Steampunk refers to a modern sub-genre of SF and fantasy that takes place against a 19th-century background, usually involving steam-powered machinery. However, it has expanded into an almost mainstream fringe fandom that encompasses art, costumes and even home decor, and now has its own specialty conventions.
Detractors are prone to jeer, “Glue a gear on it and call it ‘steampunk.’”
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 that era; like ‘steampunks,’ perhaps....
Writers who have written steampunk stories include Jeter, Tim Powers, James P. Blaylock, Howard Waldrop, Steven Utley, Bruce Sterling and William Gibson. (The last two writers are also closely identified with cyberpunk SF.) More recent steampunk works include Rudy Rucker's The Hollow Earth, Paul Di Filippo's The Steampunk Trilogy and Bec McMaster’s “London Steampunk” and “Blueblood Conspiracy” series.
See also: Steam Engine Time.
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