Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

Is Sci-Fi and/or fantasy a requirement to call something Dieselpunk?

Hey there guys & gals!
We had a great discussion on the Diesel Powered Podcast about Sci-Fi and Fantasy in Dieselpunk. Boss Larry Amyett asked the question whether it is a required element of the genre?

We'd love to get your feedback! Take a listen to the episode and let us know what you think!


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Well yeah, those guys change their mind whenever.
Noir is a part of the "pulp". Maybe I should've added that it has to involve the Diesel Era, because a normal Noir title isn't automatically Dieselpulp. But if it's something like L.A. Noire, then it is Dieselpulp. Sin City is Dieselpulp because it has fantasy AND it has the Diesel Era "skin" mixed with the modern world.
Those were just the general examples. I'll always see Noir as an important peice of the Dieselpunk(trope) puzzle, and it is the #1 thing that got me into Dieselpunk(genre) in the firstplace :)

So what would you say about movies like Gattaca and Equilibrium?

I say Gattaca is Dieselpunk(genre) because everyone is dressed like in the Diesel Era and it seems to keep it's tech in the same realm as Bioshock, both also being Biopunk(trope).

Equilibrium on the other has is a little bit less so, the only Diesel things there are the troops that look similar to the Nazis, much like the Star Wars thing. So it only has a few Dieselpunk TROPES.

Equilibrium also has airships and Albert Speer architecture.

I guess Equilibrium can be Dieselpunk, in the 1984 sense. I really dont remember much of the movie except for the gun-fu, so I can't say much haha.
I just found out about a genre called "New Pulp". It's basicly what I was refering to as "Dieselpulp". I still kind of like the name Dieselpulp more :) I'll put up a discussion for New Pulp to see if anyone knows of more titles in it.
I know A LOT about it. I'm working with ProSe now on a project. New Pulp is not a genre, it's a style of writing that can encompass multiple genres - including Dieselpunk. Check out the leading publisher of new pulp - ProSe Productions for more.

Blacky, I think that you are working too hard at trying to Pigeon Hole the Pigeon Holes. LOL

I think that I like that term 'Dieselpulp' as well. Though I'm not to sure if ~ MY ~ interpretation exactly melds with yours. (Go Figure.)  

To me, 'DIESELPULP' might actually be a better umbrella descriptive for all of that which we try and cram under the 'Dieselpunk' header. If one takes into consideration the vast variety of topics that the old Pulp Magazines encompassed (everything from Romance, to Western, Crime, War, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Horror, Fantasy, etc., etc., etc.) then the 'Diesel' prefix would merely define the era of those subjects, stories or interests. As such 'Dieselpunk' would be more aptly described as just one more subcategory within this generic Pulp-Diesel grouping.  

Is it time to shoot the Pigeons yet??? LOL


Thanks for adding to the conversation Dan!

I will add that I don't really see Dieselpunk as a genre, but more of an stylistic expression - primarily visual, but can be applied to prose and audio as well.

One of the criticisms of Dieselpunks has been that we accept everything under our umbrella. It is true that the fandom is broad, but we need to be careful about shooting too many pigeons and being left with such a narrow definition that only a very small niche of fandom can appreciate and call themselves Dieselpunk.

Quite frankly, that is what I think Allerton is doing. He is chipping away at the style until it is only applicable to military/machinery inspired expressions. That is far too narrow.

On the other side, Boss Larry likes to include source material and Diesel era inspired works. I think that is too broad and plays into the criticism. We disagree about that, by the way. As expressed on the episode of the Diesel Powered Podcast (linked in the original post) Larry is afraid that requiring sci-fi/fantasy eliminates too much of the source material or the diesel inspired works.

In my examination of the definition of "Contemporary" I think I have found the perfect balance. By recognizing contemporary to mean created during or since the diesel era, I believe we open up the classification to more of the source material, without labeling everything Dieselpunk. This is because to qualify, it has to have the other elements I listed:
- Visual Aesthetics of the Diesel Era (not everything from the era does)
- Sci/fi/Fantasy/future tech/alt tech or alt history (not everything from the era does)
- Punk - I consider this not only the attitude of the piece, but the interpretation of the fan. Tommy Hancock of ProSe Productions but it nicely when he said "the Punk is the fan" because one of the reasons we are drawn to the style is in and of itself a counter cultural expression - almost a rejection of modern culture in exchange for embracing the culture of a previous generation's culture.

Expanding further. I HATE modern casual culture. The only time I wear shorts and a t-shirt is when I'm riding my vintage bicycle or out at the beach. Even then, I seek out vintage styles and ALWAYS tuck in my shirt. Even on Tales From the Geek which I host - I am required to wear a "geeky" t-shirt because that is what our viewers "relate to." However, In my passive aggressive way, I add diesel inspired clothing like a vest, fedora or newsboy cap, and other accessories. Anyone watching can tell, that I have a different style. So my rejection of modern casual culture is an expression of my punk and I am drawn to material which edifies that philosophy - movies, music, art, books and comics, even interior décor.

So, because I am drawn to that expression I am also naturally drawn to the source material - movies, music, art, fashion, etc., of the diesel era. But that doesn't always make the source material dieselPUNK. it is Diesel ERA source material that forms the foundation and informs the style.

So with all of that we see Dieselpunk taking on different shapes and forms. It is a big tent, but not so big that it means nothing. I teach my performance students that "if you try to be everything to everyone, you'll end up being nothing to nobody."
Do these meet all 4 qualifications? if so they are diesel punk.
A person unwilling to change their mind or opinion has stopped growing and dying.
maybe I'm missing something in Gattaca. I see it recommended and on lists all the time so I tried it. I didn't see it as dieselpunk at all.

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