Difference Between Cyberpunk and Steampunk (with Table)

Cyberpunk and Steampunk are the sub-genres of the world of science fiction. Both the genres have close relation with the technologies and the advances in technology.

Both the science fiction genres are poles apart in their meaning. Cyberpunk is a style set in the future inspired from the modern age of the Internet whereas Steampunk is based on the historical setting and highly focuses on the Victorian inspired look.

The difference between Cyberpunk and Steampunk is that Cyberpunk is a futuristic world where society is solely controlled by the computer. On the other hand, Steampunk is a sub-genre based on technology from an alternative world inspired by Victorian-era technology.

Comparison Table Between Cyberpunk and Steampunk

Parameters of ComparisonCyberpunkSteampunk
DefinitionCyberpunk is a mix of both a culture and a science fiction genre that shows technology and science in an urban future.Steampunk is a mix of the Victorian era aesthetics along with the science fiction imagination.
GenreIt is a sub-genre of science fiction set in a lawless sub-culture of a society dominated by the Internet and science.It focuses on the anachronistic technology along with a technological twist.
InspirationIt is highly inspired by the New Wave Science Fiction Movement of the eras of 1960s and 1970s.It is inspired from the romances of H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Mary Shelley in the 19th century.
TechnologyIt focuses mainly on the high tech features, advanced technology and the scientific achievements.It is a mix of technology and aesthetics which is inspired by the 19th century steam powered machinery.
FashionIt is all about urban the street fashion with a powdery look and futuristic makeover.It is a sub-genre of the Steampunk movement in science fiction and is based on the Victorian style aesthetic.

What is Cyberpunk

Cyberpunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that depicts the technology and science in an urban future. It includes the use of computers and robots and shows a dystopian society which is dominated by technology.

The present, the past and the future are inseparable from each other and are intertwined in a lawless oppressive society which is controlled by computer technology. It includes high level technologies such as cybernetics and Artificial Intelligence.

The cyberpunk fashion is an urban street fashion consisting of a gritty look and futuristic makeover. It features a dark base of colors along with items like the trench coats, jeans, and accessories such as goggles.

The cyberpunk is inspired by the New Wave Science Fiction Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. According to Michael Moorcock, this era rediscovered its visions in order to create more literary and experimental forms of fantasy and science fiction while rejecting the American pulp traditions.

The birth of cyberpunk is the result of the New Wave Science Fiction Movement in the 1980s. Examples of Cyberpunk are Blade Runner, The Matrix, Ghost in the Shell, Tron: Legacy, The Terminator, Total Recall, and many more.

cyberpunk

What is Steampunk

Steampunk is a sub-genre which is based upon the technological innovations of an alternative world highly inspired by the Victorian-era technology. It took inspiration from the romances of H.G. Wells, Jules Verne and Mary Shelley in the 19th century.

Steampunk inspires more from the romantic look in the technological advances in the Victorian era. Morlock Night’s author K.W. Jeter was the first one to give the term Steampunk in the year 1987.

Steampunk combines both the technology and aesthetics inspired from the 19th century steam powered machinery. The technology used often displays airships, steam powered cars, analog computers and many more.

The concept behind Steampunk is based on the idea that era of steam powered technology still continues. Steampunk is known to deal with the technology that is outdated.

The Steampunk fashion is based on the Victorian style aesthetic with clothing from the Victorian era like the corsets, purses, hats, parasols, bustle skirts, waistcoats, tail coats, bonnets, and Victorian hats trimmed with flowers, feathers, and ribbons.

Example of Steampunk is The Time Machine, Wild Wild West, Sherlock Holmes, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Hugo, and many more.

steampunk

Main Differences Between Cyberpunk and Steampunk

  1. Cyberpunk is a cultural and a science fiction genre featuring the technology and science in an urban and dystopian future whereas Steampunk is a sub-genre that combines the Victorian era aesthetics with the science fiction imagination.
  2. Cyberpunk is a futuristic world in which the society is solely controlled by the advancements in the computer technology whereas Steampunk is based on the technological innovations from an alternative world inspired by the Victorian era technology.
  3. Cyberpunk took the inspiration from the New Wave Science Fiction Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. On the other hand, Steampunk took the inspiration from 19th century romances of H.G. Wells, Jules Verne and Mary Shelley.
  4. The fashion of Cyberpunk is based on urban street fashion with a gritty look and futuristic makeover whereas the fashion of Steampunk is based on the Victorian style aesthetic.
  5. Cyberpunk fashion includes a dark base of colors with along with items such as trench coats, jeans, and accessories such as goggles. On the other hand, Steampunk fashion includes clothing from the era like the corsets, purses, hats, parasols, bustle skirts, waistcoats, tail coats, bonnets and Victorian hats trimmed with flowers, feathers and ribbons.
  6. Cyberpunk focuses on high-tech features, advanced technology and scientific achievements such as cybernetics and Artificial Intelligence. On the other hand, Steampunk technology shows airships, steam-powered cars, analog computers, etc.

Conclusion

Despite being the common terms in the world of science fiction, both Cyberpunk and Steampunk are different from each other in everything.

Cyberpunk is a fictional world that is set in a lawless subculture of a society controlled by the computer technology. On the other hand, Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that is inspired by the 19th century steam-powered machinery and includes the outdated technology and aesthetics.

Cyberpunk is set in a technological world that doesn’t even exist yet whereas Steampunk is based on the Victorian-era technology.

References

  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=Ol5lDQAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=cyberpunk+and+steampunk&ots=Z68UsjRF17&sig=ix8KiuK6vl-VptPqlUhs9RfvurE
  2. https://era.library.ualberta.ca/items/af46dcb5-93c2-4562-8328-fc8b06c35d36