"Personally, I think Victorian fantasies are going to be the next big thing, as long as we can come up with a fitting collective term for Powers, Blaylock and myself. Something based on the appropriate technology of the era; like "steampunks", perhaps..."
- -K.W. Jeter
The term Steampunk was first coined in 1987 by K. W. Jeter, the author of the novel Morlock Night. He used the term to describe a genre of speculative fiction in which steam, not electricity, drove technological advancements. Since then it has been used to describe an artistic and cultural movement. Authors such as Tim Powers, James Blaylock, William Gibson, and Bruce Sterling have created worlds inspired by the Victorian Era, giving rise to the modern conception of "steampunk". These authors were heavily influenced by nineteenth century writers H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, who are often considered the forefathers of steampunk.
The pen & paper role-playing game (RPG) Space: 1889 is widely recognized as the first true "steampunk" RPG since its introduction in 1988, dealing with Victorian era people discovering a means of interplanetary travel.
The term "steampunk" was not coined until 1987 and any works to that time are considered precursors to the genre.
In addition to H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, other 19th century speculative fiction authors such as Edward Ellis and Mary Shelly are considered precursors to steampunk.
Many consider Titus Alone by Mervyn Peake, published in 1959, to be the first full steampunk novel (despite the term, "steampunk" not being coined yet).
- Sheidlower, Jesse (March 9, 2005) Science Fiction Citations
- Campbell, Jean (2009) Steampunk Style Jewelry, pg. 26