Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

Fantastic Diesel! Pushing Dieselpunk to Implausible Extremes for Fun & Profit...

Recent discussions here have highlighted a perceived "plausibility gap" between Steampunk's fantastical focus and Dieselpunk's lean towards gritty realism. This is only in part true, since DP has more than its share of the fantastical with Gernsbeckian inventions made real or Diesel-themed SciFi (streamlined hovertrains and giant flying wings).

Much of Diesel-Era SciFi and Futurism has since proven as ludicrous as a Phogiston-powered steam mecha, or been wholly disproven by science (sorry, Edgar; no naked space princesses on Mars, just rocks). Much of this has been present in Dieselpunk art and literature, with Nazi Superscience, diesel-powered mecha, hover-Fords, streamline moderne robots, etc. Dean Motter's comics (Mister X, Electropolis, Radiant City) featured the World of Tomorrow as seen in 1936, with robot detectives, hover-sedans, and airhips docking at skyscapers.


Yet here at DP, at least, the focus has been turning ever more towards gritty noir. That's cool and I'm on board, but let's not forget entirely the fantastical possibilities.

Hence this Discussion, created with the express purpose of exploring the fantastical side of Dieselpunk, the implausible flying wing airliners, day trips to the swampy forrests of Venus, vacuum-blimps, raised hover-monorail tramways, and household robots...and of course flying cars and personal jetpacks!

What are your favorite "Fantastical" aspects of Diesel? Are you still bitter over that Flying Car you were promised? Did you want that robot butler? Where's the Pan Am Martian Clipper and its luxurious staterooms, en route to Barsoom? Post, link, and let not the sky be the limit!

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I agree, more crazy scifi and fantasy please!

You mentioned the monorail:


I'd ride that in a heartbeat.  I'd be terrified half to death, but I'd ride it!

I'm all for it.

The issue is, I need input from our fellow dieselpunks about the wacky scifi stuff you're interested in.

Right now, the website is a centerpiece of inspiration, which is why we focus on real world pop culture and science so much.

I'd love to see you guys show off what you've been doing with all that inspiration.

If you want some amazing images, old issues of Popular Mechanics would be a good place to look.


It´s always nice with some giant robots, like Elektro from the 1939 World´s Fair. Imagine his brain had 48, yes that´s fortyeight, electronic relays. Such brain power. Sadly he is supposed to be in rather bad shape today. Here you have first the more sinister version, showing his desire for dominance and penchant for destruction:



Then here´s his more friendly crowd-pleasing ways. Charming people so they underestimate his power to take over the world:


I hit up Modern Mechanix once in a while, but I don't want to steal their thunder with plain jane reposts.

Also, Elektro is all over the movie section.  Check out the Robots tag for more mechanized fun > http://www.dieselpunks.org/video/video/listTagged?tag=robots

I guess what I'm specifically looking for is more dieselpunk artists from this era to be active.  We could go on forever about the source material, but what are people doing in the real world these days?  Feedback has been pretty sparse these last few months and I'm afraid that some of our fans are content to read the website instead of building things and changing the world.

Atterton said:

If you want some amazing images, old issues of Popular Mechanics would be a good place to look.
It was mostly an attempt to say that I like giant dieselpunk robots. I like big bots and I cannot lie.

To answer you, Tome, I like aircraft, particularly flying boats. All that promise of flight for everyone...in luxury! Flight as an adventure, not a cattle-class burden. Ginormous flying boats the size of ocean vessels. When I'm at home and away from the draconian firewall, I'll post or link (if I can find it again) a recent CGI animation of a city street in a Bel Geddes future, featuring Airliner #4 (image above) and a ludicrously long lorrie.

For the totally fantastic, I love the Borroughs-style Airships on Mars stuff, and the physically-impossible "we once thought it plausible" like the vacuum airship:


This image (and MORE!) by Michael Levin, viewable (in Russian) here: http://www.rusring.net/~levin/levin3d/dz.htm. 


I also highly recommend to every *punk or retro-futurist Dazid Zondy's Tales of Future Past website, which features a lot of theModern Mechanix and other Gernsbeckian ideas, plus other images and movies from the Victorian through the Diesel into the late Atomic era.

What do I miss?
Dieselpunk still had an aspect of hope for the future.  Mankind could achieve an overcome.  They were going to the stars.

Also Dieselpunk men were MEN.  They achieved.  Men had manners & self respect.  They weren't man-scaping or metro-sexual.  They weren't 30 and pretending they were 14. 

Flash Gordon was a college kid right?  Wasn't the Rocketeer as well?  Buck Rogers in his 20's.  Imagine taking kids of that age today & throwing them into those stories? 

And yes, I want my Iron Giant, my flying car.  And for Doctor Steel to take over the world.
Just the chance to wear a white lab coat that buttons on the side with large purple rubber gloves!

When I think of fantastical dieselpunk, I think of covers like these:

Is it me or was orange the "color of the future" in the 1930s?

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