Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

So since I plan to run a Dieselpunk community I've been quite busy trying to get a handle on what it means exactly to be a Dieselpunk.  Now before you respond, keep reading.  Yes I saw the other two threads that discuss this, but I'm taking it a different direction.

What is Dieselpunk that Pulp Noir is not?

One can easily see that "Sin City" both the comic and the movie, is Pulp Noir.  But is it also Dieselpunk?  One of my friends said no it wasn't, I asked why.  He said it was lacking fantastical elements like sentient robots or mad scientists.  I countered with Dick Tracy, other than the two-way radio watch it's not much different than Sin City.  So is the two-way radio watch the only thing that would make Dick Tracy Dieselpunk?   What about before Dieselpunk was coined?  It was pulp, it was one of the influences for noir.  So it's probably Pulp Noir.

What about Sky Captain?  Beyond a doubt an icon of Dieselpunk.  And yet,  It's film noir.  It's a pulp style hero, it's Pulp Noir.  

SF Weekly journalist Matt Smith used the term Pulp Noir to describe the act of "Sprinting to the crime scene, skidding on your heels, and yelling at everyone and nobody in particular: 'Who's in charge here?'"  To me, that attitude is right at home in Dieselpunk.

Another Observation, most of my friends who identify as being dieselpunk dislike the term and feel it's forced, or gives too much credit to steampunk or cyberpunk.

Ever see Reign of Death?  (movie poster here: http://www.bleedingcool.com/2009/09/06/reign-of-death-the-noel-clar... )  Admittedly, I have not seen it, but see that robot back there?  This is being described as Pulp Noir.

So I present the question.  Aren't we really just fans of Pulp Noir?  How is it different than Dieselpunk?

Views: 715

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I think the confusion comes through definition. A synonym is a word that shares the same definition as another.

In this case, the definition of dieselpunk and the definition of pulp noir certainly overlaps at points, but they're not exactly the same. Pulp Noir is a square and Dieselpunk is a rectangle.
I have no problem saying that Pulp Noir is one of several literary forms that can be classified as being in the genre of dieselpunk. Dieselpunk can include so much more (such as music, art, cinema, fashion, etc).

Overall I think we all here are closer in agreement than many may think.

One other point. I think these discussions are important. Dieselpunk is so young that, imho, I consider all of us here to be pioneers of a new genre. I wouldn't be surprised if people look back on our forum and other related pages in the same way as when we think of the pioneers of steampunk we think of Moorcock or Gibson and Sterling. Make's ya feel kind of special doesn't it? :)
If I ever earn a place with those names, it'll be through what I've accomplished, not from a debate on a forum :)

Ok so my own points aside, a point of curiosity:

What would you say to those I meet in Second Life who feel uncomfortable using the "Dieselpunk" Phrase as they feel like they are just "ripping off steampunk" or "just another ----punk" statements that seem to creep up. How should one deal with those who think these things?
What would you say to those I meet in Second Life who feel uncomfortable using the "Dieselpunk."

If you can't defend what you like, then what can you defend?

We're comfortable with the term dieselpunk, because it's a solid concept that we understand and can express intelligently. If the people in Second Life don't think the term "dieselpunk" matches what they like, then they're free to call it whatever they wish.

I look at it this way.

Producers, by their nature, will always define the terms of their craft more than consumers. If Second Life happens to produce an artistic genre nearly identical to what we call dieselpunk, then we all win.

I know who I am, what I like, and what I produce. That being said, I enjoy most art that falls under the definition of dieselpunk. It’s just what I dig. So, if someone produced dieselpunk artwork and started calling it "Sci-Pulp," then I would probably be a fan of "Sci-Pulp" art as well.
I can defend it, I just wanted to understand where everyone was coming from. Piechur, I see what ya did there :)
I didn't mean to imply that, in any fashion, these discussions equal their work in literary quality. What I meant was that what we identify as steampunk largely owes itself to their masterful works. Yet, dieselpunk appears to be developing differently. It's developing, not from specific literary works, but from a community of like minded individuals through debate and discussion. Which, imho, reinforces the postmodernist aspect of it.

I agree with you that most of our individual names on this forum will be lost to history. But I think the ideas we formulate here will live on. Though, in my opinion, our very own Tome as well as Ottens of The Gatehouse, not to mention Piecraft, are quite high and it wouldn't surprise me if their names are remembered. Of course, if I can finally get my novel completed and published.... :)
What we do here is written on light.

One bad glitch and it's all gone.

Never forget that.
That's an excellent point. Steampunk is lucky to have material like Steampunk Magazine. It's a shame we couldn't do the same.
Who says we couldn't?

My view on magazines is that they're more trouble than they're worth. Thanks to the internet, they're usually outdated before they hit the stands.

My point being, we can do anything we want. All it takes is the idea to start it, the will to work it, and the discipline to finish it.
and I thought it was cool?
I agree about the trouble on making a mag. It's tempting to do so with modern print on demand. But my plate is soooo full. I write two blogs, hold down a full job, my wife and I are a sandwich family with one kid in college and a widowed father who both need help, I'm trying to write a novel, I have all kinds of health problems, and I try to have some kind of social life.

I do my part for the cause with my dieselpunk blog, which I try to promote and to spread the word. I wish I could do more.
I'm not saying that you don't give all that you can. We're all a little thin these days.

But that's why we're here too.

It's a nice place to relax and find support from other people that know how to relax the same way you do. Hopefully, we'll inspire you when times are on the upswing. When that happens, let nothing stand in your way.

Reply to Discussion


Stay in touch


Allied Powers

Diesel powered dieselpunk podcast
Dieselpunk Industries
Seance Media by Tome Wilson
Vnv Nation

© 2020   Created by Tome Wilson.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service