Report from the darker, dirtier side #1

Posted by on October 3rd,2009

Babel Central Station by Sam Van Olffen

Brass Goggles has always celebrated the lighter side of steampunk: the cheerful and bright aspects of the genre, the goggles and the zeppelins and the brass; the sort of steampunk that we can all blissfully enjoy in colorful reminiscence of times past.

But there is more to the genre and to the movement than that. Indeed, from the very start, there were some rather dark and gloomy novels that anticipated the popularity of steampunk. Morlock Night (1979), The Steel Tsar (1981) and Homunculus (1986) aren’t exactly the sort of stuff one happily reads to the children. Even Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is pretty dense. And these days of course, we have the film noir-ish back alleys, the petroleum and the pollution and Nazi experiments run amock of dieselpunk.

It is from this “darker side” of things that I would like to bring you regular reports here at Brass Goggles for there is a lot going on that even the aficionado of the Neo-Victorian ought not to dismiss right away.

First, since rather recently, there is Tome’s website and community Dieselpunks to persue. With interviews with steampunk and dieselpunk artists, authors and musicians as well as a blog and discussion forums, Dieselpunks offers plenty of good stuff.

If you care to learn more about the fashion and lifestyle of dieselpunk, visit Gearing Up: a nifty blog updated every so many days with excellent pictures.

To learn more about the history of the genre, read the Dieselpunk Chronology of Steampunkopedia. The website also has an extended Steampunk Chronology on offer and is updated regularly with the latest in both genres.

Of course things aren’t always dark in dieselpunk (just think of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow) just as things aren’t always so bright in the realm of steampunk. The French blog Steamblog does a great job at showing how steampunk can be gloomy at times while the project Monsters in the Sky is worth checking out if you don’t object to gargantuan ironclads steaming ahead among the clouds.

That is all for this Report then. I shall be back with more news not too long from now. Stay tuned!

Artwork by Sam Van Olffen.