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

Atonement Video Cover copy

Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

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Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

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The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 


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.

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