The genres of science fiction, cyberpunk and steampunk, both explore the impact of technology on society. However, these genres differ in key aspects that set them apart. So when it comes to cyberpunk vs steampunk what distinguishes each of them, and how are they different? Read more for an electrifying explanation.
What is Steampunk?
Steampunk, coined in 1987 by author K. W. Jeter, describes fiction that draws upon the Victorian-era industrial steam-powered machinery. Steampunk stories usually unfold in an alternate history with technology advanced to 19th century levels. Emphasizing aesthetics, steampunk works blend technological and aesthetic features from the past and present. Elements of fantasy, magic, and horror may also be present in these settings. For a list of our favorite, best Steampunk books head here.
What is Cyberpunk?
Cyberpunk (as opposed to steampunk) was created by author Bruce Bethke in 1983, and popularized by William Gibson of Neuromancer fame. It explores the use of advanced computer systems and robotics in dystopian societies. These stories usually take place in a near future setting, focusing on the breakdown of social order and an increased reliance on cybernetics. Themes such as artificial intelligence, hacking, and the dangers of technological advances are common in cyberpunk works. For a list of our best cyberpunk books head here.
Cyberpunk vs Steampunk
So, what’s the difference between steampunk vs cyberpunk? First, cyberpunk has a futuristic focus on technology while steampunk has a more optimistic outlook on technology’s impact. Cyberpunk stories also portray technology as oppressive or destructive, whereas steampunk stories tend to feature a mix of magical and technological elements in a utopian setting.
In conclusion, cyberpunk and steampunk are genres of science fiction that explore technology from different perspectives. Cyberpunk delves into advanced computer systems and robotics in dystopian societies, while steampunk features magical and technological elements and tends to be more utopian. By understanding these differences, readers can appreciate the unique stories within each genre. If you’re wanting a book that expertly blends the best of both, try this absolute gem.