glue Some Gears On It (And Call It Steampunk)". Youtube. Retrieved December 4, 2011. "From the video's comments: 'This is Datamancer, the steampunk keyboard guy, and I approve of this video wholeheartedly. In fact, we make this joke at the workshop almost daily. "I can't figure out how to finish off this edge". "Just glue some gears to it and call it done" haha. Well-made song and video.' - Datamancer. 'Glad to see a new contender for the chap-hop crown, and such a relevant message. I love it!' - Unwoman. 'Professor Elemental here, Just wanted to give this my most hearty applause. A fine, fine song by a true gentleman.'"
- "Steampunk Infiltrates the Mainstream". Retrieved 2010-02-25.
- Ay-leen the Peacemaker (Jan 10, 2013). "Gearing Up for 2013: A Steampunk Conventions Listing".
- "Comic Con: Day Three – Steampunks!". FrockTalk.com. July 28, 2009.
- "San Diego Comic-Con 2010 Day 3". Retrieved 2010-07-31. "Comic-Con Steampunk Meetup"
- "Largest Gathering of Steampunks (2010)". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 2012-07-11.
- "Comic-Con 2013 T-Shirts Revealed!". comic-con.org. July 1, 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-02.
- "The League of Temporal Adventurers First Society Gala". Retrieved 2010-07-29.
- Ohanesian, Liz (July 28, 2010). "Comic-Con Interview: Musician/Artist Voltaire is a Convention Renaissance Man". LA Weekly Magazine. Retrieved 2010-07-31.
- "Promotional poster for Comic Con's steampunk after-party, "The Time Machine"". Retrieved 2011-07-23.
- "Steampunk Empire: All Events in Bristol Renaissance Faire". Retrieved 2012-10-05.
- Alkon, Paul K. (1994). Science fiction before 1900. ISBN 0-8057-0952-5.
- Donovan, Art (2011). The Art of Steampunk: Extraordinary Devices and Ingenious Contraptions from the Leading Artists of the Steampunk Movement. Fox Chapel Publishers. ISBN 978-1-56523-573-1.
- Erlich, Richard D.; Dunn, Thomas P. (1983). Clockwork worlds. ISBN 0-313-23026-9.
- Guillemois, Alban (2006). Louis la Lune. ISBN 2-226-16675-0.
- Landon, Brooks (2002). Science fiction after 1900. ISBN 0-415-93888-0.
- Nevins, Jess (2005). The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana. MonkeyBrain Books. ISBN 978-1-932265-15-6.
- Nova Express 2 (2). Winter 1988.
- Slusser, George; Shippey, Tom (1992). Fiction 2000: cyberpunk and the future of narrative. ISBN 0-8203-1425-0.
- Suvin, Darko (1983). Victorian science fiction in the UK. ISBN 0-8161-8435-6.
- Westfahl, Gary; Slusser, George; Leiby, David (2002). Worlds enough and time. ISBN 0-313-31706-2.
- Strongman, Jay (2010). Steampunk: The Art of Victorian Futurism. Korero Books. ISBN 978-1-907621-03-1.
- Off Book: Steampunk Documentary produced by Off Book (web series)
- Media related to Steampunk at Wikimedia Commons