Petrolpunk
Alternate Reality fiction where there is more of an emphasis on combustion engines more than any other form of technology.


(permanent link) added: 2011-11-03 17:22:09 sponsor: Skunk (last reply: 2011-11-27 12:16:52)

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Petrolpunk is defined as a 'punk' genre where there is an emphasis on vehicles over other technologies, usually because technology stopped progressing after 1979, right before the 80s. Because of the time period, the reason technology stopped progressing is usually the end of the cultured world (meteorite smashes into earth, world war 3, disease makes men sterile, whatever) and because of this, all we have are combustible and compression engines. Diesel, kerosene, gas, methane, propane... this is the lifeforce of the world. And fuel is VERY hard to come by, so hard most people would kill for it.

Unfortunately this is before the age of high efficiency low fuel mileage engines. Most if not all vehicles are engines that are easy to work on, with many hot swappable parts and easy to fabricate parts. So, in short, V8s motorcycles and Volkswagens. The only electricity on a massive basis will come from combustion generators. Even some of the weapons are fuel based, such as miniguns built from chainsaw motors and camshaft piston cannons. This isn't exclusively limited to alternate realities, but in many cases to dystopian or Scavenger World futures, such as The Apunkalypse.

Other forms of petrol punk include settings Twenty Minutes into the Future, where society hasn't collapsed yet the high performance engine is king. Heavy on chase sequences and high octane action sequences, these stories generally force reason to take a backseat to marshal law.

This genre isn't to be confused with Diesel Punk.

Examples

Comics

Film

Video Games
  • Gears of War
  • The video game series Road Rash.
  • The Super Nintendo game Outlander, based on the Mad Max films.
  • The Fallout games, to a point. The series contains elements of the genre, but instead of gasoline radioactive elements are used as the main source of fuel for vehicles. However, everything else is based on gasoline; even the robots run on petrol.
  • Borderlands

Tabletop Games

Real Life
  • There is an entire car culture devoted to this trope, especially in the motorcycle world, known as "Survival". Similar in style to rat rods, these particular cars are usually held together with cheap welds and duct tape, sometimes using custom made parts, sometimes out of household junk like door latches and beer cans, to keep them running. These cars generally don't fix rust or dents or any structural damage until it's absolutely necessary. They never get painted; in fact, the more surface rust the better the car or bike looks to them. Additional modifications to the cars or bikes to give them that petrolpunk feel include skulls, rivets, spikes, exhaust flamers, and (of course) fuel guzzling high performance engines.

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