So before the term was even coined, steampunk existed. So how did the word come about? Well it wasn’t until the 1980s when K.W. Jeter was trying to come up with a word to describe certain Victorian science fiction works.
“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 ‘steam-punks’, perhaps.” (http://www.jessesword.com/sf/view/327)
When Jeter came up with the term “steam-punks” he was doing a tongue-in-cheek play on words with the term “cyberpunks.” So what is cyberpunk and how does it compare to steampunk? You can think of cyberpunk as steampunk in the future (or more correctly, steampunk is cyberpunk in the past). Imagine a high-tech dystopian future city full of flying cars, robots, and dirty poor streets. Creators of cyberpunk took many elements from film noir and detective novels, making them dark mysterious. They also play with the idea of cyberspace. The story may take place in cyberspace even, blurring the distinction of virtual reality and actual reality, of computers and humanity.
Probably the best example to illustrate this is the film Blade Runner. Based on Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, the film follows Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a retired cop whose job it was to track down “replicants” (bio-engineered robots) and destroy them. Several have come down to earth illegally and it is Rick Deckards to find and destroy them.
This film has everything from a dark science fiction dystopian setting to the popular blurring of distinction between human and machine. If you have not already seen this movie, I highly recommend it. Not only is it a prime example of cyberpunk, giving an interesting gleam into how exactly steampunk compares, but it is a science fiction classic that all sci-fi fans should watch.
Well I hope you now understand where this mysterious and complex culture of steampunk came from. I will now be writing about either modding culture within steampunk or crossovers with other popular fandoms. Any suggestions and/or comments and questions? Please let me know! I love any and all feedback.