Dieselpunks

Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

Hi there Dieselpeople!

I am a great fan of both Steampunk and Dieselpunk; in my country (Italy) I'm trying to promote our beautiful culture by founding the first Italian Dieselpunk page and group.

And I was wondering... About the "correct" Dieselpunk timeline. Well, as Tome cleverly stated in another article, Dieselpunks are not interested into historical purity, so history accuracy is surely important but not so vital in our imaginary landscape.

But, as part of the definition of "what is DP" itself, we must in a certain way find an appropriate timespan to settle our imaginary vision of the future (or of the past, if you prefer!) in a way in which it becomes immediately recognizable.

For example, many of you say that "Dieselpunk is a style that blends the art and culture of the 1920s - 1950s with today." But in my own view, this is a bit restricting. I tend to see a larger timespan for DP, as for example from the very last years of Victorian era (1890s or so), to the first half of the 1950s.
 Sort of a Belle-Epoque-inspired in some points, maybe, with hints of Steampunk aesthetics too.

Many of my Steampunk-friends do not agree with my idea, finding it something similar to an "hybrid", others do, I mean DP is a very ecleptic culture so maybe it's more about the feeling and the flavour you give it than the historical point of view (e.g. outfits: one can dress as a Victorian lady and be immediately recognizable as Steampunk, and one can dress as a pre-WWI soldier using lots of cogs too, but still being immediately recognizable as Dieselpunk-inspired).

As Tome stated, I do not fancy historical purity. So the concept of "Diesel Era" is really vague and tractable for me. And I was just curious about your opinion. What kind of Dieselpunk timeline do you choose as your own?

Love,
Lenore

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I always place the time period from roughly the end of World War I until around 1950. That's because I see that window of time as being when the zeitgeist (i.e. general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era) that we use to define the prefix of "diesel-" in dieselpunk is found.

Notice that I used fuzzy words like "roughly" and "around" in my time period. That's because it's an attribute of Modernity to try to slice and dice historical and cultural trends into neat dates when reality, as any Postmodernist (a phenomenon that I consider Dieselpunk to be part of) would tell you, is quite messy. So I allow for overlap on both sides of the time period.

I say it is what you make of it.  We use the end of WW1 as our semiofficial "beginning", but you correctly state that you can see a lot of the origins of the Diesel era in the Edwardian era (late 1890s through WW1), which I see as a transitional time where Steam phases gradually into Diesel.  I similarly see 1950-1963, the core "Atompunk" years, as a transitional.  Take a snapshot from 1962 and it'll look far more like 1952 or even 1942 or 1932 than it will to even 1965 as the cultural and stylistic change was so profound (Mad Men illustrates this very well).

And what of alternate worlds in general?  What of a world where Napoleon managed to secure a lasting hegemony or the CSA won the American Civil War?  Hell, what if Rome never fell?  What will such worlds look like in the Steam era?  Will there be a "Diesel" era, and if so what will it look like?  So many possibilities!  Closer to your home and the era, what if Giolitti kept control of Parliament in 1914 and kept Italy neutral in WW1? No Caporetto. No Fascism. Possibly no Naziism, or at least one very different from the historical one, at least aestetically.

I say make your own timeline and find your own way and don't feel you need to follow any "orthodox" Dieselpunk setting, because there frankly isn't one.

 

I find this fascinating - I think we can come up with a really detailed timeline for the eras... from the posts above and some  online research I did the rough timeline is :

1785 -1918 Steampunk

1918 - 1950 - DieselPunk

1950-1963 - Atompunk

With transitional decade(s) found at 1901 - 1918 & 1950-1965

so can we refine this- find some historical markers that we all agree to [I use all to refer to the people on this thread only :-) ]

i think this would be a great project !

I hold to 1912 as the end of Steam and start of Diesel with the sinking of the Titanic.

I think the official end of the Diesel Era is 1957 with the launch of Sputnik and the official start of the Atomic age.

I am in the minority in the community. It's lonely here sometimes. I could use a friend...

 

Okay 

i can see the power of the the Titanic sinking as one possible demarcation for the end of Steam era

And Sputnik is pretty universal as a marker for the beginning of the space race....

Not bad...


Johnny Dellarocca said:

I hold to 1912 as the end of Steam and start of Diesel with the sinking of the Titanic.

I think the official end of the Diesel Era is 1957 with the launch of Sputnik and the official start of the Atomic age.

I am in the minority in the community. It's lonely here sometimes. I could use a friend...

 

Interesting that the age of Diesel is also the age of electronics....

the transistor being invented in 1907...

You aren't the first to point this out... :)

But Tranistorpunk don't quite roll off the tongue...

 

For hard historical markers, there's been a lot of discussion in the Dieselpunk community about this.

The most common starting historical marker is the the end of WWI, which was 11/11/1918. On the ending, one option I have come to prefer is the Korean War, which began with the June 25, 1950 when the KPA crossed the 38th parallel as the historical marker.

Interesting that using this method the diesel era begins and ends in meaningless, bloody conflicts. It was born in blood and died in blood. I think that's a powerful symbolism.

Therefore, one could say that the first day of the 'diesel era' as source material for Dieselpunk would be Nov 12, 1918 and the last day June 24, 1950.

I want to stress that this period provides only the cultural and intellectual source, or zeitgeist, by which Dieselpunk builds on. Dieselpunk stories can exist outside our timeline and aren't limited to occurring in that era.

Kevin "Doc" DiVico said:

I find this fascinating - I think we can come up with a really detailed timeline for the eras... from the posts above and some  online research I did the rough timeline is :

1785 -1918 Steampunk

1918 - 1950 - DieselPunk

1950-1963 - Atompunk

With transitional decade(s) found at 1901 - 1918 & 1950-1965

so can we refine this- find some historical markers that we all agree to [I use all to refer to the people on this thread only :-) ]

i think this would be a great project !

LOL

yes it is a bit of a tongue twister lol

Johnny Dellarocca said:

You aren't the first to point this out... :)

But Tranistorpunk don't quite roll off the tongue...

 

For me, personally, I would put steampunk in the realm of the second industrial revolution (starting at 1850 or so) till about the end of WW1. It was at the end of WW1 is when the world order that predominated the 19th century and first decade of the 20th completely changed. Dieselpunk takes off from here and where it ends is... kinda vague for me, really.

The thing about the diesel era that appeals so much to me is the Golden Age of Aviation, and that actually ended when WW2 started, since it was WW2 that really started the process of having hundreds of air fields built around the world that completely altered the dynamic of air travel and commerce in the post-war world. Prior to World War 2, many people believed that it was flying boats and not land-based planes that would dominate, because in part of the lack of serviceable air field around the world. No one would have dreamed of places like India, China, Southeast Asia and the Pacific island chains would have nearly as many air ports prior to the war. I don't consider jet propulsion to have really destroyed it, since jet engines were in development long before World War 2. In fact, it really surprised me when I learned that the first attempt at building a jet powered plane was in 1910! I had no idea they were trying so soon in aviation history (granted, the plane's engine exploded before it even took off, but it was a start).

If I did have to put an end date, it would either be, as Johnny mentioned, the successful launch of Sputnik at shortest, or the Gulf of Tonkin (maybe the Kennedy assassination even) incident which got the Vietnam war started for the Americans, this is because it was Vietnam that really altered world politics and society and took it out of the long, fairly conservative post-war world of 1945-63.

I've heard the terms "Electropunk" and even "Teslapunk" bandied about, usually heavily overplapping with Dieselpunk or late steampunk.  The main difference is usually just the technology with electric cars/trains rather than fossile fuel and big honkin' Tesla Coils everywhere, usually just because but sometimes being part of a worldwide wireless power grid ala Tesla's dream.

Johnny Dellarocca said:

You aren't the first to point this out... :)

But Tranistorpunk don't quite roll off the tongue...

 

I like Electropunk ...even through I love Tesla, I dislike ever naming a movement after one man - can create cult of personality overtones and that is never good for any movement or time period.

Cap'n Tony said:

I've heard the terms "Electropunk" and even "Teslapunk" bandied about, usually heavily overplapping with Dieselpunk or late steampunk.  The main difference is usually just the technology with electric cars/trains rather than fossile fuel and big honkin' Tesla Coils everywhere, usually just because but sometimes being part of a worldwide wireless power grid ala Tesla's dream.

Johnny Dellarocca said:

You aren't the first to point this out... :)

But Tranistorpunk don't quite roll off the tongue...

 

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