The Punk of I Don’t Know — the Punk of Punk

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Welcome to my sanctuary — an oasis free of politics, religion, and the judgments that often go with both.  It’s my safe haven where we can relax in the comfort and encouragement of each other’s presence — free of bullies and passive aggressive princesses.  I’m allowing certain “punks.”  That’s my prerogative as proprietress and bouncer.

Not that kind of bouncer…  Anyhow, since we’re in my sanctuary, I don’t mind telling you that I’m a continuous learner.  I have to be, because there are so many things I don’t know about. 

After I started writing Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers back in 2015, I realized that I was writing steampunk.  (See episode 1 of that serial here.)  So I had to learn about that genre. 

Small Cornelis steampunk man dreamstime_xxl_87472463
Cornelis Drebbel the Alchimest, purchased at Dreamstime

Later I ran into blogger/author Sarah Zama and found that all sorts of “punk” existed.  That included diesel-punk and several others.  In fact, the list of “punks” goes on and on. (Sarah has a post filled with gorgeous Art Deco things.)  Yes, deco-punk is one of the genres out there too.

The definitions for each punk vary greatly, so I’m not making any proclamations here.  Some punks aren’t defined by the era of the technology.  I’m not going to dig into those.  Here, I’m going to stick with what I can order based on a loose timeline.

A widely accepted example of steampunk is Dinotopia (books and movies). 

Some would place diesel-punk as an era following steampunk, and define both according to the level of technology used.  Steampunk would be technology at the level of steam engines (as in the late 1800s to the early 1900s). 

Meanwhile diesel-punk would be the next step forward, with black smoke from those engines.  I’ve seen Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow given as an example of diesel-punk.  Diesel-punk has been described as a setting during the “interwar period,”  the period between the end of the First World War in November 1918 and the beginning of the Second World War in September 1939.

Also, punks of any kind tend to have a fantasy or science fiction element added to the mix. There is usually an element of rebellion or characters who are outcasts.  Now, remember, that’s just one simplified definition

I only list a few examples. Things don’t always get listed in the “punk” where I’d think they would fall.  So I still have a lot of punk to learn.

Rose Enters Station portal
Characters in Hullaba Lulu wait for the train, by Rob Goldstein

Anyway, I found that I loved writing about these things.  So when Rob Goldstein wanted to work with me, illustrating a 1920s series, I was excited to make it a diesel-punk story.  Hullaba Lulu was born.  To me Lulu makes a good diesel-punk character.  She is lovably snarky, rebels against convention, and is a bit of an outcast, just like the song “Don’t Bring Lulu.”  That serial continues at my Jazz Age Wednesdays posts. 

For a comprehensive article — just one take on the many different explanations of all the “punks” out there, you might check this post, Punkpunk: A Compendium of Literary Punk GenresI don’t know if I agree with everything stated there, as I said there are almost as many different definitions as there are write-ups.  However,  it is an interesting read with a lot of information.

Naturally, Wikipedia has a good list as well.  It includes atompunk, which I’ve seen called atomic-punk or atomic fiction.  That usually has technology from 1945 to 1965, or the Atomic Age.  Think of it as retro-futuristic science fiction or “Raygun Gothic.”  I’d like to try my hand at that some time. 

In case you were wondering, yes, there is such a thing as Tesla-punk

Sphinx Tesla Tower
Image by Teagan R. Geneviene

Leave a comment and let me know what kind of punk you enjoy.  I love to hear from you.


Here’s my own shameless non-punk self-promotion… at least no punk yet

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This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

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86 thoughts on “The Punk of I Don’t Know — the Punk of Punk

  1. Teagan, wow, so many punks in the world. I had to look it up! So, Mad Max was diesel punk too! I only know Deco Punk of the 20s and 50s. The Art Deco version, everything chrome! It’s amazing history and you’ve captured it incredibly in your series, Love the Steampunk fashion: clothes, hairstyles, jewelry and make up! Love Lulu!! 📚 Christine

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Christine, it’s good to see you. I love the look and fashions too.
      I was looking just now… The popular consensus seems to be that Mad Max has *elements* of dieselpunk, but I think it’s mostly post apocalyptic science fiction, not true “punk” of any sort. But you know how opinionated people can get over unimportant things… What is which punk and not seems to be hotly, or at least “snark-ily” debated.
      I’m so glad you’re enjoying Hullaba Lulu. You’re the kitten’s ankles!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I had no idea there were so many punks! I grew up in the 70’s and I was or me and my pack were thought of as Punks!
    I had no idea about Steampunk until my first Dicken’s Faire about 5 yrs ago. I loved it and, oh, how I wished I was young and could wear the female clothes! I’m always ahead or late for the fashion era I love!

    I’m loving your Lulu story, and the punks in it, so I’ll live vicariously through you and Lulu, and get the visual images for the roaring twenties fashions and steam and diesel punk through Rob’s wonderful art.
    You two are a great team for this story!

    BTW: my tassel earrings came in today- they’re tassel mild. I showed you which ones I bought. OMG! I LOVE THEM!! I will be wearing them everyday! I wished I didn’t wear a turquoise blue T with white jeans today, and wore a green T instead so I could switch earrings straight-away. I didn’t so I will wear them tomorrow to dinner with He-Man. I love this brand. There are several earrings featuring green that I love. I have another pair in my cart. It’s a new month…I may forgo a photography trip to get them. They’re that great!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Deborah. Your comment has really made me smile. I’m so glad you like those earrings. That’s such a feel-good thing, especially when you’re a person gems “speak to.” I hope you and He-Man make dinner a terrific date night.

      “I’m always ahead or late for the fashion era I love!” My friend, that is my life story. o_O
      Punk in stories is similar but different to Punk music. But they both have an element of rebellion, of embracing misfits. To me, punk stories of any sub-punk genre are a touch snarky in uninhibitedly mixing fantasy, quirky “tech”, and a given look with whichever era or culture. It’s a sort of whimsy even in the darker stories.

      It makes me happy that you’re enjoying Hullaba Lulu. I’m so glad you’re on the train! Thanks so much for visiting. You’re the oyster’s earrings!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Teagan's Books and commented:

    Celebrating Post No. 500!
    I meant to keep an eye out for what post would be my 500th… Naturally, when it finally came up, I had forgotten. So here it is/was. Suitably (since I’ve felt unsettled for so long) it’s about “I don’t know!” 😀
    I just wanted to do a little happy dance.
    I’ll be back with a Saturday post. Hugs!


  4. So good to be here again, and I love it when I am here.. I have missed a lot that will be waiting for me to catch up with Lulu.. And you educate me all the time. I had no idea there were so many variations on a theme of Punk..
    Back in my younger days Punks were all about shaved heads with Mohawk hair styles safety pins in ears and nose lol .. and terrible Music.. LOL.. But then I come from a era of Mods and Rockers.. I will leave you to guess which I was? 🙂
    Sending huge hugs and what ever you write Teagan is fine with me.. ALL your styles and stories are brilliant.. ❤
    Much love my friend ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mello, it’s great to see you. I didn’t at first… and until I started this post I didn’t know about the long list of ones I didn’t include here. Really odd things like “manners punk” and many others that made even less sense to me. Thanks for visiting. Hugs!


  5. I’m kind of a punk in the original music sense but I have to say I know very little about the different punk genres so this was very interesting. I think my first foray into it was Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series, which I think could fall into that genre (?) but it’s all very fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Andrea. I’ve dug into the music vs. literature use of the word “punk” and haven’t found a solid answer. From what I can tell, the only connection between punk music and steam(or other)punk stories (and fashion) is the coincidence of use of the word “punk.” So there are similarities — both are a departure from the established norm. Rockers and characters are both portrayed as somewhat rebellious, and not necessarily fitting in with the people around them. Other than that, there doesn’t seem to be a connection or a shared root between the music and the stories. I think “punk” is simply an adjective used for both.

      As for the literature and movies, Cyberpunk was the original punk (think Blade Runner). The ones I mentioned would flow from that (whether forward in time or back). But there are a lot of other punks that don’t seem to use that sort of reasoning (for lack of the right word).
      Thanks for visiting. Huge hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. “Steampunk is…a joyous fantasy of the past, allowing us to revel in a nostalgia for what never was. It is a literary playground for adventure, spectacle, drama, escapism and exploration. But most of all it is fun

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! Oh, well done, Mihran. That’s a wonderful quote from George Mann. I was not familiar with him, but now I really want to read his books.
      Thanks so much for this lovely comment. Hugs!


  7. I definitely love steampunk, Teagan, and have read a fair amount of it over the last couple of years, including even a vampire steampunk series, ha. But then, some of these books may have been crossovers to diesel punk or other punkhoods I didn’t recognize at the time. They almost all had airships that looked pretty much like pirate ships, only powered by steam instead of sails, and quasi-Victorian clothing, etc. And ALL of them were fun! I need to learn more about the differences between the punks, for sure, and I also need to check out yours! Thanks for an interesting post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Marcia. I’d love to have you aboard the diesel-punk train.
      I’ve kept the “punk” to the devices and the train, rather than the clothes. Roaring Twenties fashions are already divine!
      Thanks for taking time to visit today. Great big hug!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. All the punks are confusing, but I have steam technology in my Wisp books, so I guess that makes them Steampunk? I was an original punk who melded seamlessly into a goth, in real life and that comes across in my characters and written work. A new category, GothPunk. It’s probably already out there. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for the explanation on the different punks, Teagan. I’d be lost on where to start writing in any of the punk genres. I haven’t read anything other than your stuff in either steam or diesel punk. Cheers to you for succeeding. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I must say, Teagan, that I don’t know much about punk. I do know that I love Lulu and the tale of her grand adventure. I am also having to do lots of lovely research for my writing at the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too, Deborah. I love the quirky combination of Victorian ruffles, parasols, top hats and such with retro-technology. I haven’t taken the Lulu story’s fashions into the “punk” aspect, but the train a gadgets would be punk. Thanks for taking time to visit. I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend. Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. To be totally honest, I am only familiar with Steampunk and Deisel-Punk. I absolutely love Hullabalu Lulu! Everything about it appeals to me and you are doing a fabulous job of writing it! Of course, it goes without saying, Rob’s artwork brings your words to life! Love it.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. You keep on writing Teagan and educate me about punk and what it means. There is never a dull moment when reading your stories and books.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Rob — so do I.
      I don’t claim any expert knowledge, but the 2 seem to overlap, making it hard to distinguish. But as I see it, that is realistic, because innovations and their popular use overlapped the Victorian Era (steampunk) and the 1920s (including the period between the 2 World Wars) being dieselpunk.
      For me the look is the difference, more so than the technology. Steampunk looks Victorian and Edwardian. Dieselpunk has different clothes, shorter skirts, and is more likely to have black smoking engines.
      Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I have to admit, when I was reading “Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers” I didn’t understand anything about punk. I just liked the story, and I didn’t think you could write anything more curiously interesting than that. With Lulu, you have captured my imagination again. What amazes me, a person not normally drawn to fantasy, is how this all seems so plausible, even though I’m sure it’s quite impossible. The illustrations in this latest story give it a rich new flavor.

    Thanks for the punk education. I love learning about this stuff.

    I hope you have a great weekend. The heatwave has broken up here, I hope you are cooling off.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes — thank all that’s holy! It was actually nice when I went out earlier, Dan. The past few weeks, it’s would already be stifling at 7AM.
      Thanks for this comment. It was a silly “Duh!” moment for me when I suddenly realized I was writing steampunk with the Copper story. When that happened I made a big effort to learn more about the genre.
      I enjoy the inherent contradictions in any punk — the futuristic feel of archaic technology, whimsy often touched with a bit of darkness, and somewhat misfit characters.
      That you (or anyone) is enjoying something they wouldn’t normally like, is the greatest compliment I can imagine.
      (Oh, and Lulu will be glad you’re back on burgers!) Happy weekend hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I knew about steampunk and have read a novel I really enjoyed on that genre (and some stories…) and, of course, I’m reading your serial, but I’ll have to investigate further, although I can’t see myself writing in any of these genres, but, who knows? Thanks, Teagan and have a great weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jan. That’s how I was. I think I still like the “look” of steampunk best of all the punks. Although atompunk looks wonderfully quirky. Any of them appeal to my “What if” mind. What if things were just a little different in this way or that.
      Thanks for visiting. Happy weekend hugs.


    1. That was my reaction too, Geoff. I only mentioned the “punks” that would fit in a linear timeline, so to speak. There were some very odd ones that I might find tedious. I’m amazed by all sub-genres out there for every genre.
      I agree — I’d love to try an atompunk story one day. Happy weekend hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

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