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This Is Dieselpunk

It’s been a long time coming, my explanation of what “Dieselpunk” is and why it’s the most important genre of them all. And since I’ve been asked this question a lot, I have a lot of practice and because of the work I’ve done, I’ve become an accidental authority on what is, and what isn’t dieselpunk. I’ve been a dieselpunk long before there ever was a word “dieselpunk,” and I’ve seen many other names for it come and go along the way, too. But for now, since "Dieselpunk" is the name of whatever “this” is, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to switch anytime soon.

So, here it is - the answer to the question, "What Is Dieselpunk?"

According to Wikipedia;

“Dieselpunk is a genre like that of its more well-known cousin "steampunk" that combines the aesthetics of the diesel-based technology of the interwar period through to the 1950s with retro-futuristic technology and postmodern sensibilities.”

Wikipedia continues to define it under “origins:”

The name "dieselpunk" is a derivative of the 1980s science fiction genre cyberpunk, and is used to represent the time period - or "era" - from the interwar period until the 1950s, when diesel-based locomotion was the main technological focus of Western culture.[7] The "-punk" suffix attached to the name is representative of the counterculture nature of the genre with regards to its opposition to contemporary aesthetics.[4] The term also refers to the tongue-in-cheek[8] name given to a similar cyberpunk derivative, "steampunk," which focuses on science fiction based on industrial steam power and which is often set within the Victorian era.”

Because it's from Wikipedia, folks seem to think that's "the" definition. but what we really need is the defninition from an actual Dieselpunk like Andrew Gearwood from Dieselpunk HQ.

We're in luck, because this is waht he has to say:

"Dieselpunk is a contemporary retrofuturist movement that takes its inspiration from the first half of the 20th century and mixes in anachronistic and/or advanced technologies to create a new imagined speculative and fictional alternative world view."

But from all the reading, writing, and observations I've made over the years I've discovered that Dieselpunk is whatever you or I say it is, so long as it reflects retro-futuristic elements of the 20’s, 40’s and sometime around the mid-50’s.

For myself and The Fedora Chronicles: Dieselpunk is simply maintaining the style aesthetic of the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, and the absolute cut off is somewhere between the start or the mid-50’s. Anything more than that, and you’re over-complicating it. Dieselpunk is maintaining any style aspect of that specific period of human history and what you want to intertwine in your life is totally up to you.

From there, we have two extremes of Dieselpunk: The Naturalist Dieselpunk and The Retrofuturist Dieselpunk.

Here are are some other examples of how you might be dieselpunk...

Dieselpunk is more than a mere style or pursuing a specific aesthetic as well.

The "punk" aspect of Dieselpunk is an act of passive aggression against the modern establishment that dictates to everyone what you can and cannot wear. More specifically, the people who write the ridiculous “What’s in, what’s out” articles in fashion magazines that range from Esquire, Maxim, Playboy… and the countless other rags published for women. Dieselpunk is especially against the women’s fashion rags that dictate everything old is bad and everything new is good – and everything that’s good now will be bad in a few short weeks. We are openly against the self-appointed authority in a fashion industry that expects us to throw out all our clothes we bought last season and spend a fortune on this seasons fashions, only to throw out this season's fashions when this one is over and the next season arrives. We will not bow or paly alms to the cult of “The Catwalk.”

Dieselpunk is the declaration of war against the establishment that demands conformity. It’s a solid punch in the face towards people that demand that we dress a specific way and kneel before the altar of hyper-consumerism, Dieselpunk is the full-blown repudiation against aspects of modern society that demeans and belittle those of us who know that “new” doesn’t always mean “better” in their attempt to blame us for not constantly updating to the latest model while blaming us for the technological oligarchy’s profit losses.

If you haven’t’ guessed yet, there is – or there should be – an anti-authoritarian element of dieselpunk. As dieselpunks, we reject the notion of there being any self-appointed ‘leader’ or authority of this genre and counter-culture movement.

Dieselpunk is also a celebration of rugged individualism from the aforementioned time; not so that we can live like hermits but so that we can be greater contributors to the dieselpunk community. The stronger we are as individual dieselpunks, the better the dieselpunk community.

One of the most important aspects to remember when discussing what is or what isn’t dieselpunk is that this debate is one of the most popular activities among dieselpunks. My definition of Dieselpunk is meant to me to be more inclusive and allows a “big tent” approach to making sure that nobody is the dieselpunk communities feel excluded or left out. Other dieselpunks are more restrained in what the word means and what the genre is to them or what it should be to everyone else.

Dieselpunk is Dieselpunk and will remain so as artists, writers, builders and all other creators of any material incorporate the style aesthetic of that era into their projects and products.

Now, what is your definition of "dieselpunk?"