BioShock

BioShock
BioShock

One of the risks that any genre faces is that by defining its boundaries too rigidly, it ends up telling the same story over and over again.

2K Games’ BioShock, while firmly dieselpunk, manages to avoid the obvious settings of the 1930s metropolis or World War II and stays original and unusual while making elements of both backgrounds integral to its own bizarre, self-contained world. Continue reading “BioShock”

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Though they were conceived and produced long before the term “dieselpunk” was coined, the Indiana Jones films remain some of the most seminal and enjoyable parts of the genre. They include many of the hallmarks of dieselpunk and pulp storytelling, including a protagonist who is at the top of his field but is not afraid to get his hands dirty, antagonists both political and mystical, and an atmosphere of adventure. Continue reading “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”

BioShock concept art

What Is Biopunk?

It’s unclear who coined the phrase “biopunk,” but presumably the term was invented after steampunk had been established as a genre. At least, it was not until steampunk had entered the mainstream that biopunk emerged.

Like steampunk, this proposed literary genre finds its origins in cyberpunk. It replaces the information technology of cybernetics with the synthetic biology of genetic engineering, but maintains most of the other elements of the genre.

Which begs the question: Should biopunk be considered a genre of its own? And if not, are steam- and dieselpunk really genres in their own right? Continue reading “What Is Biopunk?”

Stefan Prohaczka artwork

The Two Flavors of Dieselpunk

While discussing the “dark side of dieselpunk,” the author of the dieselpunk blog, The Flying Fortress, coined the phrases “Ottensian” and “Piecraftian” dieselpunk to refer to fiction set, respectively, in a pre- or post-nuclear environment.

Where The Flying Fortress starts the “Piecraftian” with the Atomic Age, Piecraft and myself argue World War II is the better dividing line between the two flavors of dieselpunk. Continue reading “The Two Flavors of Dieselpunk”