Dieselpunk for Beginners – A World Where the 1940’s Never Ended

Imagine a world where the ’40s never ended—a world where even as technology advanced, the threat of Fascism continued to loom, film noir and screwball comedies were still all the rage, and swing bands and Arrow collars were still the height of fashion.

You might think that technology would stagnate in such a world, along with the cultural aesthetic, but instead, technology advances further and faster than we could imagine. Think Colt .45s that can also shoot transporter beams; brass fighter pilot goggles, made of leather and equipped with Google Glass; bomber jackets lined with fiber-optic transmitters; super-sonic trains racing with zeppelins that can break the sound barrier; robotic bartenders who greet you with a tip of the fedora once you’ve given the secret password to enter the speakeasy, where mellow jazz plays over a lazy techno beat.

And the password to enter this world fused from the past and the future?

Dieselpunk.

 

If you know anything about the ’punks of the day, you probably know about steampunk, the thriving Victoriana-based fashion, literary, and artistic movement that marries futuristic sci-fi and a love of vintage cool stuff. But the historical punk movements don’t just stop at the brass gadgets, bustle-bedecked fashions, and clockwork mechanisms that steampunk does so well. Over the last decade, steampunk, itself a derivative of cyberpunk, has given rise to an entire litany of offshoots: stitchpunk, elfpunk, desertpunk, clockpunk, Teslapunk, nanopunk, biopunk, atompunk, insert-cool-historical-period-or-innovative-concept-here-punk.

Among them all, dieselpunk occupies a unique position: sandwiched between the vast industrial revolution and multi-generational stretch of the steampunk era, and the short but iconic sci-fi-friendly era of the ’50s known as atompunk. Dieselpunk has, at best, three decades to its provenance. Hallmarked by the advent of diesel engines for major machinery, particularly war machines, dieselpunk begins roughly around the time of the first World War, and finds its apotheosis in the second.

If steampunk’s calling card is a dazzling spectacle of brass, clockwork, and earth tones, then dieselpunk’s is steel and chrome mixing with the grime and grit of modern machinery, the nostalgia of unironic patriotism, and a touch of the misery and existential dread that accompanies modernism.

“It’s dirtier, grimier, edgier than steam,” says a member of the Dragonfly Armory at the packed Dieselpunk 101 panel at Dragon Con 2013. They’re a group of cosplayers committed to their aesthetic. “Everyone carries a weapon,” instructs their website: “grenades, flame-throwers, handguns, shotguns, machine guns, you name it.”

Read more at The Daily Dot – Dieselpunk for Beginners: Welcome to a world where the ’40’s never ended

Other great sources to learn more about dieselpunk, steampunk and all kinds of other punk are:

Main/Diesel Punk  – TV Tropes & Idioms

“How Dieselpunk Works” 

Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

 

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