Wednesday Writing — The Punk of Punk

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Greendragon-Gecko at Pixabay

Happy Hump Day, Everyone.  Thanks for visiting my sanctuary. This is  my safe haven where we can relax in the comfort and encouragement of each other’s presence — free of bullies and passive aggressive princesses.  Although, I’m allowing certain “punks.”  That’s my prerogative as proprietress and bouncer.

I wrote the first version of this post two years ago. Lately several people have told me that they weren’t familiar with #Steampunk before they got onboard The Delta Pearl (my weekend serial), so I’m revamping the information and sharing again.  

After I started writing a serial, Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers, back in 2015, I realized that I was writing steampunk.  (I’m waiting to “bookize” that serial until I finish the second adventure for my fictional version of Cornelis Drebbel, the Alchemist of that story.)  Fiona Finch and the Pink Valentine is another of my steampunk stories.

Anyhow, suddenly aware that I was writing in a genre, I had to learn about it.  To my surprise, there were all sorts of “punks,” including and beyond steampunk. 

PINK Steampunk girl umbrella-2 facing Ractapopulous Pixabay
Ractapopulous at Pixabay (tomfoolery by Teagan)

Punk, regardless of type, includes the ascetic as well as the level of technology that is likely to exist during the era of the story.   In fact, the list of “punks” goes on and on, and the definitions for each punk vary greatly.  No matter what definition you choose, someone will disagree.

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.

Any kind of punk tends to have a fantasy or science fiction element added to the mix.  One thing that tends to be a common thread is an element of rebellion, or characters who are off-beat, misfits, or outcasts.  You know I love to write that kind of character.  Now, remember, that’s just one simplified definition.  

I’m giving you a few examples. However, things don’t always get listed in the “punk” where I’d think they would fall.  

Let’s start with steampunk.

Steampunk would have technology at the level of steam engines (as in the late 1800s to the early 1900s).  It usually looks like a slightly off-kilter version of the Victorian Era, sometimes called (no surprise) the Steam Era.  While it’s far from the first thing I would consider, a widely accepted example of steampunk is Dinotopia (books and movies). 

Even though he lived long before the genre was named, a great example of a steampunk author is Jules Verne.  You can find some of his stories free at Project Gutenberg.

Diesel Forces, dieselpunk art by Stefan Prohaczka at Wikipedia
Diesel Forces, dieselpunk art by Stefan Prohaczka at Wikipedia

Dieselpunk comes next, here on my unofficial list.  Most would place diesel-punk as an era following steampunk.  It 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.

Diesel-punk stories often include a lot of black smoke from those engines.  I’ve seen Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow given as an example of diesel-punk.  My series Hullaba Lulu (hopefully book-ized soon) is diesel-punk.  

Wheel cover 1
Image by Teagan R. Geneviene

Atompunk comes next.  It usually falls into the period of 1945 – 1965, the Atomic Age, or the Space Age.  It includes things like mid-century Modernism, the USA’s space program, Sputnik, the moon landing, radioactivity, and paranoia about Communism.

My current novel in progress could be listed as atompunk.  It’s quite a genre mashup, but the element is there.

Cyberpunk, let’s not forget that. It has been described as the first punk genre.  However, sometimes I’ve seen stories called cyberpunk, which don’t conform to the “time line” method in which I’m approaching this post. 

Cyberpunk plots tend to center on artificial intelligences, hackers, and mega-corporations.  These tales are often set in a near-future Earth, rather than times far-flung into future, or long ago and faraway.  Many cyberpunk stories are post-industrial dystopias.  They might include weird cultural alterations or use technology in ways never anticipated by the inventors.  Cyberpunk’s atmosphere reminds some people of film noir.  The film Blade Runner is an example of cyberpunk.

For a comprehensive article — although it is 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 didn’t 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.  That link goes to a massive list of all genres, but it includes their breakdown on various forms of punk.

While you probably never thought about it, there is such a thing as Tesla-punk!  One day I will write Tesla-punk.  A certain pigeon keeps asking to have her story told.

Sphinx Tesla Tower
Image by Teagan R. Geneviene

Leave a comment and let me know what kind of punk you enjoy.  Or maybe you want me to try one kind of punk or another that I haven’t written yet.  I love to hear from you. Be well, be happy. 

Hugs on the wing!


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 and 2020 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

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73 thoughts on “Wednesday Writing — The Punk of Punk

  1. Very interesting article, Teagan! Can’t say I was really aware of Teslapunk, but it’s something I’ll have to look into. Ive been interested in steampunk for a while now, and it was one of the first genres I started writing in. I’m also a fan of cyberpunk and post-cyberpunk, too.

    Biopunk is another ‘punk’ I’ve come across a few times, with its exploration of genetic modification and its impact. The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi is a good example, depicting a setting where such technology has impacted every layer of society for good or ill. I’ve also developed an interest in solarpunk, which focuses on environmental issues and adaptation to them. New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson is a favourite of mine, following the lives of various New Yorkers in a future where their city has been turned into a ‘SuperVenice’ of flooded streets due to rising sea levels. I’d highly recommend both books if you have an interest in their respective genres.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That was very interesting, Teagan. LOL, the first Punk & only Punk I was aware of was Sid Vicious, Johnny Rotten/ Sex Pistols, The Knack, New York Dolls, etc.
    Then later, someone referred to one of my Art Gowns (Lady Anne) as Steam Punk. Now you have added to my knowledge, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I never realized there was so many different types of punk. I’m very curious what you will write for telsa-punk:) Great post, Teagan!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Denise. I’m happy you enjoyed it. Oh, my Teslapunk story is completely off the rails. However I only have the setting and a beginning, not a whole story. It’s fermenting in one of the windmills of my mind. LOL. Hmmm… maybe I can use it for my next 3 things serial. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I had no idea there were so many punk genres. Sounds so complicated. Not that I’m well-read across the board, but I do love the steam-punk genre. It’s accessible and I love anything “clockwork.” A fun post, Teagan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wouldn’t that be cool, Mae? I’m just taking the word of punk aficionados that there is Teslapunk. I’ve never seen it either. Although when I finished Hullaba Lulu (my fictional Tesla was a character), I had a story in mind for him. Hard to resist. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Wow! Actually, I’ve never been a Punk-Fan when it comes as a music genre but as Art’s Style as you suggest it looks fascinating 😊👍 Thank you lovely Teagan. Have a nice Hump Day 🙏💖 Hugs
    PS: I thought about Cyberpunk and it reminded me if there would be a Spacepunk, with the Aliens! 🤣🤣💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, the Wild, Wild West absolutely is steampunk, GP. I was young, but the TV basically raised me. During that timeframe, I gobbled up imaginative shows, like that one and Star Trek, and Twilight Zone, and of course Batman. LOL. I loved their train and all the gadgets. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Beth. It’s good to see you. I’m delighted you had a good time with this post. When I first learned the term steampunk, I was excited that there was actually a category for the stories I enjoyed most, a name for them. Later, it was just as exciting to learn about all the other punks. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for the explanation, Teagan. I never understood, not did I imagine I would like steampunk until I found myself totally engrossed with “Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers.” Once I made the connection, I realized I had always enjoyed it. So far, I’ve enjoyed all your punks. I’m looking forward to many more books and serials.

    I hope you’re having a good week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ya know! It was kind of a “duh moment” for me back then. “Oh, I’m writing steampunk…”
      My week has nowhere to go but up, so hoping to have a great rest of the week. Hoping the same for you and yours. Thanks for reading and commenting. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Priscilla. I think it would be hard (at least for me) to feel certain what cyberpunk should look and sound like, since it seems so similar to regular science fiction. Maybe it’s a matter of having just the right touch. Thanks for reading and commenting. Hugs on the wing!


  7. Fascinating. I also had to check as I wasn’t familiar with the punk genres. I’ve read steampunk and read and watched some ciberpunk (well, and your serials), but I’m looking forward to other genres. I’m eager to read you next novel as well, Teagan. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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