"What is steampunk?" Going beyond the standard default definitions of "Victorian science fiction " "yesterday's tomorrow today " or some other equally vague or limited description, Steampunk FAQ provides a historical exploration of its literary and cinematic origins. The journey begins with a look at steampunk's genesis in the novels and short stories of three Californians who hung out a lot with Philip K. Dick, before moving on to the inspirations and antecedents of steampunk. Contrary to what many articles and books say, steampunk's direct inspiration is arguably far more cinematic than literary, a likely reaction to the many film adaptations, pastiches, and knockoffs of the scientific romances of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells. While Verne, Wells, and a host of other Victorian and Edwardian writers have influenced steampunk fiction, cinematic elements from films such as Disney's 20 000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954) and George Pal's Time Machine (1960) show up more often as immediate influences on the style we call steampunk. In offering a celebration of steampunk's style and cultural aesthetic, Steampunk FAQ also explores its connection to cyberpunk, the world of fashion, comics, and culture around the world.