What is steampunk?

The term Steampunk was coined in the late 1980's, to describe a blossoming genre of Victorian set science fantasy, as a joking comparison to the popular genre of Cyberpunk, as popularised by such authors as William Gibson.

The true origins of Steampunk properly lie in the early works of speculative fiction as represented by such writers as Jules Verne and H.G.Wells. In which scientists of the Victorian age create machines and devices that were beyond the science of the age. It is science fiction as seen through 19th Century eyes.
 
Today, Steampunk represents a range of interests, abilities and skill sets. There are those who dress in neo-Victorian fashion, fans and performers of Steampunk music, some people make elaborate Steampunk artefacts from wood and brass, or modify modern items like computers to give the appearance of something created by Steampunk science.
There is Steampunk the Genre. Science fiction set in the Victorian era, or incorporating technology evolved from the age of steam is still a popular genre in books, comics, and other fiction. Steampunk is making its way into films and television. For example, the new Sherlock Holmes film starring Robert Downey Junior, and Jude Law, contained several examples of Steampunk technology, and the Toronto set Victorian crime series, Murdock Mysteries, frequently incorporates Steampunk elements within its stories.
Also, there is Steampunk the Scene. Steampunk is increasing its cultural influence, there is now an ever growing range of Steampunk bands, playing variations on the style of Steampunk music, and a number of young people are choosing to dress in variations of Victorian clothing as part of the scene. Can there be anything wrong with a youth culture that values smart dress and polite conduct?
This all meets in Steampunk Society. There are thousands of people around the world who are involved in various aspects of Steampunk, The Brass Goggles Steampunk Forum alone has over 10,000 members, and the British Steampunk Community Facebook page has attracted almost 1,000 contributors within a few months of its formation.
Steampunk conventions take place across
America, in Australia, and in Europe.
Social gatherings are held around the
UK on a regular basis. Much of the credit for this has to go to Major Thaddeus Tinker, Founder of the Victorian Steampunk Society, and organiser of the Asylum Steampunk Convention.

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