Dieselpunk and Atompunk

21 Jul

Steampunk is technically the period from Victorian England to the first world war, but done in a science fiction way. A past that never was.

After WWI? It’s all dieselpunk, baby.


Dieselpunk is technically the period from 1920 until the end of WWII. You know, a retro future past.

Most of this blog is indeed about Dieselpunk era affairs, and most of the Steampunk Opera is Dieselpunk oriented: darker, more urban and industrial aesthetics.

Steampunk is hopeful and fun, Diesepunk has a tendency to be more intense, and either more twisted and psychologically murky, or contrarily, borrowing heavily from a pulp era aesthetic, art deco, WWII, 1940s era bombasticness.


So Dieselpunk works can be stuff like Dark City for the dark,

or Sky Captain of Tomorrow for the light.

Return To Castle Wolfenstein, the amazing movies Delicatessen or City of Lost Children.

Eraserhead? Dieselpunk.

Bioshock? Dieselpunk.

But wait! There’s more!

Not only is there Dieselpunk, there’s now Atomicpunk!

Atompunk is a 1945 to 1965 era take on the future. Atomic era, space race type stuff.

Many times a future gone post apocalyptic. Nuclear war and red scare taken to extremes.  The Fallout video game series is exactly what we’re talking about here.

Art deco design factors in to Atompunk’s aesthetics. All that “house of the future” type stuff.

1950s era science fiction is all atompunk.

A Clockwork Orange: Atompunk.

GdDAMN that was a fucked up movie.

The Jetsons? Total Atompunk.

Atom sputnik kosmonautic communism nuclear powerplants Jetsons Gagarin communist paranoia man-on-the-moon Googie architecture mid-century modernism utopian futurism pre-digital punk communism paranoia space cyber oldnasa kgb east german gear industrial militairy power

Ray gun kid.


Posted by on July 21, 2011 in Uncategorized


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10 responses to “Dieselpunk and Atompunk

  1. liamkendrick42

    July 22, 2011 at 12:30 am

    Gernsbach Continuum by William Gibson…

  2. barbaraelka

    January 23, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    diselpunk…everyday is a classroom

  3. Vaynet Sohbet

    August 18, 2012 at 12:19 am

    Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all folks you really know what you’re speaking approximately! Bookmarked. Please additionally talk over with my web site =). We can have a hyperlink change arrangement among us

  4. Peter

    February 20, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    I recently discovered two interesting films from the same director (Andrew Niccol) that very much fit the Atompunk category: Gattaca and In Time. While both are set in a “mid-century modern” type of future.

    • paulms

      February 20, 2013 at 7:50 pm

      I’ve seen Gattaca but i don’t think i ever heard of In Time. One of these days i’m going to get around to trying to see what kind of Atompunk movies are out there. Technically every single 1950s sci fi movie is Atompunk. I wonder… if The Rocky Horror Picture Show could be considered Atompunk…


    June 11, 2013 at 10:06 am

    I am not sure where you are getting your information, but great topic.
    I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more.
    Thanks for magnificent info I was looking for this information for my mission.

  6. jack

    October 11, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    i need to say thankyou very much i was just wondering about how to tell google im lookin for future art deco.
    so its steampunk-dieselpunk-atomicpunk-and then became synthpunk and sorth of a mystic cyber reality thing that end on cyberpunk to these days right

  7. Tiago Masutti

    July 15, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    Philip K. Dick was a good example of Atom Punk writer in his early years, in the late 50’s, but then his work had a transmutation towards a more paranoid/religious/stoned fiction, in the late 60’s. Well, I don’t know about you guys, that is perfect literature for me.

  8. Grumples

    January 12, 2020 at 5:25 pm

    One of the best examples of Atompunk is the Fallout series of games with it’s late 50s to early 60s aesthetic

  9. Marco Calderón

    June 6, 2020 at 5:58 pm

    Great post, when you talk about some movies as an example, I want ask you where do you place Terry Guillian’s Brazil I really like it.


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