Steampunk emerges as a science fiction subgenre, celebrating retrofuturistic technology and aesthetics inspired by the industrial marvels of the 19th century, notably steam-powered machinery. It inhabits an alternative history, often set in the Victorian era or the Wild West, where steam power maintains its dominance.

Steampunk envisions anachronistic technologies, inventions that people of the 1800s might have dreamt, entwined with the era’s fashion, culture, architecture, and art. It introduces fictional contraptions reminiscent of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne’s works.

Steampunk can blend with fantasy, horror, or alternate history, addressing both speculative and real-world issues. The term itself surfaced in 1987, referring to a vast array of literature, from the 1950s onward.

Japanese steampunk, found in manga and anime, has grown in popularity, while the aesthetic influence extends to fashion, art, and subcultures. Individual artisans rework contemporary items into a pseudo-Victorian mechanical “steampunk” style, and various visual and musical artists embody the steampunk spirit.