A blog devoted to the Tommy Thunder and The Aether Age pulp fiction series. It's Dieselpunk fiction at its pulpiest with two-fisted brawls, biplane dogfights, mysterious safaris, Prohibition gin-running and swanky art-deco speakeasy hopping as far as the eye can see.
Tommy Thunder and the Aether
Age stories – especially the Aether Age stories – are Dieselpunk
stories. So what is Dieselpunk..?
Dieselpunk is one of a few similar subcultures that use a
particular historical era as inspiration for the way they dress, the way they
listen to music and the way they do any number of things we all do in our
day-to-day lives. The best way to explain it is to use an example (or two). At
its simplest, Dieselpunk is about people who prefer to wear fedoras (old-school
gangster hats) over baseball caps, or three piece suits over t-shirt and jeans.
There are plenty of people out there who long for the good old days of
gangsters, speakeasies and ‘proper music’ played by a real band who can sing
without autotune. Those people are Dieselpunks.
A dapper Dieselpunk gent out and about.
But a lot of people like to take it to a much deeper level.
These people use the style and culture of a previous generation as the outward
signs of a much deeper philosophical belief system, a belief system they can be
quite passionate about. In this much deeper philosophical aspect most of the
‘punk movements are fairly similar, from the Steampunks who enjoy dressing like
Victorian era gentlemen, the Atompunks who like to dress like kick-arse 1950s-style
roller derby girls and listen to rockabilly music, or the Cyberpunks who prefer
to look forward to a future in which cybernetic implants are the norm. All
these people are tapping the same basic desire – the desire to critique the
present by asserting the past or future in a way that is ‘out of time’.
For the best illustration of this much more involved ‘punking
I always look to the group that never gets any credit as ‘punks. The original ‘punking
movement: the Chain-Mail ‘punks.
You and I know them as Medieval Recreationists.
Why are they the best illustration of the ‘punking movement?
Because what they do is by far the most involving, as well as most successful,
critique of contemporary culture. Why? Because these people completely reject
Modernity in one fell swoop. Longing for a life of simplicity where every human
is still a craftsman and an artisan they recreate the pre-Modern world at
Medieval recreation events. They camp out in huts, dress in completely
different clothing and just go Medieval for the weekend. In doing so they
assert the values of that lifestyle and point out that we’ve lost a lot along
the way to our present Modern world with its temporary communities and mass
Like all of the most involved people in the various ‘punk
movements these people make a statement about the world by just being. By adopting a whole lifestyle associated
with a different era. Across all ‘punk subcultures, the adoption of a complete
lifestyle you take with you into your everyday world is called being a
‘lifestyler’. It’s the most involved and most outwardly obvious form of being a
At the bar, 'punking.
But not everyone is a lifestyler. Some people are more
interested in the less obvious ways of getting their ‘punk on, ways that aren’t
necessarily visible but hold just as much meaning to the individual. Whether
it’s listening to Neoswing music, decorating your walls at home with 30s era
Hollywood pin ups, or spending your weekends watching old black and white
movies and then arguing that ‘they don’t make ‘em like that anymore’ many
people are just a little bit ‘punk. And if your ‘punking is exclusive to the
cultural practises of the era stretching from the turn of the 20th
Century to the end of World War 2 then you’re probably more than a little bit
They don't make 'em like that anymore. Sigh...
So how are the Aether Age
stories Dieselpunk? Well for that you’ll have to come back next week...