Here's a blogpost by Philip Reeve that is not dedicated to Dieselpunk but worth reading and discussion: we're exactly filling the gap between Steampunk and Atompunk.
I really don't understand why people have to attack one - punk genre. He could have just as easily advocated for atomicpunk without making the stupid comments about steampunk.
So quit sounding like a bunch of uptight primadonna's in the middle of a really bad period and just try to have some fun while helping other have some fun of their own already. Jeez...
Give it a break and relax already. It's a great fictional genre, but if you take it much further than that (drawing metaphorical lines in the sand, for example) then you're getting your head lost up in your own asshole. Sit back, relax, and have some fun writing somethings and possibly making some drawings for them or something. None of it's going to be real. The march of time and technology has already seen to that. So quit sounding like a bunch of uptight primadonna's in the middle of a really bad period and just try to have some fun while helping other have some fun of their own already. Jeez...
I agree that Reeve was unnecessarily dismissive of steampunk, although he was actually quoting an article from The Guardian. He could have expressed his own problems with the genre in his own words, and made clear the extent to which he agreed with and diverged from Lyndon Gwynfryn's crude assessment. Not everyone has to be interested in everything, but there is plenty of creative inspiration to be found in any period of history. The comment by Gwynfryn misses the points of retrofuturist genres entirely. Steampunk Dieselpunk, and other retrofuturist milieus are exploring the futurist impulse as it has been expressed in different historical contexts. These are not nostalgic movements. No one is curating museums here.
On the other hand, there are plenty of reasons to prefer the zeitgeist of one historical period over that of another as a framework or template for one's creative expression. Ultimately, Reeve was just trying to encourage people to explore a new path, and using someone else's critique to get them thinking. We don't have to be cultural or stylistic partisans just because someone prefers a different emphasis. What is being referred to as atompunk here has been undergoing a revival in a different context driven by music, design, and mixology for a quarter century now. It would be interesting to see how that would be expressed in retrofuturist science fiction.
The Magnificent Raiders of Dimension War 1 Atompunk? Retro-futurism? You're aircar is waiting...
Keep in mind that Philip Reeve isn't just some nobody, slagging off steampunk -- his Mortal Engines novels are practically touchstones of that subgenre. Granted, the blog post is dismissive, but I think, as it was intended for his readers, his dismissal is a continuation of the critique from the books themselves, which are pretty angry depictions of class warfare and authoritarianism. The books are about dystopian, mechanized city-states that literally eat each other -- the metaphors aren't subtle.
Reeve's critique is expressly about how steampunks don't respect the progressive legacy of Victorian writers. This is a broad brush to paint with, but I've seen it to be largely accurate portrait. Many steampunk works depictions display totally unironic, unaware romanticizing of the colonial era of the British Empire. This has been a problem in the genre for a long time, despite the presence of individual critics and creators like China Mieville, and despite the fact that the best-known steampunk movie stars Will Smith.
As for atompunk, the only atompunk work that ever drew me in was the Fallout series, and that's more due to its Mad Max flavour than the ironic use of atompunk trappings. I have no love for '50s American aesthetics or culture and that sort of pushes me away from the whole idea. Jazz and beatniks were the only cool things about the '50s, as far as I'm concerned.
Actually, there was one other good atompunk example that occurs to me now: the '80s Jetsons movie. Here's where they finally came down from their space-age sky city to reveal the surface of the Earth below, and it's a polluted, unlivable wasteland. That's pure atompunk.