Had a lot of fun with the Gang Roundup in January, guys! Lot’s a good posts to share. I have to warn you that this roundup leans dangerously on the dieselpunk sid, but I do have a few historical posts that I really love.
Hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I did.
I find retrofuturistic illustrations absolutely fascinating. I love the mix of history and fantasy, that sense of displacement that isn’t scary, but reveals something new. I find it exciting.
I discovered the work of Polish artist Jakub Rozalski completely by chance and fell in love right away. Don’t you think it’s absolutely amazing?
The World of Scythe is a beautiful 105-page art book showcasing the work of Jakub Rozalski for the board game Scythe, one of the most successful games ever funded on Kickstarter. The book was only made available to backers during the Kickstarter campaign, and is now only available on ArtStation Shop.
Jakub Rozalski also created the setting for for the RPG game Iron Harvest, set in a dieselpunk 1920s East Europe-like world.
1920+ is an alternate version of our own world created by Polish artist Jakub Różalski. In the early 20th century, tradition clashes with progress, and the world is still full of mysteries and secrets.
I’m really enjoying Larry Amyett‘s series about the keywords of Dieselpunk. This month, both his posts were concerned with the ‘era’ of Dieselpunk
The most accepted definition of the Diesel Era is that it lasted roughly from the 1920s to the 1950s, although some dieselpunks (like myself) include both World Wars and see the second half of the 1950s as already out of it.
As with most genres, there isn’t a very definite border, besides creatives of all inclinations will always try to blur those borders. As it should be.
“The Interbellum Period had clear starting and ending dates. It began on November 11, 1918, which the day the Armistice went in effect and hostilities stopped in World War One, and ended on September 1, 1939 when Germany invaded Poland.”
While both World Wars are very popular with dieselpunk authors, the Interbellum Period, particularly the last stretch nearest to WWII, is also very popular because it echoes of a defining characteristic of dieselpunk: the noir mood.
Many dieselpunk stories are drenched in noir mood and they envision a world that is very easily seen in the Golden Age of Hollywood film noir, the 1940s.
For a lucky coincidence, Tome Wilson also spoke about the Diesel Era on The Gatehouse website. This is a fascinating excursus on the historical period, with a particular enphasis on everything that Dieselpunk has gladly adopted as its own.
If the 1920s were a time of excitment, in good and bad, and the 1940s were a dark age inesorably falling into global war, the 1930s were a time in between where the preceeding and following era merged and collided.
I’m always surprised about how little we actually know about WWI. Because of how terrible WWII was, we generally tend to forget about the Great War which preceded it of just one generation, but WWI was truly a devastating experience for the generation of young men and women who were involved (and not just them).
It was a war that made millions of dead and that damaged permanelty (both in body and mind) millions of other.
One of the worst wounds that plagued those veterans of WWI were facial disfigurements. We never think about it because then surgery advanced so much that this was less of an issue in later years. But many young men came back from the war with their faces completely destroyed. I’ve seen photos that truely made me wonder how those poor men could even be still alive, with entire pieces of their face gone.
I can only imagine what it may have mean to live the rest of their life with such a face.
An American artist, Anna Coleman Ladd, took it upon herself to do something for these people. She created delicate masks that recreated the whole face of the injured and that could be disguised on the person’s face with makeup.
It’s an incredible story, one of the many that we don’t know about WWI.
Although in this post author Delynn Royer technically launches her book Good Night, Angela, she also tells of a fascinating place I didn’t even know excisted: the 20th Century Limited. This was an American luxury train, not very different from the European Oriental Express, that travelled from New York City to Chicago. You can see it in the ebove photo… which I have to tell you, is among the most popular photos I’ve ever spotted in the dieselpunk community.
It was nice to learn its history.
“On January 17th, 1920, hundreds of fake funerals were held in churches and bars across the country for a man that didn’t exist. John Barleycorn, the anthropomorphic personification of beer and whiskey, was symbolically laid to rest amid cheers and tears at 12:01 AM, January 16th, 1920. These mock funerals saw the actual burial of a bottle effigy, complete with pomp and circumstance. The tone of the ceremony varied widely, however, depending on who was conducting the funeral rites.”
I’ve always found this part of Prohibition funny. Although I’ve read about it in many book and articles, this is the first time that I read about it in details.
The opening scene of A Proposal to Die For came to me in a flash: a lady in evening dress reaching for a golden lighter on a mantelpiece to relight her cigarette and then overhearing a few whispered words coming from behind an opulent Chinese silk screen. A marriage proposal, but in the same breath a reference to someone who would be better dead if the marriage is to work out.
I don’t know about you, but that’s an image that really really intrigues me. So this book goes straight in my TBR list, which is growing allarmingly long (and very much 1920s!) lately.
I met Vivian Conroy on Twitter Where she’s a lively animator of the #WritersWise chats. Do come along next time. It’s fun.
And finally, something that is really only just fun.
Steve Otten is a Düsseldorf native dancer who has become very popular on the net with his reinvention of dancing moves that – in my opinion – have a lot of the jazz/swing era.
He’s featured in an Italian commercial, that’s how I discovered him. Then I learned of his first commercial for a German company.
Have a look, he’s fantastic!