Imagining a Better Future by Re-imagining the Past

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Dieselpunk Lexicon Part 8: Diesel Era

In genre-punk (which Dieselpunk is a branch of) the prefix distinguishes one branch from another. For example, the 'cyber' prefix in Cyberpunk is a reference to the computer or web based technology. Whereas Steampunk, arguably the widely known of the anachronistic genre-punk branches, the 'steam' prefix is a euphemism for the culture, history, aesthetics and tropes that appeared around the beginning of the Victorian Era in 1831 through the La Belle Epoque, which ended at the start of World War 1 when steam technology was king.

Continuing then with the standard set by Steampunk, the prefix of 'diesel' in Dieselpunk is a euphemism for the culture, history, aesthetics and tropes of the time after the end of the Steam Era when internal combustion replace steam tech as the dominant technology. This post-Steam time period is often referred to in the Dieselpunk community as the 'Diesel Era' (Not to be confused with the respective eras in the locomotive tech.)

I don’t believe that there’s a hard line dividing the Steam Era and the Diesel Era. I believe that the Steam Era died a slow death in the blood and filth of the Great War. Then, like the mythological Phoenix, the Diesel Era arose from that same firestorm that consumed the Steam Era.

World War 1 Dieselpunk
The world was very different when the dust settled at the end of World War 1. The war saw the end of the great empires of Continental Europe as well as the Ottoman Empire of the Middle East. It also saw the exit of Russia from the international scene and the entrance of the US. After the war the US filled the vacuum left by the rubble of the European cities and economies being that the American infrastructure was untouched by the conflict. This moved the locus of world economic power, and hence world culture, from Europe to America.

When did the Diesel Era end? There’s no consensus among Dieselpunks on this. Some place the end in the atomic fires of Hiroshima. Others place it at the launch of Sputnik. I place the end of the Diesel Era as dying a slow death during the Korean War, which began in 1950 and ended in 1954. The Diesel Era had died completely, in my opinion, by the end of the war.

World War 2 or Possibly Korean War Dieselpunk

No comments: