Steampunk versus Decopunk

Differences in the Retro-Futurism genres of Steampunk and Decopunk

Lisa J Hogan

8/13/20232 min lesen

Steampunk Airship
Steampunk Airship

Decopunk vs. Steampunk: Unveiling Two Dazzling Retro-Futuristic Aesthetics

In the world of speculative fiction, creative minds often draw inspiration from the past to craft visions of the future. Two such captivating aesthetics that have gained popularity in recent years are Decopunk and Steampunk. Both subgenres are Retro-futuristic but have different themes, time periods, and characteristics. In this essay, we'll explore Decopunk and Steampunk and their differences.

Steampunk: The Mechanical Magic of the Victorian Era

Steampunk was coined in the late 1980s and is a vision of the future where steam power is the primary force behind technology and industry. Rooted in the Victorian era of the 19th century, Steampunk seamlessly melds the aesthetics of the past with speculative science fiction elements. It is a world where steam machines, clockwork gadgets, and mechanical contraptions shape the world.

Characteristics of Steampunk:

1. The Victorian era serves as the foundation for Steampunk aesthetics. Fashion, architecture, and societal norms from this time period heavily influence the setting.

2. One of the most iconic features of Steampunk is the intricate machinery filled with gears, cogs, and intricate details. Steam-powered machines are used to make imaginative devices that reinvent modern technology.

3. Steampunk narratives often feature daring adventures, airship expeditions, and exploration of uncharted territories.

4. Steampunk style uses warm, earthy colors like brass, copper, and leather, which creates a nostalgic atmosphere.

Decopunk: Glamour and Progress of the Art déco Era

Decopunk, a more recent addition to the retro-futuristic subgenre, draws inspiration from the Art déco movement of the early 20th century. It views a future where the elegance, opulence, and streamlined designs of Art déco blend with advanced technology.

Characteristics of Decopunk:

1. Decopunk appreciates the luxurious materials, geometric designs, and streamlined shapes of Art déco's aesthetics. This includes the use of chrome, glass, and highly polished surfaces.

2. Decopunk genre usually features cities with towering skyscrapers, illuminated signs, and advanced transportation systems.

3. Decopunk imagines more advanced technologies powered by electricity, neon lights, and radio waves. It seamlessly integrated these technologies into the elegant art déco designs.

Decopunk stories address social change, including gender roles, economic inequality, and technological advancements.

The Distinctive Divide

The contrast between Decopunk and Steampunk is their featured technology and historical era. Steampunk draws from the Victorian era with its steam-powered machinery. Decopunk embraces the elegance and progress of the Art déco movement, along with more advanced forms of technology. They delight our imagination by combining history, fantasy, and futuristic innovation in both subgenres.

No matter if it's Steampunk's mechanical wonders or Decopunk's glamorous extravagance, both retro-futuristic styles inspire us to rethink the past and imagine the future. Whether it's steam-powered airships or neon-lit Decopunk cities, subgenres like these present captivating worlds to discover.

Art Deco Building
Art Deco Building