I am having mixed feelings about these sub-genres that end in -punk. Steampunk is the most popular, but I’ve since discovered other off shoots. Dieselpunk (e.g. Mad Max, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow). Atompunk (e.g. Fallout, Buck Rogers). Raypunk (Flash Gordon, Star Wars). Cyberpunk (Blade Runner, Robocop). Dreadpunk (Penny Dreadful, The Woman in Black). Just to name a few.
There are just… so many of these -punks I can’t tell if it makes things harder or easier. Case in point, I enjoy science fiction, but only certain kinds. I have always gravitated towards the retro stuff like Flash Gordon, Star Trek the Original Series, and Forbidden Planet. So, knowing that those particular franchises fall under either Raypunk or Atompunk (there’s a difference trust me, I’ll get into it) helps me to more easily find what I like in a world of specific tags and categories on the Interwebs. So, that’s the pro.
Sometimes it hurts the brain to sort out what is what. I have seen heated debates in Facebook comments about what is Atompunk or Raypunk, since the difference is a thin one. Consensus seems to say that Atompunk is science fiction based more on science that follows the possible future or alternate existence of the real world. Everything that is fantastic about it is based on science, like in Star Trek. On the other hand, Raypunk leans a little more towards the fantasy side of it, which accepts magic and less believable worlds and creatures, like Flash Gordon.
At least that’s how I’ve come to (more or less) understand Atompunk-vs-Raypunk. If there are simpler, better definitions (as I’m sure there are) please let me know!
In any case, the most recent one I discovered is Dreadpunk, which seems to have some backlash from those who are against another splintered sub-genre. This one has me conflicted. It feels a little redundant, since it’s basically Supernatural Victorian Horror. That particular genre is also my jam. It’s the genre that two of my books would fall under–Tarkington Wolf and The Brethren Souls.
Maybe the world is such that we need these little genres, for people like me who are selective in what they like. And search engines and tagging make it that much easier to narrow things down. Could “narrowing down” be limiting us too much, though? Could it keep us from discovering something new by accident?
What do you guys think about all the -punk genres?