Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

If we keep getting atomic punk questions maybe it should be added to the title banner at the top? those three punks  do have a lot in common and it is good to bring in more visitors by expanding the website a little bit. Just an idea.

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Don't forget Beatnik culture of the late 40's and 50's which fused freeform Jazz, poetry, art, and counterculture in new ways.  The Beat Generation can claim Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsburg, and William S. Burroughs among its cultural icons and is the major countercultural bridge between the Jazz Age counterculture and the "Mod", "Hippie" and "Biker" cultures fo the 60s/70s.

Matthew Seibel said:

Tiki culture began in the mid '30s with "Don the Beachcomber" but really blew up in the post war era. So it'd fit in DP as well as Atompunk genre.

In the late 50s to late 60s you had Mod (Modernist) subculture in the UK (Europe ?) & Greaser/Hot Rod/Early Biker  subcultures that feed the "punk" element to the era.But for genre fiction or entertainment ... outside music , James Bond n' such I don't know of much. I don't know much of the era but abit on Mod culture as I used to be a Skinhead & they are drawn from Mod & Jamaican Rude Boy subcultures in 69.

Raygun Gothic can be applied to dieselpunk and steampunk, as well. It's more of a "look" that has roots in all three. For that matter, there's a fair bit of crossover between steampunk and dieselpunk at one end of the diesel time period and dieselpunk and atomicpunk at the other end (late 40s-early-50s/Cold War era). I say go for it.

Very interesting links JerryRough & Dr.Zarkov.I'll definately want to check out the MassPanicAtomicpunk blog more soon.


Jerrey: That's one of the problems I often have with the "punks", that people keep referring to it as an aesthetic. It is not an aesthetic but a genre. Though since you state it as fact, I guess you have something to back it up with?

The Chef: I can agree with that.

Atterton: my argument stems from an argument that a professor I sorta-know (@SteamScholar on Twitter) made on Steampunk being called an aesthetic rather than a genre. He said that Steampunk is an expression of combined features, which constitutes an aesthetic. An aesthetic invokes a certain feeling, and as he said "What gets repeated is a look, a feel, an evocation of a nineteenth century that never happened". As a genre, there isn't enough consistent narrative tropes to contain itself within this genre.

Logically, this can be applied to the other 'punks which all invoke a certain set of feelings. This argument is also supported by the definitions of genres and aesthetics: after all, you can find Horror and Comedy genres in a Steampunk aesthetic. As for Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Alt-History/etc being genres, this is because 'punks can appear in all of them.

EDIT: Dr. Zarkov: Oooo interesting. Thanks!

Fallout games are pretty atompunk, and the genre itself does lend a lot to the dieselpunk aesthetic

JerryRough: I think the word genre is perhaps too encompassing. I would describe what you might call "retro-futurism" as a subgenre, like alternate history or film noir. The punks is then just a word for setting the sub-genre in different eras, much as you can do with historical fiction. That the aesthetics look different is just a side effect of that. Same as how a Sherlock Holmes movie would look different to a Hercule Poirot movie, despite them both being detective fiction.

Hi. I'm new to the site, and have been enjoying getting acquainted with everything.

What's now deemed Atomic, Diesel, and even Steampunk is somewhat nostalgic to me, as I am a middle aged lady, who was born exactly in the middle of the 1950's. My grandparents grew up in the era of the steam engine, and my parents then grew up in the combustion, gasoline/diesel era. I was born, really, at a point where the diesel, the atomic, and the space age all began to converge. Indeed, I think most realize they they all have kind of "morphed" from one to another-even sometimes blending indefinitely. Perhaps atomic power might have to be considered like gunpowder-which has certainly spanned centuries in its use and has been used in advanced ways, yet is still used often for its original purpose. Though there are other technologies-like lasers-so far none of them have eclipsed atomic/nuclear power. The US and what is now Russia might be scaling back their nuclear arsenals, but more and more countries still seek to develop it, and basically for the same reason as the first ones-and that is so they will be considered a "threat" so certain other parties they wish to intimidate will leave them alone, or face at least partial nuclear devastation.So, as long as there is someone in our world that has their finger on some sort of button designed to unleash atomic power on someone, somewhere, we will remain in some sort of atomic age.

For the purposes of a definition of atomic punk, I think that perhaps a good cut off date might be in the eighties when the US and what was then The U. S. S. R. agreed to start to destroy some of their stockpiles of missiles. I believe that would cover the first phase of the atomic age.

As for the site, I understand that no one wants the focus of the site to become obscured, and I wouldn't like to see the title changed. Perhaps just kind of a "mission" statement on the front page where it states that the site is for Dieselpunk and all its affiliates-or, it that's too broad, then name some possible affiliates that are known to be of interest to, or have the potential to be of interest to Dieselpunk aficionados.

To me the end of Atomic Punk was earlier: 1974, when the last Apollo landed on the moon. In the same time the peace movement became stronger. The final death was in 1979, after the incident in Harrisburg, Three Miles Island, when people lost faith in the safe zivil use of atomic power. In 1986, after the Challenger disaster, the Chernobyl catastrophy and the end of the cold war, which started in that time, it was finaly over.

In the same time home computers became very populair, and the age of Cyberpunk started. :)

Those are some interesting thoughts, Gadget Girl and Dr. Zarkov. Since only a few have really explored Atomicpunk and it hasn't yet really taken off as a genre unto itself I would say that there's no group consensus or source to point towards. Therefore, your thoughts are perfectly valid.

Here are my two cents on the end of the Atomicpunk:

I personally use two criteria for identifying the time period of source material for any anachronistic genre punk. First, the suffix is a metaphor for a set of cultural elements and second, for me, both Dieselpunk and Steampunk are by nature counter-cultural and therefore the result must allow for such.

Therefore, with those criteria in mind I personally draw the line of the end of Atomicpunk at circa 1963 with the assignation of JFK. If we look at 1964 we find several landmark events for the end of the 1950s style culture (which seems to be largely associated with Atomicpunk) and the beginnings of the Hippie movement, which had its own iconic elements and of course it was very counter-cultural.

I suspect that Atomicpunk marks the end of any possible anachronistic genre punk. The Punk subculture followed the Hippie movement and that was followed by Cyberpunk. Cyberpunk cannot be counter-cultural because as someone pointed out to me Cyberpunk is our culture that we live in right now. I would say that since the HIppies (now called Rainbow Family) along with Punks are still living counter-cultures and that we live in a Cyberpunk culture then, at least for now, Atomicpunk would be the end of anachronistic genre punks source material going forward.

So for me, 1963 is the conclusion of Atomicpunk.

Here's a few examples that I yanked from Wiki concerning 1964 that I would use as examples of how it set itself apart from source material for Atomicpunk as its own:

January: The Holy Modal Rounders' version of "Hesitation Blues" marks the first reference to the term psychedelic in music.

May: Appearance of the Faire Free Press (later the Los Angeles Free Press), earliest of many "underground" U.S. newspapers of the counterculture era.

May 12: The first public draft-card burning is reported in New York City.

June 14: Ken Kesey and the drug-drenched Merry Pranksters depart California in the repurposed school bus “Further” en route to the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens, NY.

October 1: The Free Speech Movement begins with a student sit-in at the University of California-Berkeley.

December 2: In a famous speech during a sit-in, Berkeley student Mario Savio tells supporters of the Free Speech Movement to "put your bodies upon the gears"

As no one has spearheaded "atomicpunk" or "atompunk" yet, or differentiated it as a standalone genre (it's oftentimes overshadowed by Rockabilly), it's hard to say the Dieselpunks website can cover it.  This is why the tagline for our site is "Dieselpunk and Steampunk culture" and not "20th Century Nostalgia."

Don't forget, even though we showcase a lot of historical articles, the things we cover are not always to be taken as "dieselpunk" per se.  It's not dieselpunk unless the artist's intention was to use the style of the diesel era to create something new and contemporary.

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