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Author Topic: Steampunk - Acceptable Variations Thereof  (Read 14743 times)
Jumpy Steve
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« on: January 25, 2008, 04:10:58 am »

And yes, I felt like making an odd Subject Title.  Anyhow, I have noticed that (though I believe we were first) there are several variations of Steampunk that are based on different technologies.  Dieselpunk, Atomicpunk, Cyberpunk, etc.  I realize that Steampunk is unique, but what connections are there?

I hear a lot of references to Dieselpunk across the boards, and it has me confused.  What is acceptable?  What is more Dieselpunk than Steampunk?  Other than the technologies that are behind the two, it becomes hard to draw the line, sometimes.  Steampunk is more of a "Make it Yours" thing, which can lead to many crossovers.  Honestly, I don't know how to word the question, other than asking you lot to start spouting out defining information.  Thanks.
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Jumpy Steve
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« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2008, 04:23:05 am »

Again, my good grammar fails me.  Time to mindlessly type in a few crossovers I've seen.

"Art Deco", it's Deiselpunky, but every Steampunk loves it. 

"Daft Punk", an awesome band(?), clearly Cyberpunk, but Steampunks love them.

It makes me think, are all of the (Enter Technology Here)punks so connected that, although we have our differences, we are like one big family with different branches?  Aren't we tolerant of these other branches, instead of saying things like "Rawr, Cyberpunks suck.  Woot, Steampunk!"?  And yes, I noticed the ?"! thing, right there.  I told you, it's late, and I'm tired.  No grammar for you.

And didn't Steampunk come first?
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Wrath the Mad
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« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2008, 04:23:56 am »

Well, you can seperate the genre by materials and tech:

Steampunk: Steam boilers, brass, glass, stained wood and black iron.

Dieselpunk: Bakalite, internal combustion, polished steel and chrome. Art Deco influences most designs.

Rocketpunk*: Cigar spaceships, nixie tubes, thermionic valves and "Less is more" inspired design.

Cyberpunk: Black and chrome, steel and rubber, extraneous vents, illuminated and exposed technology.

*on the fly name... Didn't know what else to call it.
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Jumpy Steve
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« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2008, 04:28:21 am »

I believe that is called "Atomicpunk", but I am not positive.  And yes, that is the easiest way of defining them.  Now, onto the "tolerance" question.
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Luella Dobson
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« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2008, 04:35:12 am »

I think that we ought to be a unique subculture in that, instead of trying to be all, "steampunk is the best!" we should be mannerly and encourage the branches that spring from steampunk.
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« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2008, 04:58:42 am »

As I see it, we're pretty tolerant folks, and love us some various-prefix-punks, be they diesel, rocket/atomic, cyber, sandal, etc...  I started a bit at the cyber/diesel end of the spectrum coming from goth/rivethead, and love it all, and there are a lot of people who came to steam from other subcultures, be they prefix-punk or otherwise.

I think sometimes we might be a bit holier-than-thou to some other subcultures because there's a fairly large DIY contingent among us both because of the relative ease to make the new old (as opposed to the other way around...which isn't to say that making the new old is easy, it takes a lot of work, but you can cram a laptop into a larger case with a greater ease than you can put it in a smaller one and control it with DNI), and because it's part of the whole steam aesthetic that technology is accessible to the common person; I can take a steam engine down to its base components and build it back up, but I'd like to see you do that with a PC and get a working machine again in the end.

Also, anachronism is part of the fun of it, and diesel and steam mix fairly well, same way that diesel and rocket/atomic mix, though maybe we need to cram something in between rocket/atomic and cyber, since there's a fairly sizable gap between the tech of the two.
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« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2008, 05:03:31 am »


   And let us not forget Teslapunk.  For those of us who like to play with lightning amidst all this steam.

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« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2008, 05:11:36 am »

From what I have seen, they go like this.

Steampunk: Clean, fancy machines and Victorian brass (double meaning)  (past)

Dieselpunk: Greasy, dark and rugged, the more military side.   (more present than anything, sometimes future)

Cyberpunk: Down on the luck street urchins and computer systems galore. (almost always future)
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« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2008, 05:20:38 am »

For me, dieselpunk is alternative 1920s-World War II, with art deco, WWII style aircraft, fascist villians, bizarre technology. Examples would have to be rocketeer, sky captain, crimson skies, indiana jones (just a little bit, did you know that the creepy nazi from raiders was originally supposed to have a rather dieselpunky cryborg arm?)

Atomicpunk would be a "punkified" version of what sci-fi was, and what they thought the future would be, in the 1950s. A good example would be the Fallout series.

These, with steampunk included, all have definate genre potential. I love all three. I just love all things retro.
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Atlas Rune
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« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2008, 05:30:48 am »

But, if you look closely at the fallout series, it end up pointing to technology of the past, around the 60s and such. All computers are tape reel and other clunky stuff. It almost makes it more of a dieselpunk, but is dystopian.
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Klynt Mahryd
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« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2008, 05:40:26 am »

But, if you look closely at the fallout series, it end up pointing to technology of the past, around the 60s and such. All computers are tape reel and other clunky stuff. It almost makes it more of a dieselpunk, but is dystopian.

Yeah, but it was very 1950s-early 1960s, and dealt with atomic weapons and atomic power. Which I believe should be called atomicpunk.

I think dieselpunk is generally 1920s-WWII.
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Atlas Rune
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« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2008, 05:44:41 am »

Hmm, good point on that...
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Klynt Mahryd
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« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2008, 05:51:18 am »

I guess we're seperating -punks into sources of energy for the era it's based on. Steampunk is pretty obvious, steam. In the era of dieselpunk, it was mostly petroleum, such as gasoline and diesel. Many of the big machines and vehicles ran on diesel, I guess that's what the name came from. And Atomicpunk, well, people in the 50s thought that atomic power would be the future of energy.

Cyberpunk, well, I guess that would be an era dependent on computers and circuitry. Which would be....today, I guess. Undecided Grin

Of course, energy-sources are not in the least what the majority of the punks are about, but you get the idea.
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EdwardBone
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« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2008, 07:04:59 am »

Don't forget Stonepunk, guys!

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Ben Franklin's Electric Kite
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« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2008, 07:41:58 am »

Is anyone 'sailpunk'? Perhaps I shall aspire to be sailpunk.
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Atlas Rune
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« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2008, 07:43:42 am »

Whenever I think of different types of airships, I always come to one idea, a small sloop, with sails set up on all sides, so that it can fly...
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Wrath the Mad
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« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2008, 08:23:33 am »

Stonepunks, lol! Those guys were hardcore.
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Stirling_Cycle
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« Reply #17 on: January 25, 2008, 08:25:37 am »

Is anyone 'sailpunk'? Perhaps I shall aspire to be sailpunk.

I think I shall aspire to be... me?
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« Reply #18 on: January 25, 2008, 08:38:38 am »

I think I shall aspire to be... me?
That does sound worthwhile....
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EdwardBone
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« Reply #19 on: January 25, 2008, 08:41:56 am »

Stonepunks, lol! Those guys were hardcore.


Might I mention coconutpunk as well?

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« Reply #20 on: January 25, 2008, 05:13:49 pm »

Rocketpunk*: Cigar spaceships, nixie tubes, thermionic valves and "Less is more" inspired design.
That sounds quite a bit like the sorts of technologies found in the Lensmen series by E.E. 'Doc' Smith.

Hmmm... considering it, I may have to put together an outfit or two along those lines...
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Roderick Hellyer
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« Reply #21 on: January 25, 2008, 06:35:21 pm »

Hello everyone,

For me, one of the keys of the success of Steampunk is that tolerance you mentioned Steve.  While any gathering of humans will create a natural move towards both politics and stratification, I feel the steampunk community manages those two aspects of human congregation quite well and it is because of tolerance, civility and no small amount of the fact that many people have had experiences in one or more of the other subcultures out there.

I particularly enjoy seeing a wide range of people both in age and in experience bring such a diverse range of skills and ideas to the culture and these forums.  I also (watch out personal opinion here ) believe that Steampunk is the worthy successor to the Romantic period and the ideals of individuality that the romantics embodied more then another sub culture in modern industrial society.

the trick is now to maintain the tolerance , retain the individuality in the face of any future onslaughts of mass media and all the problems that could bring.

heres to the future...

Respectfully

R. Hellyer
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« Reply #22 on: January 25, 2008, 06:49:52 pm »

Stonepunks, lol! Those guys were hardcore.

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« Reply #23 on: January 25, 2008, 06:55:23 pm »

Steve: These genres are all about extrapolating the science and technology from bygone eras. Those names like dieselpunk just help to define what era we are talking. Since it is in essence "period sci-fi" is means that the technology will need to have the style of the era, such as art deco. Otherwise it just looks like any plain science fiction. A space shuttle in the 1930 would just seem wrong. I for one dislike the use of ray guns in steampunk, because it just doesn´t seem period to me.

As for tolerance, I recently met a guy who was into dieselpunk. I punched him in the face and kicked him when he was laying on the ground. I will not tolerate such abominations. Really, what do you want? Guidelines on who you can and can´t hang out with?
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« Reply #24 on: January 25, 2008, 07:49:20 pm »

Perhaps I shall aspire to be sailpunk.
wouldn't that be pirates and buccaneer's (pirates of the Caribbean anyone)
or a fantasy setting with flying ships (
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