Imagining a Better Future by Re-imagining the Past

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dieselpunk for Beginners

On the Dieselpunks Forum that I participate on, another member once asked me if I had any pointers for someone just getting into the genre. Since then I've attended a variety of events and have had quite a few opportunities to talk about Dieselpunk so I thought that this might be a good time to post a modified version of my reply back on the forum.

First, it's important to understand the first half of the name, "Diesel," and what it means. As stated on this blog, Dieselpunk includes, "the aesthetics of the 1920s through the early 1950s." This statement is what "Diesel" means in Dieselpunk and it’s the lifeblood of the genre. Anyone interested in the genre should learn as much as possible about that era.

Second, Dieselpunk is contemporary. Again, as stated on this blog, the goal of Dieselpunks "to create something unexpected and new by merging the zeitgeist of the past with today's technology and attitude." The diesel era provides the inspiration for the creation of something new and original. While we love Glenn Miller, Dashiell Hammett, Humphrey Bogart, and others of the diesel era Dieselpunk is the creation of something new. One can learn about these new creations by following not only my blog but also other sources, such as Dieselpunks Forum. I list quite a few links on the side frame of my blog as a resource.

Finally, there’s the second part of the name: Punk. There’s been much discussion in the Dieselpunk community about the use of the word but essentially, in my opinion, there are two elements. One, it’s what allows for alternative history, horror, science fiction and more. Two, the Punk in Dieselpunk also makes it very postmodern in that what's Dieselpunk to me may not be Dieselpunk to you but both interpretations are equally valid. Hence, we have the different types, flavors, sub-classes and so forth. This means that anyone who wants to consider him or herself as a Dieselpunk needs to make it his or her own and not worry what others think.

These are the basics of Dieselpunk. Does it sound like fun? If you think so and you haven't joined in then what are you waiting for?


Tiyana said...

Howdy (again)! Just wanted to say that I think it's great that you often approach dieselpunk from a historical perspective here. I come from the perspective of an aspiring fantasy writer, so I feel there's a lot to be inspired by here when it comes to dieselpunk. :)

Like with steampunk, I think it's easy to get caught up in the aesthetic appeal of these subgenres without fully understanding where they came from. For writers there is a stigma to creating faux-medieval and -Victorian worlds in the fantasy genre when trying to generate something “new” yet still respecting the source of inspiration.

Anyways, I'm always surprised how much there is out there to learn about the diesel era; seems I can’t learn fast enough!

Larry Amyett, Jr said...

Excellent points, Tiyana. In my opinion, history rests at the center of all of the various anachronistic genre-punks and a knowledge of it is important.

I very much appreciate your comments. Thanks!