Difference between Cyberpunk and Steampunk

Key Difference: Both Cyberpunk and Steampunk are sub-genres within the genre of science fiction. Cyberpunk focuses on advanced technology and science, often highlighting computers and robots. Steampunk is set in a 19th-century industrial era with steam-powered machinery.

Both Cyberpunk and Steampunk are sub-genres within the genre of science fiction. What’s more is that both are related to technology and technological advances. Both have also inspired a varity of literature, movies, shows, amine, manga, video games, as well as music, fashion, art and design, and so much more. However, the two genres are quite different from each other, so much so that mistaking them in front of a fan can lead to making enemies.

Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction that is set in a future setting. It focuses on advanced technology and science, often highlighting computers and robots, but not always. It also often showcases a dystopian society, one that has been decimated by war or technology, sometimes both. The social order in this dystopia is often broken down, or non-existent.

The major theme in Cyberpunk is the advancement of technology and its impact on human nature. It also often question free will vs. destiny, as well as reality vs. freedom. The story will often feature an anti-hero who is part of the system but must end up taking the law in their hands and solving crime, or fighting the system because it has wrong him or others and trying to find justice in an unjust world.

Steampunk is similar, except it is set in a 19th-century industrial era with steam-powered machinery. The focus within Steampunk is on aesthetics as inspired by steam machinery of the Victorian Era. At times it may also take place in the American Wild West, or in an alternate reality itself that is inspired by the 19th-century industrial era.

The world of Steampunk is often anarchist, with every man for himself. The importance here is on “what the past would look like if the future had happened sooner,” i.e. in the 19th century. The world may also be post apocalyptic where the society has re-developed and steam is the primary source of power. It may also be in an alternative fantasy world which employs steam power.

Comparison between Cyberpunk and Steampunk:

 

Cyberpunk

Steampunk

Definition (Oxford Dictionaries)

A genre of science fiction set in a lawless subculture of an oppressive society dominated by computer technology.

A genre of science fiction that has a historical setting and typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology

Sub Genre of

Science Fiction

Science Fiction

Revolves around

Technological innovations that spring from our modern age of the Internet

Technological innovations from an alternate version of Victorian-era technology.

Themes

Strong sense of helplessness, misery, dystopic ideals and loss of morality and/or humanity. Duality of nature of freedom and reality.

"What the past would look like if the future had happened sooner." Anachronism and quasi-anachronism.

Examples

The Matrix

Blade Runner

Akira

Gunnm

Ghost in the Shell

The Terminator

Robocop

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

The Time Machine

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Steamboy

The Wild Wild West

Image Courtesy: writersanontaunton.wordpress.com, digital-art-gallery.com

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