I just learned a new term – Steampunk. Steampunk describes a genre of literature or design based on a Victorian-esque society where steam is still the major power source, but with technologies like computers, time machines, ray guns, etc. that didn’t actually exist in the late 1800 – early 1900s. Jules Verne has retroactively become one of the first steampunk authors, but since he lived in that time period I’d say what he was writing at the time was purely sci-fi. If he was to write it now in modern times, but base his stories in that time, THEN it would be steampunk.
The really cool thing about steampunk though is it’s inspiring some really cool design work. Boingboing.net had several entries recently on computers that have been retrofitted with classic looking framework, keyboards, etc. to look steampunk.
Check it out:
http://steampunkworkshop.com/index.shtml and http://www.boingboing.net/2006/10/12/beautiful_steampunk_.html and http://www.boingboing.net/2006/11/08/steampunk_casemod_wi.html
I was amazed at those projects as the modded, keyboard, computer case and laptop are all functional, but then there’s steampunk art just for the sake of art, and these ray guns are definitely fun to look at.