Dieselpunks

Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

So, occasionally we see something that skirts the transitional period between the Steam and Diesel eras, basically the "Edwardian" period from ~1900 to the end of WW1. It has its own aestetic that bridges the styles, tech, and philosophies of the two eras.

 

Early aircraft that look bird- or bat-like, high collars without ties, high boots with laces, sleeker-cut uniforms with rows of ribbons but less ornimentation, dress swords, rumbling riveted machinery as likely to be steam as petrol...

 

A great example is Leviathan.

 

So, what to call it? I've heard it called "Edwardianpunk", but that seems so awkward a name.

 

Any thoughts?

 

 

 

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I'm a little confused by this (so no change there then).

I thought Steampunk had pretty much claimed the Edwardian Time period right up until the twenties. Given that Steam was still very much in use etc. I understand that it does seem to be reflecting Victorian Britain a bit too much. But that is changing as more people are becoming aware of it all over the world. And relating it to their own cultures. These things are still definately growing and being defined and re-defined. It doesn't help that just moving it over to the U.S changes it to Weird West? There's altogether too many punks around IMHO

And when talking about the C19/earlyC20th's well, It's all Steampunk to me no matter where on the globe it's set.

And I'm British old bean!

Actually, I agree that steampunk does claim Edwardian era. So Edwardian Punk already exists in steampunk.

 

The problem is that history doesn't lend itself well to strict divisions as this thread is trying because such labeling is artificial. History is organic in that it's messy and flows with technology progressing at different rates. Something Modernism and Western thought is uncomfortable with.

 

This get's back to my position. We simply need a rough general set of eras (i.e. steampunk starts circa ? ends circa ?) with some transitional periods (like WWI) in between to feel the gaps. But at the same time we understand that any one era may overlap on another. 

Argus Fairbrass said:

I'm a little confused by this (so no change there then).

I thought Steampunk had pretty much claimed the Edwardian Time period right up until the twenties. Given that Steam was still very much in use etc. I understand that it does seem to be reflecting Victorian Britain a bit too much. But that is changing as more people are becoming aware of it all over the world. And relating it to their own cultures. These things are still definately growing and being defined and re-defined. It doesn't help that just moving it over to the U.S changes it to Weird West? There's altogether too many punks around IMHO

And when talking about the C19/earlyC20th's well, It's all Steampunk to me no matter where on the globe it's set.

And I'm British old bean!

I may check this out. Thanks K.

lord_k said:

 

I believe Turkish steam-biopunk of Westerfeld & Thompson's Behemoth will make a breakthrough and change the scene. Btw, it fits so well to belly dance and steampipe, already popular in the Steampunk society.

 

Cap'n Tony said:

... in the Alternate History side of things they think in tech levels, so terms like "Byzantine Steampunk" are thrown around where the Byzantine Empire develops steam power. Roman Steampunk with toga-wearing airship captains. Song Chinese Steampunk with the unique Mandarin spin on things, etc. Anything like that ever show up at Steamcon?

Why not let go of the "punk" end of it all together and name these things for what they are, not a continuation of a late 1970s 1980s trend.

Larry said:

Actually, I agree that steampunk does claim Edwardian era. So Edwardian Punk already exists in steampunk.

 

The problem is that history doesn't lend itself well to strict divisions as this thread is trying because such labeling is artificial. History is organic in that it's messy and flows with technology progressing at different rates. Something Modernism and Western thought is uncomfortable with.

 

This get's back to my position. We simply need a rough general set of eras (i.e. steampunk starts circa ? ends circa ?) with some transitional periods (like WWI) in between to feel the gaps. But at the same time we understand that any one era may overlap on another. 

Argus Fairbrass said:

I'm a little confused by this (so no change there then).

I thought Steampunk had pretty much claimed the Edwardian Time period right up until the twenties. Given that Steam was still very much in use etc. I understand that it does seem to be reflecting Victorian Britain a bit too much. But that is changing as more people are becoming aware of it all over the world. And relating it to their own cultures. These things are still definately growing and being defined and re-defined. It doesn't help that just moving it over to the U.S changes it to Weird West? There's altogether too many punks around IMHO

And when talking about the C19/earlyC20th's well, It's all Steampunk to me no matter where on the globe it's set.

And I'm British old bean!

I disagree. I think the "punk" if very important. One reason is that it reminds us that our genre isn't simply reenactment but a re-imagining with the diesel era as inspiration to create something new. There are other reasons but this is one of them. 

 

Twizard said:

Why not let go of the "punk" end of it all together and name these things for what they are, not a continuation of a late 1970s 1980s trend.

I second that. "Punk" gives us power to mix styles, periods and technologies. Without punk element, we'll be limited to research and stylization.

Larry said:

I think the "punk" if very important. One reason is that it reminds us that our genre isn't simply reenactment but a re-imagining with the diesel era as inspiration to create something new.

In addition to the problem of 'no precise historical boundaries', there is also the problem that every era contains two tendencies: one conservative, looking back to an earlier age; the other progressive, imagining and creating the future.  In the Edwardian period (as indeed before and after, but perhaps more visibly and consciously) the conservative and progressive tendencies existed side by side, and in stark contrast.  On the one hand there was the aristocratic Edwardian world, with its palm courts and grand balls and its rigid and often hypocritical codes of conduct, all looking backwards to the Victorian era or even earlier.  Then there was a grubbier middle-class Edwardian world of scientists, poets, writers, inventors, and even revolutionaries, busy creating automobiles and aëroplanes and new kinds of social relations and art and literature, in modes which appeared either daringly bohemian or shockingly subversive of the Established Order.

 

If you look only at the first world, the "Upstairs, Downstairs" world of stiff collars and maidservants and briefcases full of despatches from the Colonial Office, you might conclude that little of importance had changed since the death of Queen Victoria.  Entering the second world, you'd find new ideas and new discoveries and changes taking place at a precipitous pace, with almost every facet of the modern world existing in embryo in one form or another. The collapse of the old aristocratic order at the end of the World War did not simply create a blank slate on which a new generation could create a new world; rather, it let the sunlight in on a host of ideas, projects, and passions which had been simmering for a long time already, and had been impatiently looking for a chance to take center stage.


Larry said:

Actually, I agree that steampunk does claim Edwardian era. So Edwardian Punk already exists in steampunk.

Very good points Caerulctor. In my post on Dark Ottensian on my blog I pointed out that the importance of the dialectic tension between progressive and conservative during the 1920s. 

Your division of the two "worlds" puts a thought into my mind. It's that the first world holds onto the steampunk era, so that an Edwardian that goes with the stiff collar and high society route would be more comfortable with steampunks.

The second "world," that of the tinkerer, scientist, and developer of the horseless carriage is a precursor to the dieselpunk, and would be much more comfortable hanging with those of the diesel era.

So, you almost have an era where the *punk you could potentially belong to could depend more on the aspect of the time that you treasure more than the time frame itself.

Caerulctor said:

In addition to the problem of 'no precise historical boundaries', there is also the problem that every era contains two tendencies: one conservative, looking back to an earlier age; the other progressive, imagining and creating the future.  In the Edwardian period (as indeed before and after, but perhaps more visibly and consciously) the conservative and progressive tendencies existed side by side, and in stark contrast.  On the one hand there was the aristocratic Edwardian world, with its palm courts and grand balls and its rigid and often hypocritical codes of conduct, all looking backwards to the Victorian era or even earlier.  Then there was a grubbier middle-class Edwardian world of scientists, poets, writers, inventors, and even revolutionaries, busy creating automobiles and aëroplanes and new kinds of social relations and art and literature, in modes which appeared either daringly bohemian or shockingly subversive of the Established Order.

 

If you look only at the first world, the "Upstairs, Downstairs" world of stiff collars and maidservants and briefcases full of despatches from the Colonial Office, you might conclude that little of importance had changed since the death of Queen Victoria.  Entering the second world, you'd find new ideas and new discoveries and changes taking place at a precipitous pace, with almost every facet of the modern world existing in embryo in one form or another. The collapse of the old aristocratic order at the end of the World War did not simply create a blank slate on which a new generation could create a new world; rather, it let the sunlight in on a host of ideas, projects, and passions which had been simmering for a long time already, and had been impatiently looking for a chance to take center stage.


Larry said:

Actually, I agree that steampunk does claim Edwardian era. So Edwardian Punk already exists in steampunk.

Pre-1914's steampunk. After that...all diesel.

 

Of everything above I think I like electropunk the best. But the things that grab me the most from the time period involve the combustion engine. tractors, autos, airplanes, submarines, tanks, etc. The machine gun and the grenade also being developed. The obvious transition from war as a gentleman's endeavor to mechanized blood baths.

The bottom line is the combination of the oil boom and the need for a cheap fuel to drive the auto craze specifically in the U.S. This time period is what clenched the next century for almighty oil.

Cattle and cotton where overwhelmed and forsaken by many for the quick promise of oil. This lead to a massive culture clash of urban and rural. The agrarian life style that had been necessary was now being considered backwards in the face of big cities and boomtowns. Railroads also played a major role in this transformation.

Oil

Transportation/rail

Finance/banking

All of this combined to create the perfect storm for prohibitionists to assault all things urban and modern in the name of traditional morals. After prohibition came reefer mania...

 

All this to say, I have been calling the time period reeferpunk. I base this on the battle between agrarian lifestyle/ natural fibers like cotton and hemp vs. urban/modern lifestyle eventually driven by oil. The what if that drives alternate history in this case would be "what if natural fibers (ethanol) would have defeated petroleum in the battle to fuel the coming industrial revolution?" So, reeferpunk would start around the beginning of the Mexican revolution (1910) when marijuana became popular in Mexico (el cucaracha) and last until the run up to WWII.

 

thoughts?

Excellent thoughts, David. While I know you mentioned "electropunk" and "reeferpunk" you actually made the best cases for "dieselpunk" that I've read in a long time. This quote I think says it best:

David Mark Brown said:
The bottom line is the combination of the oil boom and the need for a cheap fuel to drive the auto craze specifically in the U.S. This time period is what clenched the next century for almighty oil.

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