31 Days of Post (2) Day 10: A Time for Punk?
A fantasy is being written. The setting is a secondary world. The inspiration for that secondary world is the British Empire during Victoria’s later reign (though it could be the whole damn world during the same period). Does that make the work steampunk? Or is it gaslamp fantasy?
What I’m asking is what exactly is “punk” in the context of speculative fiction? Is “punk” science fiction only or can it incorporate elements of science fantasy? But is it still “punk” if the setting is a more “accurate representation” of the inspiration period just with solely fantasy elements?
I started thinking about this as I formulated some early plans for a few project Ideas I have. For one thing, my early twentieth century project is looking to be pure fantasy baring a few fantastic science elements which may, or may not, appear. The other project, inspired by late fourteenth century Western Europe, is looking to have no magic. Or at least supernatural magic. So, is either project “punk”- either diesel or dungeon?
I don’t know. As far as the TCP (twentieth century project), I would guess not. The setting, though a secondary world, is based on the period without too many elements that lead one to ascribe “punk” to the genre. Though that is not to say that there won’t be punks as characters.
But as I was looking up dieselpunk on TVTropes, I discovered another genre which could equally describe the project: two-fisted tales. I don’t know much about this genre, but I will do my homework on it.
While TCP might not be “punk,” I could argue that L14th (late forteenth) is dungeonpunk. The direction I’m heading with the idea just screams punk. And there is no supernatural magic. Which means I need to do some science research.
Now that that is out of the way, I still don’t think I’ve adequately figured out what “punk” is to speculative fiction. The problem is, I think, that “punk” itself has changed from when it first appeared as a genre. Cyberpunk was a revolution in science fiction. It opened new avenues of style and subject. But as time goes on, “punk” has become more commercialized to the point where “punk” is little more than a marketing ploy. Set something in x period (whether historical or secondary)? Put it with a “punk” and it’ll sell.
In some ways, I think “punk” should have an edge, a rebelliousness to it. But, unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that way any more.