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What is Steampunk?

Some other fine descriptions of steampunk from various sources that we love...

"Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction, alternate history, and speculative fiction... [involving] an era or world where steam power is still widely used, typically the Victorian Era and the Edwardian Era, that incorporates prominent elements of science fiction and fantasy.  Steampunk stories are often romantic and peppered with historical references and brewing rebellions."

- Steampunk Wikia


"It could be described by the slogan 'What the past would look like if the future had happened sooner.'"

Urban Dictionary

"Over the years, steampunk has evolved into more than just a sub-genre of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Steampunk now extends into fashion, engineering, music, and for some, a lifestyle... steampunk projects are a challenge of making something elegant out of random bits and bobs."

Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences


"Steampunk is the greatest era that never was."

 - Professor Elemental


"The largest thing to remember about the genre as a whole is that there are no set rules. That’s right. Steampunk is so anachronistic it can’t even settle on a standard for itself."

- Steampunk Train


"These are some suggested guidelines you may wish to consider when investing in a steampunk wardrobe: goggles, gadgets, hats and a 19th Century silhouette from any culture or country."

The Lady Amethyst, San Diego Steampunk


"Steampunk is the most famous new trend that you've never heard of."

- Huffinton Post, 2011-10-17


"Final answer: steampunk is [manifested as] a literary genre AND a design aesthetic AND a philosophy."



Steampun is not just Victorian England and the American West.  Check out Beyond Victoriana, a blog about multicultural steampunk and retro-futurism—that is, steampunk outside of a Western-dominant, Eurocentric framework.  Beyond Victoriana "focuses on steampunkery of non-Western cultures, underrepresented minorities (Asian / Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, First Nation / indigenous / NDN,  Hispanic / Latino, black / African) and other marginalized groups in Western histories."

- Beyond Victoriana

If you have a descriptive quote about Steampunk that you would like to add here, please email us the quote and author's name or the website where you found it.


Other more detailed descriptions of Steampunk can be found at the following helpful Steampunk websites:                                             


You will also get a general idea of what Steampunk "looks" like if you do an image search on or other internet search sites for "Steampunk" (see pictures at left).  


Below is a five-minute documentary-type episode of the PBS series, Off Book about the steampunk genre.

Steampunk is most often described as Victorian-era science fiction.

A splendid article answers the question, "What is Steampunk?" and we are happy to share it with you here.  The article was originally posted at The Asylum, which is the United Kingdom Steampunk Convivial.  

In October2016, Euromaxx did a short video about steampunk, with some cool European practitioners in it.


Airship Ambassador is another terrific source for all questions steam-themed.


Are you interested in getting into steampunk, but feel a bit overwhelmed?


Get started dressing Steampunk with this helpful article by the lovely Diana Vick of Seattle's Steamcon.


It can be intimidating trying to find out how to begin, but it really shouldn't be.  To clear up a few fallacies that you may have heard, take a look at another fabulous article by Diana Vick, Seven Steampunk Fallacies.


A counterpoint to the "Steampunks Take Themselves Too Seriously" fallacy is discussed in an excllent article written by Bristol's own Professor Elemental, Steampunk.... Seriousy?



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