Dieselpunks

Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

Several of the discussions here reminded me of this article at The Gatehouse,"The Two Flavors of Dieselpunk." In an excerpt from the article:
Elaborating upon the observations of The Flying Fortress about the genre, we have established two kinds of dieselpunk, differing in setting, style and influence. The “Ottensian,” of which Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004) is representative, is typically set in a 1930s that was never bothered by a Great Depression and is therefore more of a continuation of the Roaring Twenties; its optimism and excitement only strengthened by further progress. This buoyant and most pervasive of “Ottensian” dieselpunk shares its era with more film noir-styled, hard-boiled detective stories such as The Shadow (1994) and The Big O, which depict the negative effects of the era’s laissez-faire attitude: the rise of totalitarianism, technocratic perception, and the “grit and oil [and] dust and mud”5 of pollution.

On the other side of World War II we find the “Piecraftian” dieselpunk, shaped by an alternate outcome of the war: often Axis victory but sometimes a three-way Cold War reminiscent of Nineteen-Eighty-Four. Either way, the war is typically depicted as having been prolonged with advanced technologies based upon real-world Nazi experiments with rocketry, jet aircraft, and eugenics and the occult. Sometimes the “Piecraftian” is set during the later stages of the war, as is the case with video games like Return to Castle Wolfenstein (2001) and War Front: Turning Point (2007). Often, however, it is characterized by dystopia and nuclear paranoia, and the development of evermore agressive technologies of war and the conquest of space by Nazi-Germany—in Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle (1962) and Energia Productions’s Iron Sky (2008).

Finally, the darker side of the “Piecraftian” is truly hopeless, for in the post-apocalyptic environments of Mad Max (1979), Radioactive Dreams (1985), Yukito Kishiro’s Battle Angel Alita and Kevin Costner’s Waterworld (1995), there is no chance of recovery, no hope for a better future; only an everlasting struggle for survival.


I consider myself Ottensian Dieselpunk. I was wondering in which category other's considered themselves.

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I'm neither. I'm Dellaroccan. :)

Choices, choices! I actually like both. I believe the "Ottensian" flavor is more suited for me; however, I am a lover of dystopian fiction and art found in the "Piecraftian" stories. Some of the "Piecraftian" dieselpunk is intertwined with cyberpunk.

The best way for sure.

Johnny Dellarocca said:

I'm neither. I'm Dellaroccan. :)

I love some of the darkwave goth esthetic that has infused into Dieselpunk and steampunk. My overall attitude though is definitely more upbeat, and based on the can-do attitude that saw people through the depression and World War II. I have a question to pose here: Is there some time overlap in which something could be considered both Dieselpunk and Steampunk? It seems to me that Steampunk has to end with the Wright Brothers, but I've noticed a lot of Edwardian themes and motifs creeping in to steampunk, especially here in America. Where do the WWI years fit in?

There's an entire thread on this site somewhere that discusses this. 

Ed Lacy said:

I love some of the darkwave goth esthetic that has infused into Dieselpunk and steampunk. My overall attitude though is definitely more upbeat, and based on the can-do attitude that saw people through the depression and World War II. I have a question to pose here: Is there some time overlap in which something could be considered both Dieselpunk and Steampunk? It seems to me that Steampunk has to end with the Wright Brothers, but I've noticed a lot of Edwardian themes and motifs creeping in to steampunk, especially here in America. Where do the WWI years fit in?

Im some weird inbetween between regular and dark Piecraftian.

With the palette of history and the brushes of imagination it would be a travesty to think this genre could only have two flavors.

My dieselpunk world is closer to the 1930's with the cause of the depression being global strife, civil wars and a survivalist mentality between nations.  Technology is retrograde, meaning better technology was available in the past but the current situation has resulted in the reliance on simpler techniques and machines.

Society has been segregated into gradient socioeconomic blocks with the nobles on top and the mendicants at the bottom.  Balancing individual rights against the rights of the state makes the government both essential and necessarily harsh.

But it is the hand you were dealt.

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