Where Did Steampunk Come From?

In my explorations of the various art walks that occur around Seattle, I came across an interesting series of paintings by local oil painter Chris Sheridan that are currently hanging in the lobby of City Hostel Seattle. Some of the paintings combine one aspect of life the artist thought would have been in our lives by now, and one thing that is in our lives that he never saw coming.

Those two things? Aliens and Steampunk.

For many people, Steampunk seems to have appeared from no where, a random aesthetic that has very little past or history to account for its eccentricities. And while Steampunks love to point to Julies Verne and H.G. Wells as the founders of Steampunk before there was such a term, many of the archetypal elements of Steampunk fiction was found in many novels and short stories throughout the years.

Where Did Steampunk Come From? is an article by Jess Nevins that explores the appearance of Steampunk’s literary tropes. It’s an interesting in article because there’s likely to be no complete consensus if all of these works could be considered Steampunk by everyone in the community, but each features elements of the larger Steampunk genre in every title listed.

For more reading recommendations, check out this list of 25 recommended Steampunk novels, and to learn more about the history of Steampunk in a larger, cultural perspective, see A History of Steampunk and the The Great Steampunk Timeline.