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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In the world of fashion -- and by fashion, I mean ladies' fashions, of course, since men's changed much more slowly -- most of the Edwardian era, down to 1908 at least, is basically a series of small, incremental changes from Victorian fashion: big hats, long and wide skirts, lots of ruffles and lace.

 

In 1909 fashion trends began to change drastically, starting with a slimmed and more upright profile, replacing the forward-leaning pose with exaggerated bust and hips that characterized late Victorian and most of the Edwardian period.

 

After that changes happen very rapidly.  In 1910, skirts are still long, but straight, narrow, and with far less surface adornment than just a couple of years previously. In 1911 hemlines begin to rise, showing all of the foot and a glimpse of ankle. In 1912, designs featuring a long coat or tunic over the skirt were popular (this is the 'Titanic era').  In 1913 gathered folds and pleats characterize the skirt.  Big hats were now out of fashion, and some of the smaller replacements anticipate the '20s. In 1914 the tunic is back, often flaring at the bottom (anywhere from the hips to the knees, but generally at mid-thigh); the skirt becomes extremely tight around the ankles.  We are now looking at a silhouette which is entirely different from the Victorian.  This was the era of the suffragette, and there was a good deal of experimentation at producing something more practical.

 

The outbreak of the Great War became the occasion for more changes; fabric was in short supply, and 'patriotic' designs that saved on cloth were popular (they still used huge yards of fabric by modern standards!).  Hemlines began to climb once again.  The tunic-and-skirt arrangement continued.  By 1916 skirts were clearly showing the ankle and a bit of calf and flaring in a manner similar to that of the 1950s.  In 1917 skirts are slimmer; in 1918 the silhouette becomes long and straight, with only a slight flare to the tunic. By 1919 hair was already being bobbed and the incipient stage of 1920s fashion was already in view.

 

I only mention this because fashion is so big a part of how we view an era, one of the first and most common markers by which we can differentiate one time period from another.  If you look  at a bit of footage of indeterminate age, and you see immense hats, wide skirts, and frills, you're likely to think 'Victorian' (even if the clip is really from 1906); and likewise, some of the Great War fashions foreshadow the 1920s.  The indeterminate period is the near-decade from 1909-1918.

 

Larry said:

I think Dizzy hit something that I mentioned. Steampunks have historically included the Edwardian Era into that genre and were unlikely to let go of it. And as I mentioned culturally there wasn't a dramatic difference between Victorian and Edwardian in culture. Even the development of the tech that would distinguish Diesel Era (airplane, radio, automobile, etc...) was more of an oddity and not part of everyday life for most people.

 

Of all the choices I gave I guess I need to add a fourth.

 

4) Edwardian Era Is Steampunk. In other words, leave the lines as they have been left. Steampunk includes the Victorian Era, including the Edwardian, up to WWI and Diesel Era begins at the end of WWI. World War I of 1914 - 1919 is the transitional period between the two. The period of time of the Edwardian Era is just the closing years of Steampunk. This would mean that there is no need for new names such as "electropunk" and such.

 

So all of this concern in this thread might be, to borrow from the Bard, much ado about nothing.


Dizzy said:

hmmm, well i still call it steampunk, depending on what I put with it, i love this time, I'm a dancer so the corsets that inspire a lot of the victorian neo victorian steampunk outfits are just not an option, I dress mostly inspired by edwardian and even a little later and say it's steampunk and no one ever calls me on it. :)

I'd like to see this comment (perhaps with some illustrations) in our Articles section.

Thank you.

Caerulctor said:

In the world of fashion -- and by fashion, I mean ladies' fashions, of course, since men's changed much more slowly -- most of the Edwardian era, down to 1908 at least, is basically a series of small, incremental changes from Victorian fashion: big hats, long and wide skirts, lots of ruffles and lace.

 

In 1909 fashion trends began to change drastically, ...

Caerulctor, I agree with Lord_k. This is very good whole post by you was excellent.

Wow, fantastic input, all! I agree on making an Evolution of Fashion article, Caerulctor. That's be a very valuable reference.

 

In all, I'm leaning towards Larry's "Edwardian Transition" name, thereby making it not a "no-man's land", but an "everyone's land" where both Steam and Diesel can stake claims. It's frankly that very transitional nature that draws me to it.

 

I also consider Atompunk kind of a transitional period as culturally it hearkens both back to the Diesel era and forward to the upcoming Postmodern era of Hippies and Hatlessness showing that same Edwardian-style split between a conservative over-culture looking back to the previous era and a radical counter-culture (Beatnicks, Greasers, Motorcycle Gangs, etc.).

 

Reeferpunk seems like it could be interesting, DMB. Reminds me of the "Acid Jazz Age" timeline over on the Alternate History boards, though you make good points to the organic-mechanical divide...that has some good potential relevance to today's trans-oil age. More serious an idea than the "just for fun" Acid Jazz timeline.

 

I have found this entire string very enlightening. The transitional period seems the best solution. Plus, this conversation has helped me grasp the refinements of both steam and dieselpunk. It is exciting to think about what people might be saying about this sub genre in the months and years to come, assuming that these statements will be influenced by the sharp thinking coming from the dieselpunks here.

THanks for the compliment @Cap'n Tony (I take "interesting" as high praise). I am indeed hoping to create something fun that has content lurking beneath the surface.

You're more than welcome, DMB. Glad to have you aboard. And this conversation has been a lot of fun and very informative for me as well...great dialog!

 

Also worth noting, all, that someone on another website called Edwardian punk "Post Steampunk"...seems a fitting name.

David Mark Brown said:

I have found this entire string very enlightening. The transitional period seems the best solution. Plus, this conversation has helped me grasp the refinements of both steam and dieselpunk. It is exciting to think about what people might be saying about this sub genre in the months and years to come, assuming that these statements will be influenced by the sharp thinking coming from the dieselpunks here.

THanks for the compliment @'n Tony (I take "interesting" as high praise). I am indeed hoping to create something fun that has content lurking beneath the surface.
Personally, I hope that "Post Steampunk" doesn't become popular because that would defeat the idea of a transitional period of being available to both genres. That era can be either steampunk or dieselpunk, depending on the viewpoint of the individual. Using the word "post" would imply that it's not available to steampunk, which I think would be incorrect.

Cap'n Tony said:
Also worth noting, all, that someone on another website called Edwardian punk "Post Steampunk"...seems a fitting name.

Maybe the years don't really matter, as much as the style and ideals of whatever is going on. You could regard the "intermission" period as both, so it really just boils down to what the fiction bases itself on. If, within the story, steam is still a major factor in the world, and if the extreme class system of the Victorian era still exists, then the era is steampunk in the story. If steam is quickly being weeded out in favor of more streamlined technologies, and if the class system is starting to dissolve, the imperialism is slowing down, and other major dieselpunk aspects exist, then the era is dieselpunk. I myself am writing a story that has a good half of it during this era and I regard it as dieselpunk, with a hint of steampunk in the beginning. The biggest problem is that some aspects of both cross over, but in general, we should consider the era to be both, with one being more prevalent depending on the person who comes up with the story.

I would agree with this in large part. The flavor can swing the content. This seems to be a semi-consensus around here, that by leaving the period open or available to both sides, storytellers can use their tastes and style to swing the content either way. I think the discussion is a great way to sharpen personal views and perceptions in order to gain better mastery of the writing process. It has helped me realize what I really wanted my story to look and feel like.
Send me a message and tell me more about your story.


Chris Johnson said:
Maybe the years don't really matter, as much as the style and ideals of whatever is going on. You could regard the "intermission" period as both, so it really just boils down to what the fiction bases itself on.

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