Dieselpunks

Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

For me, I think, was the Indiana Jones movies. The first movie that I vaguely remember watching in the cinemas was Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I was about 4 then. I say vaguely because, other than the last scene with the main villian, Donovan, aging quickly into dust with only his swastika pin remaining, I don't remember much of watching it in the theater. But that one scene did stay in my mind...probably because it scared the hell out of my 4-year old mind.

What I watched in the 90s, however, I remember much more clearly. Much of it, odd enough, has to do with the Disney Channel. I clearly remember seeing that channel advertise for Dick Tracy, though I don't think I saw it. I remember watching Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The Disney Channel used to play The Rocketeer alot in the early 90s (when the Disney Channel actually, you know, had a wide variety of entertainment for everyone, rather than endless kiddy sitcoms) I remember really enjoying that one and it's now one of my favorite movies. There was also TaleSpin, which was very much influenced by 30s-40s pulp adventures. Also, in the early 90s, we went to Disney World and around that time, the Disney-MGM Studios(now Disney Hollywood Studios) was brand new. It has a heavy Golden Age of Hollywood theme, so there's alot of art deco theming and such. Come to think of it...there was ALOT of dieselpunk goodness coming out of Disney in the late 80s-early 90s

Speaking of that, there was also the first two Batman movies, which were also fairly dieselpunk. Odd that there was alot of dieselpunk classics coming out at that time.

The 90s were also when I discovered old VHS tapes of Raiders of the Lost Ark and Star Wars taped off of the tv sometime in the 80s and I watched the hell out of those tapes.

All this and many others, I believe, planted a seed in my mind that grew into a love of art deco and dieselpunk.

 

So, what got you into dieselpunk?

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I have always been a fan of "lost generation" fiction as well as Jazz and swing music, coupled with a love for classic automobiles and WW II fighter planes, it just seemed like the next logical step. I was introduced to this site while reading a music review on Sepiachord and it was the music that drew me in but after browsing around a bit I was sure this was the place for me.

I must say that Sky Captain is what got me loving Dieselpunk, though its been a slow and steady movement for me. Steampunk was my favorite genre before, but then I found Dieselpunk. While I still like both, the things that I most like from Steampunk - strange inventions, alternate history, incredible flying machines - can all exist in Dieselpunk, along with more interesting stuff.

 

I am a pretty big science fiction and fantasy buff (watched every single episode of all three Stargate series heh), so I'm a bigger fan of the fictional side of Dieselpunk. 

For me, growing up in the 80s, it's between Indiana Jones (saw all three originals first run in the theaters, some of them more than once) and the '82 TV show Tales of the Gold Monkey (now on DVD!). This latter, set in the late 30s in a fictional South Pacific archipelago, had it all: pre-WW2 intrigue, flying boats, flighter planes, Samurai, canibals, mummies, bar fights, fast-paced adventure, sexy dames (right when I was getting old enough to notice such things), and gorgeous tropical vistas. It was my favorite show in childhood and it saddened me that they only made a single season. Syndicated episodes of Black Sheep Squadron probably helped along those lines too.

I got into it probably when someone got me Casablanca for my "videodisc" player when I was about 12.  And of course, the Indiana Jones movies.

 

I'm rather pleased that Turner Classic Movies has some good 1930-40's movies on Comcast's On Demand free movies area.  Watch "All through the Night" just last night :) 

It all started for me when I was a young boy. My parents purchased a set of records with recordings of classic radio broadcasts. I would listen to them again and again. Especially, Orson Welle's broadcast of the War of the Worlds. Plus, I would sit up late at night with my parents listening to a local station replay the Inner Sanctum Mysteries. Also, I remember watching replays of the TV show The Untouchables. Of course, my family and I never missed chances to see classic movies such as Singing in the Rain. I also had a love of history since I was a boy. I still remember being amazed watching The World at War on PBS when it was first released. I guess all of this planted the seeds that would lead to Dieselpunk.

 

From there came seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark at the theater and then The Shadow. My interest just kept growing and growing and I started watching more and more classics and reading more and more Diesel Era history.

 

Then my daughter got me into Steampunk and shortly afterwards I came across Dieselpunks.Org and that's when I realized what my true passion was.

Really wish I had TCM.

Hexidecima said:

I got into it probably when someone got me Casablanca for my "videodisc" player when I was about 12.  And of course, the Indiana Jones movies.

 

I'm rather pleased that Turner Classic Movies has some good 1930-40's movies on Comcast's On Demand free movies area.  Watch "All through the Night" just last night :) 

Try Netflix...I've found all kinds of old, rare Diesel-era movies there, like Only Angels Can Fly, Nonstop New York, and Flying Down to Rio (yea, I have a vintage flight fetish).

Clinton said:
Really wish I had TCM.

Hexidecima said:

I got into it probably when someone got me Casablanca for my "videodisc" player when I was about 12.  And of course, the Indiana Jones movies.

 

I'm rather pleased that Turner Classic Movies has some good 1930-40's movies on Comcast's On Demand free movies area.  Watch "All through the Night" just last night :) 

In the early aughties I rediscovered pre-"Golden Age" science fiction (c. 1929-1939), from back when Venus was swampy, Martians were green, and spaceships could be built in your own back yard.  I was rather taken by the implicit optimism of the vision -- the affirmation of possibilities, even of remote ones -- which was already diminished by the '40s, staggering in the '50s, and finally killed off in the '60s by tongue-in-cheek satire and cynicism. And within a few decades, people started to wonder where their future had gone.

 

I began to wonder: what if you reclaimed this genre, but infused with a more modern awareness? What if you needed to look backward to learn again how to look forward?

 

Then I ran across dieselpunk, which may not be exactly the same thing, but is close enough.

My husband got me into Edgar Rice Burroughs.  Plenty of Tarzan, John Carter (can't wait for the movie), etc.  I had almost forgotten that was very diesel, no matter how the steampunks try to co-opt it.   U would also think that my reading of E.E. "Doc" Smith" was also very instrumental to my "dieselness" :) 

Probably a good deal of steampunk is 'co-opted diesel', simply because the available Victorian technology was so rudimentary and is much less susceptible to remodelling and reconception than slightly later technologies.

 

Take the case of airships: there were no more than half-a-dozen practical powered airships produced before 1900: three of them gasoline-powered, two run on an electric battery, and only one steam-powered; the last was the most inefficient and least practical of the lot.  Physics simply doesn't allow a steam engine to be both light enough to be lifted by a balloon *and* to produce enough energy to allow it to run against the wind. Only gas engines were sufficiently light and powerful.  But because airships are cool, and are not familiar contemporary technology, they have been folded into steampunk.  But steampunk airships aren't even modelled on real Victorian airships (most of which were small and incapable of carrying more than one or two people); they are simply the airships of the 1920s-30s with brass railings added on.

Pretty much spot on, Caerulctor.  The biggest changes are usually aestetic, with more sharp-angled Victorian designs (a Zeppelin with a pointy cone-shaped nose rather than the historical bullet shaped streamline. Also a lot of Sci-fi tech run on steam (steam mecha) or the use of "alternate physics" like Aether engines or ludicrously compressible steam (like in Steam Boy). A realistic "Steam Punk" would be either limited to locomotives, ships, and balloons or be essentially Dieselpunk or Atompunk with Victorian clothing and culture. Airships get "Steampunked" in a big part for being so much a part of Victorian-era futurism, with plenty of wacky "powered balloons" and such in drawings and literature.

Of course Borroughs and company, as well as some of the ludicrous (but at the time seemingly plausible) "upcomming technology" from Gernsbeck's magazines, give Dieselpunk a real option for getting fantastical as well.

I'm posting more on this in a new Discussion, as this warrants more thought and I don't want to hijack this Discussion...



Cap'n Tony said: Airships get "Steampunked" in a big part for being so much a part of Victorian-era futurism, with plenty of wacky "powered balloons" and such in drawings and literature.

 

That's true, but my impression is that Victorian/Edwardian futurism tends more to depict bat-winged "aeroplanes" and airships lifted, not by gas, but by rotors on vertical masts or by implausible combinations of "planes" -- like this and this and this. These are often very cool designs, but for some reason less frequently (I think) found in modern steampunk art.

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