Steampunk

Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery Although its literary origins are sometimes associated with the cyberpunk genre, 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 maintained mainstream usage, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power Therefore, steampunk may be described as neo-Victorian

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[citation needed] Such technology may include fictional machines like those found in the works of H G Wells and Jules Verne, or of the modern authors Philip Pullman, Scott Westerfeld, Stephen Hunt, and China Miéville[original research?] Other examples of steampunk contain alternative-history-style presentations of such technology as lighter-than-air airships, analogue computers, or such digital mechanical computers as Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine

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Steampunk may also 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[citation needed] The first known appearance of the term steampunk was in 1987, though it now retroactively refers to many works of fiction created 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

Many of the visualisations of steampunk have their origins with, among others, Walt Disney’s film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954), including the design of the story’s submarine the Nautilus, its interiors, and the crew’s underwater gear; and George Pal’s film The Time Machine (1960), especially the design of the time machine itself This theme is also carried over to Disney’s theme parks, in the designs of The Mysterious Island section of Tokyo DisneySea theme park and Disneyland Paris’ Discoveryland area

Aspects of steampunk design emphasise a balance between form and function In this it is like the Arts and Crafts Movement But John Ruskin, William Morris, and the other reformers in the late nineteenth century rejected machines and industrial production On the other hand, steampunk enthusiasts present a “non-luddite critique of technology”

Various modern utilitarian objects have been modified by enthusiasts into a pseudo-Victorian mechanical “steampunk” style Examples 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

In 1994, the Paris Metro station at Arts et Métiers was redesigned by Belgian artist Francois Schuiten in steampunk style, to honor the works of Jules Verne The station is reminiscent of a submarine, sheathed in brass with giant cogs in the ceiling and portholes that look out onto fanciful scenes