The most obvious difference between steampunk and other science fiction is the gadgetry. In most sci-fi, the technology looks something like this:
You know–everything’s made of metal and has that shiny, sleek, designed-by-Apple look. But flying cars and silver spaceships can only get you so far when you’re trying to create a unique aesthetic for your universe. That’s where steampunk comes in. Nothing is sleek and shiny in steampunk. Everything is rusty bronze and made of gears, and as a general rule, everything looks more practical and used than it does in normal sci-fi. And, of course, everything is powered by steam. I think the effect, when not overdone, can be quite beautiful.
Here are some of the coolest steampunk gadgets I’ve found on the interwebs. Enjoy!
Motorbike (I think motorcycles are terrible ways to die, and yet I want this so bad.)
Watch (maybe not the easiest thing to tell time with, but it’s so pretty!)
Oh, and it gets really fun when real-life gadgets get steampunked:
USB Drive (can’t you tell?)
Or things from other fandoms…
Man, steampunk is beautiful. 🙂