Everybody loves steampunk. Without reading the Wikipedia page, the main idea of steampunk is a world (usually 19th century or thereabouts) where steam power is used universally, and computers as we know them have not yet been developed, but many of the things that we take for granted (cars, airtravel, sometimes even steam-powered computers) are still there, but are powered by steam instead of whatever we use today.
The way I look at it, our world could have been steampunk if the problems we needed (or wanted) solved would not have been solved by the combustion engine and the computer.
What would need to happen to the history of science to produce a 21st century steampunk world?
- What specific scientific discoveries (if any) would need to be skipped1 in order to have steam remain mainstream? What inventions would need to disappear so that computers would have not taken over the world?
- What would need to happen to the history of science and invention to allow a full-blown steampunk world, today?
1 Possible story point -- "suppressed" instead of "skipped," allowing for a computer underground in a steampunk world. .....maybe.