A Crash Course in Dieselpunk

Published April 3, 2014 by Jennifer Loring

This week I’m celebrating the sale of my novelette Beautiful Things to Fox & Raven Publishing. I figured it was the perfect time to post about the sub-genre in which Beautiful Things exists, that of dieselpunk. An offshoot of cyberpunk, dieselpunk lives in the shadow of its more famous cousin, steampunk. Wikipedia notes that “Dieselpunk is an art style based on the aesthetics popular between World War I and the end of World War II. The style combines the artistic and genre influences of the period (including pulp magazines, serial films, film noir, art deco, and wartime pin-ups) with postmodern technology and sensibilities.” My story, set several years before World War II, features art deco, jazz, secret societies, Nazis, werewolves, and diesel-based technology. I have to admit, it was absurdly fun to write. Here are a few images that inspired objects appearing in the story, just to give you an idea of the aesthetics:

commons.wikimedia.org

commons.wikimedia.org

 

Why dieselpunk? Well, every now and then I get the crazy idea to experiment in another genre. The original story started out as horror, but I wasn’t happy with it. I loved the imagery of dieselpunk, and it fit my story’s time period. I envisioned an alternate, art-deco Munich; werewolves on motorcycles; Nazi experiments with super-soldiers; and diesel-fueled airships sweeping over the cities and death camps. Despite all that, it somehow manages to be arguably the funniest thing I’ve ever written. I had originally intended to submit Beautiful Things to a dieselpunk anthology a couple years ago but didn’t finish it in time. Gradually it grew into a novelette, and the good news is that eventually I plan to write further adventures for my intrepid heroine and her favorite werewolf.

For all you ever wanted to know about dieselpunk, visit Dieselpunks.

6 comments on “A Crash Course in Dieselpunk

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