Steampunk, for anyone unfamiliar with the genre, is essentially cyberpunk that takes place in the past and utilizes technology available at the time but not used to its potential—what an article at wired. com refers to as retro-futuristic. As the name indicates, the technological inventions use steam-power.** The punkish attitudes of the protaganists towards authority are evident in Steampunk while the stories are set in less-extreme dystopian societies (—though a trend has developed to set Steampunk in utopias).
Some well known examples of Steampunk: H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, Jules Verne’s 20000 Leagues Under the Sea, William Gibson and Bruce Sterling’s The Difference Machine, Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and the Will Smith movie, The Wild Wild West (previously a tv series).
The whole premise of steampunk is fascinating—and certainly worth more research and consideration for a new novel or series.* The Junkbots of Stéphane Halleux
The work of Belgian sculptor Stéphane Halleux gets described as “Tim Burton meets Jules Verne.” Halleux uses lots of found objects and pieces of junk to create exquisitely detailed, surrealist mashups of organics and machinery that are simultaneously humorous, dark and filled with fairy-tale charm.
**Although many people include inventions using clock mechanism within the SteamPunk subgenre, purists set it apart as ClockPunk.