04 June 2012

A Handy Guide to Retro-Antique Fiction Styles

By retro-antique styles, I mean styles that are tied to a particular period in time in some fashion, which often includes fashion. This list began life as mostly pertaining to science fiction.

Retro-futurism includes a subset of these: Cockpunk, Steampunk, Deiselpunk, and debatably-occasionally Cyberpunk. They deal with how the people living in that time envisioned the future, or more specifically- the most dated of predictions.

I've compiled a little handy guide with some examples of each.

High Fantasy / Sword and Sorcery 5th-15th centuries

Sci-fi and technology are so remotely implausible and ill-fitting that it's going to be magic and not science/tech that drives the strange here.

  • Lord of the Rings
  • Game of Thrones
  • Legends of the Seeker
  • Merlin stories

Clockpunk / DaVinci Fiction 14th-17th centuries (Renaissance)

Strange and wonderful devices were possible before boilers and burners, but how far can you push the limits of ancient invention and clockwork?
  • Doctor Who: The Girl in the Fireplace
  • Assassin's Creed II (in the memories, Ezio’s gadgets are actually made by DaVinci)

Steampunk 19th century-1917 (pre-WWI)

Victorian or Gilded Age if you like technology powering automatons, sweeping airships, and fueling the social-political climate of world colonialism and oddly repressive culture.
To be honest, there is so much more that Steampunk entails, but that discussion has earned the focus of many blog posts and entire blogs- one of my favorites being Beyond Victoriana.
  • Steamboy
  • Clockwork Century series
  • The new Hollywood Sherlock Holmes films
  • Wild Wild West

Dieselpunk / Decopunk 1917-1945 (between WWI-WWII)

Dirty, big war machines, smoking mechanics, airplanes. These are Dieselpunk.
Clean, strange new utopias, sweeping architecture, art deco. These are Decopunk.
  • Bioshock
  • Sky captain and the world of tomorrow
  • Sucker Punch (fantasy sequence)
  • Rocketeer
  • Doctor Steel

Atompunk 1945-1965 (post-WWII, pre-Digital)

The classic example of retro-futurism.Swinging sixties singles in plastic miniskirts and fashionable space suits. Complete with stylish robots!
  • Jetsons
  • Space Channel 5
  • Jet Set Radio Future

Grindhouse 1970s

Gritty film grain, overzealous expletives, and political incorrectness to the point of exploitation. Badly dubbed martial arts stories can be done in this style very easily. 
Stories in this vain often have a focus on dangerous drugs and organized crime.
This is a style that would be nearly impossible to do without a visual or audio component.

  • Grindhouse (The movie)
  • House of the Dead: Overkill
  • WET (game)
  • Sucker Punch

Cyberpunk 1980s

Fictional year is usually a half century to a few centuries in the future.
One could argue it's not antique, but I argue that nothing is so 80s and early 90s.
  • Bladerunner
  • Neuromancer
  • Cowboy Bebop
  • Bubblegum Crisis

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