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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Definitely Ottensian and "Deco", but I'm not convinced we AREN'T in the future that they envisioned back in the day. Take a look around you, it's all built on that. It just doesn't look half as cool as a dieselpunk world would. But this is definitely a world built on the 20s and 30s ideals... with all of its charms and drawbacks.
I'm nuts about the WII-era superscience noir scene. Can't get enough. I like to think that my writing is one part Indiana Jones, one part Captain America, one part Band of Brothers, one part Atomic Robo, and one part The Shadow.

Ottensian, most definitely. Nazi super-science? Where?

While I usually think of the WWII years most when I think of my own personal dieselpunk world, I'm most definitely an Ottensian Dieselpunk. My costume is a variation on the Ace Aviator/Sky Captain. However, I do enjoy the mad scientist aspect of the other sub-genre.

Mostly Ottensian. That's because faith in the future, both for technological and social advancements, is typical of th latest XIX century (in the US, with progressivism) and the first half of the XX century, when a good dose of idealism was dropped after WWI. The fear of self-annihilation of Europe is around since the wars of religion and survived well beyond the "diesel era". Hope brings action and creativity, fear clouds the mind.
I think most dieselpunks while having a preference are a mix of the various flavors/ sub-classes. Using myself as an example, I consider myself Ottensian, especially Dark Ottensian, but I can still enjoy all of the other variations.

Agostino Ferraro said:

Mine is a mix of three different elements:

 

I think that's an important reason we need to keep the word "punk" in the genre. It reminds us about the need for individual expression in the genre.

 

Interesting design, btw. You could even use it in a scenario where the Axis won or at least where we lost Hawaii even if the US survived.

Agostino Ferraro said:

Larry,

 

I agree. No reason we can't enjoy all takes on it. I just happen to write in the theme I described above.

Ever thought about what would happen if war criminals from Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Imperialistic Japan took over Hawai'i? I imagine something like this:

 

The forum rules are:

  1. Don't be a dick
  2. Promote your creations!

In that order.

As long as you're not just link dumping (see rule #1), then it's more than cool to promote your work.  We're all here to share and inspire.


Agostino Ferraro said:

Larry,

 

I had a discussion about 'punk' with someone who insisted the only punk was 70s punk. That is, the punk music subculture. I felt a little odd having to go through the origins of the word with him... and he still refused to accept 'dieselpunk' or 'steampunk' as legitimate punk.

 

Whenever I go to a steam/dieselpunk event (rare these days due to health concerns), I imagine myself at club that exists at the crossroads of different alternate timelines, thus the reason there are so many different people with their unique representations of s/d-punk. And I quite enjoy hearing everyone's backstory. Always so rich.

As for the flag I shared.

 

1. I have a great team of artists working for me on my graphic novel. I can write, but lord I cannot draw.

2. The U.S. not only 'survived' they handedly won the great war... but they lost Hawai'i.

 

If you're interested: A Case of Do or Die. It's still in its infancy and we're taking a short break (again, health reasons). But I think you might like what we've done so far. Be sure to check out the teasers page for some great work by my artists.

 

And my apologies if I'm breaking forum rules by self-promoting.

I feel more like a retro-futurist who takes inspiration anywhere from the mid-aughts to the fifties, centered maybe on the late 20s-early 30s.  But ultimately I don't think dieselpunk is about styles or eras, but about redefining how humans fit into a modern, technological world; a protest, of sorts, that accepts and celebrates our technological accomplishments, but at the same time puts the human element at the center instead of shrinking it down to pixel-size, making us atoms in a vast network whose purpose, functioning, and controllers are totally opaque to most of us, and which hardly seems to be designed for ordinary people any more.
Very cool, deep thoughts there. I'm going to chew on that one for a while.

Caerulctor said:
I feel more like a retro-futurist who takes inspiration anywhere from the mid-aughts to the fifties, centered maybe on the late 20s-early 30s.  But ultimately I don't think dieselpunk is about styles or eras, but about redefining how humans fit into a modern, technological world; a protest, of sorts, that accepts and celebrates our technological accomplishments, but at the same time puts the human element at the center instead of shrinking it down to pixel-size, making us atoms in a vast network whose purpose, functioning, and controllers are totally opaque to most of us, and which hardly seems to be designed for ordinary people any more.
I do want to write something more on the subject at some time.  But for the time being, I'll just point to the Clean the Fan video, which offers a very small example of how essentially hostile modern technology has become to the practice of being human. If someone wants to design a dieselpunk computer, one way to go about it is to stick a rusty, olive drab corrugated metal casing over it and, if ambitious, put in some toggle switches or hook it to an old teletype keyboard.  But a more essentially dieselpunk computer would be, I think, one that you can (a) drop out of a second-story window, pick up, and have it still function and (b) repair by yourself with a manual, a wrench, a screwdriver, and a bit of elbow grease.  A machine which the designer has made on a human scale, for humans, whose owner is not only trusted but expected to take the lid off and poke around inside.

Larry said:
Very cool, deep thoughts there. I'm going to chew on that one for a while.

What the article calls 'Piecraftian dieselpunk' seems to me to be a brand of alternate history (some of it extrapolated from plausible scenarios), whereas Ottensian is more like a retro fantasy-land where history got broken in shipping. But there's so much overlap that most dieselpunk visions (such as Sky Captain) can be said to embrace both.

 

I love it in either form, but I'm not convinced there is a clear dichotomy, at least not with the provided examples...

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