Faisal I of Iraq

Changing My Mind About Victorientalism

This website, then known as The Gatehouse, gained some notoriety in 2010, when we dedicated an issue of our webzine, the Gatehouse Gazette, to “Victorientalism”.

I subsequently defended this choice in a blog post that now strikes me as insensitive and in some places wrong.

My assumption — that it is safe to recreate stereotypes from colonial times because those stereotypes, and the power imbalances they preserved, have gone — was flawed. I have learned that such stereotypes and power imbalances are in some cases still with us and in others have a lingering effect. I should have listened to the people (of color) who tried to tell me that eight years ago. Continue reading “Changing My Mind About Victorientalism”

Metropolis Tower of Babel

How Dystopias Influenced Dieselpunk

The dystopia is a familiar trope in the “Piecraftian”, darker side of dieselpunk.

Erika Gottlieb argues in Dystopian Fiction East and West: Universe of Terror and Trial (2001) that dystopian fiction looks at the totalitarian dictatorships of the dieselpunk era as its prototype: “a society that puts its whole population continuously on trial, a society that finds its essence in concentration camps, that is, in disenfranchising and enslaving entire classes of its own citizens, a society that, by glorifying and justifying violence by law, preys upon itself.” Continue reading “How Dystopias Influenced Dieselpunk”

American soldiers

Adversity and the Human Spirit

Referred to as Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, or Veteran’s Day, November 11 has a special meaning for dieselpunks. The “diesel era” (1920s-40s) arose out a meaningless war (World War I), saw one of the epic wars of history (World War II) and died a slow death in another meaningless war (Korean War). One could say that dieselpunk is born in blood, lives in blood and dies in blood. Continue reading “Adversity and the Human Spirit”

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Larry Amyett Mixes Dieselpunk Flavors

Our friend Larry Amyett has a great article in the latest edition of SteamPunk Magazine about the different flavors of dieselpunk. He argues that the term “flavors” gets it exactly right: “Just as a recipe includes a variety of flavors from many ingredients,” he writes, “most dieselpunks mix the different flavors to suit their personal tastes.” Continue reading “Larry Amyett Mixes Dieselpunk Flavors”

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones

It’s Not the Years, Honey, It’s the Mileage: Dieselpunk Milestones

Dieselpunk didn’t start with a bang. It started with the crack of a whip.

When Indiana Jones blazed his way onto the big screen in 1981, he popularized a postmodern style of art that has continued to evolve over the past three decades. Looking back at Indy and the other proto-dieselpunk milestones, we can finally understand where the dieselpunk style came from, how it faltered in the late 1990s and see how it has finally grown into its own thanks to a worldwide subculture of artists and fans. To really look back though, we need to know what we’re looking for. Continue reading “It’s Not the Years, Honey, It’s the Mileage: Dieselpunk Milestones”