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What is Dieselpunk and Why Should I Care?

So you like steampowered, 19th century, foggytown based stories. You’re a steampunker, through and through. Have you heard of dieselpunk? And if so, should you even care?

The answer is…uhh…yeah!

Dieselpunk is commonly set post-WWI (or The Great War as it was called back in the day). It has a dirty, grimy look and feel.

For a taste, check out Tin-Can Tommies: Darkest Hour.

Someone once asked “Is Mad Max a steampunk story?” To which the answer is a hard no.

Despite having goggles, small planes, and mechanicals, Mad Max is VERY oriented toward a dystopian wasteland where gasoline is the currency of the day.

The sense of etiquette and protocol that may have graced a Victorian era of England is absolutely gone in this the land of Mad Max. And often any dieselpunk story.

(By the way, if you haven’t seen ANY of the Mad Max franchise, I highly recommend watching The Road Warrior. It really capture the charm you like from steampunk combined with the wasteland feel of dieselpunk!)

Does this mean it’s not for you? Not at all.

A main character that faces impossible odds and is struggling against not just a “baddie” but the world around them is enough to draw me in. Despite being neither of these two genres, the Hunger Games ALSO drew me in with its gripping story and challenge.

Another piece of the dieselpunk puzzle is that after the Great War, there was an alarming rise in fascism and socialism. Nations had reached this point where they could effect warlike change in rapid time. And it was scary. This makes the surrounding climate fierce and tense. And what does any good story need? Something for the main character to fear.

A hint of this world war making power was shown in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.

So if you enjoy stories tied in with technology, but a little grittier, then perhaps you should give dieselpunk a shot!

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  • 7 Dieselpunk Novels You Should Be Reading • YA Steampunk

    […] we’ve gathered an awesome collection of dieselpunk novels. Dieselpunk is the gritty, grimy era usually set between WWI and WWII. It can be mixed with magic or other strange stuff. It’s steampunk’s little brother, […]

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