Pathfinder: The Steampunk Movement

A UnLibrarian Resource

Courtney Lerner
LIBR 210 Reference Services
Spring 2009, Professor Midyette
Master of Library & Information Studies 
San Jose State University, California

Monday, May 11, 2009

Introduction to Steampunk

What is Steampunk?

Steampunk is a sub-genre of fantasy and speculative fiction that came into prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. The term denotes works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century, and oftenVictorian era England—but with prominent elements of either science fiction orfantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found in the works ofH. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or real technological developments like the computer occurring at an earlier date. Other examples of steampunk contain alternate history-style presentations of "the path not taken" of such technology as dirigiblesanalog computers, or digital mechanical computers (such as Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine); these frequently are presented in an idealized light, or with a presumption of functionality.

Steampunk is often associated with cyberpunk and shares a similar fanbase and theme of rebellion, but developed as a separate movement (though both have considerable influence on each other). Apart from time period and level of technological development, the main difference between cyberpunk and steampunk is that steampunk settings usually tend to be less obviously dystopian than cyberpunk, or lack dystopian elements entirely.

Various modern utilitarian objects have been modded by individual artisans into a pseudo-Victorian mechanical "steampunk" style, and a number of visual and musical artists have been described as steampunk. ~Wikipedia Definition of Steampunk

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Steampunk in the Flesh: Night Clubs, Eateries, & other Real World Settings

Steampunk Incarnation: 
Night Clubs, Eateries, & 
other Real 


Los Angeles:
  • The Edison The Edison is a world class lounge that retains architecturaland mechanical artifacts; an homage to its history as the first private power plant in Downtown

San Diego:

"Ladies, Gentlemen, Harlots, and Scoundrels,

The Machina Fatalis Steampunk Social Club presents an evening’s entertainment unlike any the fair city of San Diego has seen. Chrononaut: a night for temporal adventurers.
Your host, Prof. J. S. Greyshade, selects sounds from eclectic destinations throughout the space-time continuum such as steampunk, darkwave, and alternative folk.
There shall also be visions of monochromatic beauty from the amazing cinematagraph and a variety of special guests and entertainments.
Steampunk, neo-Victorian, dark cabaret and anachronistic dress is most warmly welcomed."



  • The Verne 
60 Vaci utca, Budapest, 1052

Phone: + 36 1 318 6274
Fax: + 36 20 912 6570
Nearest Station: Ferenciek tere
Neighbourhood: District VII

Steampunk in Film

You’ve Been A Steampunk Movie Fan Forever, Whether You Knew It Or Not

As steampunk band Abney Park’s lead singer Robert Park put it: “We’ve had steampunk movies for just as long as we’ve had movies…it’s just recently been given a name.”

 City of the Lost Children

The Fabulous World of Jules Verne

Time After Time

The City of Lost Children
Castle in the Sky Anime
Wild Wild West
Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Metropolis (anime) Anime


Time Machine

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Howl's Moving Castle Anime
Steamboy Anime
Van Helsing
The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello

The Presitge
The Golden Compass
Wormwooth Nantion

Friday, April 24, 2009

Periodicals & Journals

Steampunk Magazines & Periodicals:

Steampunk Magazine: We produce a printed magazine, believing as we do in the beauty of the physical world [this is steampunk, not cyberpunk!], but owing to our belief in gift-economics we offer it for download from the computerverse as well, free of charge. (This site also has an archive online.)

An Article in the LA Weekly: 

By Liz Ohanesian in FilmTelevision
Friday, Mar. 13 2009 @ 10:00AM