Verniana — Jules Verne Studies / Etudes Jules Verne — Volume 2 (2009–2010) — 81–88

Verne Among the Punks, Or “It’s Not All Just a Victorian Clockwork”

Howard V. Hendrix


Much of the critical discussion of the steampunk school in English-language science fiction and science fantasy rightly focuses on several Victorian roots of steampunk, but this focus should not eclipse the importance of Jules Verne to the development of steampunk. Given Verne’s broad and deep infiltration of Anglophone popular culture, I argue that the memes and motifs of the Verne corpus are at least as essential to the development of both steampunk and the extraordinary voyage as anything originating in nineteenth or early twentieth century English or American sources. Through this tracing of memes and motifs, I move beyond simply describing writers of Jules Verne pastiche who also happen to belong to the steampunk school – to defining, in a concrete way, what has long been presumed to be the “amorphous” influence of Verne on steampunk.

Note to the readers (from the Editors): the concept of “steampunk” is well defined at

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