The Year of Dieselpunk

Who would have known when 2015 started that this New Year would have so much to offer fans of Dieselpunk? Has there ever been a year filled with such anticipation for a genre generally left in the shadows of more mainstream science fiction and super-hero epics?

Captain-A-Agent-Carter-drop200Last week I blogged on the terrific start the Agent Carter TV series had and the glowing initial reviews; and also joined a roundtable panel of jazzed-up Diesel devotees to give our collective thumbs-up. Hope you’ve put the Diesel Powered Podcast’s Agent Carter Roundtable on your weekly must-listen list.

There was another surprise last week when this year’s Oscar nominees were announced and a quirky Art Deco themed farce, The Grand Budapest Hotel raked in an outstanding NINE nominations including ones for Best Picture, Best Director, Cinematography, Costume Design and Original Screenplay. If you haven’t seen it, Ralph Fiennes portrayal of madcap concierge Gustave H didn’t garner him a Best Actor Oscar nod but regardless, it will leave an indelible impression whether you are a fan of Dieselpunk or not. The story surrounds Gustave and Zero Moustafa, his lobby boy (played by Tony Revolori) as they go from one zany misadventure to another in the fictional Republic of Zubrowka set at a time between the First & Second World Wars.


The movie has an all-star supporting cast including Adrien Brody, F. Murray Abraham, Willem DaFoe, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel and cameos by Tilda Swinton, Owen Wilson and Edward Norton. I think retro-purists would categorize Grand Budapest as Decopunk but I include it in my broader definition of Dieselpunk which spans this time period. It has all the retro-elements required to proclaim it one of the best feature films of this genre for a very long time. Let’s hope it does well on Oscar Night.

And if these critically acclaimed expressions of the Dieselpunk aesthetic weren’t enough, we have Amazon Prime pulling off another disruptive move into streaming TV with it’s adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s 1962 alternative history novel The Man In The High Castle starring Ethan Hawke. The story follows daily life in an America under the jackboots of Fascism, fifteen years after the victorious Axis powers of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan added the US East and West Coasts respectively to their global totalitarian empires.

The Man in High Castle by Philip K. Dick (1962)

The Man in High Castle by Philip K. Dick (1962)

I have to admit I haven’t seen anything other than its trailer but this is a definite must-watch for an author whose own Dieselpunk works brings the Nazi nightmare back in focus. Early reviews on IMDB rate the series 8.6/10 so that’s very encouraging.

So here we are, three weeks into 2015 and Dieselpunk has not just one but three offerings of outstanding quality! Agent Carter gives us a sassy heroine who breaks through the misogyny of post war New York in a raucous tale combining mystery and science fiction with a healthy serving of retro-SciFi/retro-James Bond delights. The Grand Budapest Hotel demonstrates at the highest level of the cinematic arts that Dieselpunk can also be a less serious genre and treats us to a show that vividly displays its retro-Art Deco plumage. I’ve seen both and both have great acting, great scripts and great visual appeal for all audiences. And The Man In The High Castle promises to re-awaken our nightmares of Nazi dystopian horror by twisting the history knobs as only an award-winning author could do.

The Year of Dieselpunk is here, and I couldn’t be more thrilled! Can’t you tell?


Promotional graphics used under the Fair Use license.

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Post by Charles A Cornell

As an author, my overactive imagination fills my mind with three dimensional puzzles of stacked what-if questions that cry out for answers. You can find me fueling my creativity amidst the chaos of a very busy life in my writer’s den where I dream up whimsical adventures that range from the satirical to the macabre which I then blog about on

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