Cyberpunk vs Steampunk: Difference and Comparison

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

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

Key Takeaways

  1. Cyberpunk explores futuristic dystopian societies with advanced technology; steampunk imagines alternate history with steam-powered technology.
  2. Cyberpunk settings focus on the negative consequences of technology; steampunk highlights human ingenuity and invention.
  3. Cyberpunk aesthetics draw from film noir and dark urban landscapes; steampunk design incorporates Victorian-era fashion and brass machinery.

Cyberpunk vs Steampunk

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

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Comparison Table

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 Victorian-era aesthetics along with 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 anachronistic technology along with a technological twist.
InspirationThe New Wave Science Fiction Movement of the eras of the 1960s and 1970s highly inspires it.It was inspired by the romances of H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Mary Shelley in the 19th century.
TechnologyIt focuses mainly on high-tech features, advanced technology, and scientific achievements.It is a mix of technology and aesthetics inspired by 19th-century steam-powered machinery.
FashionIt is a form of street fashion with a powdery look.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 technology and science in an urban future. It includes the use of computers and robots and shows a dystopian society dominated by technology.

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The present, the past, and the future are inseparable from each other and are controlled by computer technology. It includes high-level technologies such as cybernetics and Artificial Intelligence.

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

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

The birth of cyberpunk resulted from 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.

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What is Steampunk

Steampunk is a sub-genre based upon the technological innovations of an alternative world highly inspired by 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 to give the term Steampunk in 1987.

Steampunk combines the technology and aesthetics inspired by 19th-century steam-powered machinery. The technology displays airships, steam-powered cars, analog computers, etc.

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

Steampunk fashion is based on the Victorian style, mainly consisting of corsets, purses, hats, and waistcoats.

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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 science fiction genre featuring technology and science in an urban and dystopian future. In contrast, Steampunk is a sub-genre that combines Victorian-era aesthetics with science fiction imagination.
  2. Cyberpunk is a futuristic world in which advancements in computer technology solely control society. In contrast, Steampunk is based on technological innovations from an alternative world inspired by Victorian-era technology.
  3. Cyberpunk took inspiration from the New Wave Science Fiction Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. On the other hand, Steampunk took inspiration from the 19th-century romances of H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Mary Shelley.
  4. The fashion of Cyberpunk is based on an urban street with a futuristic makeover, whereas the fashion of Steampunk is based on the Victorian style aesthetic.
  5. Cyberpunk fashion includes dark colors and items such as trench coats, jeans, and goggles. On the other hand, Steampunk fashion includes clothing that mainly includes corsets, purses, hats, parasols, etc.
  6. Cyberpunk focuses on high-tech features, advanced technology, and scientific achievements such as cybernetics and Artificial Intelligence. On the other hand, Steampunk technology consists of airships and steam-powered cars.
Difference Between Cyberpunk and Steampunk
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

Last Updated : 15 October, 2023

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25 thoughts on “Cyberpunk vs Steampunk: Difference and Comparison”

    • The fashion aspect of both genres is indeed intriguing, and this article has effectively captured the essence of it.

      Reply
    • The treatment of technological aspects has been meticulous, and the article has effectively unraveled the complexities of Cyberpunk.

      Reply
    • I’m impressed with the depth of insight provided into the technological themes of Cyberpunk. This article is a worthwhile read.

      Reply
  1. I found the historical context and inspirational sources of both genres to be riveting. The article is a treasure trove of knowledge.

    Reply
  2. This article has successfully captured the essence of Cyberpunk and Steampunk, providing a comprehensive understanding of both genres.

    Reply
    • I concur. The article delves deep into the realms of Cyberpunk and Steampunk, rendering a compelling narrative.

      Reply
  3. The historical background of Steampunk and its relation to Victorian-style aesthetics are elucidated with precision in this article.

    Reply

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