Today I’ve featuring author David Mark Brown’s article Punk: Mexican Revolution Style, as part of his virtual book tour for his newly released novel: Fistful of Reefer. While this novel is set in a Diesel, rather than a Steampunk setting, it’s likely to appeal to retrofuturistic punks regardless of their particular era of choice or label they use to describe it. His insightful and expansive view of Dieselpunk is sure to intrigue and spark new conversations for both us and our cousins in anachronism. Fistful of Reefer is due out this Thursday, the 28th in various e-book formats.
Punk: Mexican Revolution Style by David Mark Brown
Dieselpunk literature typically brings to mind either pulpy noir images (stuff like Dick Tracey, Batman, Doc Savage and Sin City) or alternate histories involving Hitler (eg. Inglorious Bastards, Fatherland, or lots of stuff by Harry Turtledove). The third option is that it brings to mind nothing, nada, or in Yiddish — Bupkis mit Kuduchas — shivering sh!% balls. (This is the case whenever I mention what sort of books I’m writing.)
But dieselpunk literature can certainly be more than graphic novel noir, Adolph Hitler alt-history, and Bupkis mit Kuduchas. The heart and soul of dieselpunk can be found all over the pages of history. It could be a tale of horror aboard the Krasin, a Russian Icebreaker built in 1916 to patrol the frozen waters of the Northeast Passage (if someone doesn’t write this story soon, I will). Or it could be a testosterone and diesel driven romp through the Mexican revolution with machine guns confronting Teddy Roosevelt style machismo (sorry, I already wrote this one).
Reeferpunk: Refried History
That brings us to my own take on the genre, a series of stories I call Reeferpunk. Reeferpunk is a spaghetti-Western, refried alternate-history of what could have become of the southern half of North America if cheap oil never got cheap, and instead brilliant minds devised an early cellulosic ethanol from the wondrous cannabis plant. Mein Hanf!
Punk Mexican Revolution Style
And what better place to begin a story of alternate-revolution than during the Revolucion de Mexico? If I were to tell you the tale of a one-armed strongman, a ruthless and cunning General of the Mexican Constitutional Army, cutting down large numbers of peon revolutionaries with German machine guns during the Spring of 1915, would it sound to you like a fanciful dieselpunk tale or approximate truth? That’s the beauty of it. It’s both! Envision it with me.
Nations have drawn lines in the dirt and then brandished their buttocks across them. Europe is embroiled in war as the United States looks on like a redneck at the royal wedding. Soon enough the Zimmermann Telegram will force the sleeping Giant to crap or get off the pot, but for now border states like Texas, and their politically embattled force of Texas Rangers are left to stave off the looming “brown menace” from Mexico.
Refugees, bandits, cavalry charges mixed with trench warfare and machine guns, armored trains, clandestine meetings and German influence–all of it lavished with a lust for oil. This, ladies and gents, is all pretty much straight from the annals of time, and there’s plenty of both diesel and punk to go around. What happens next is up to all you dieselpunk dreamers. What diesel-powered monstrosities will stain the pages of alt-history before the day is won? Indeed, I believe the best dieselpunk literature has yet to be written.
I Personally find all the “What ifs” in history too tempting to leave them lingering like farts under a blanket. No, I think it’s our duty to turn down the sheets of time and let the fart gas fly. My version of the story begins with the first novel in the Reeferpunk series, Fistful of Reefer. May you buy it, enjoy it, and pass the gas.
Fistful of Reefer is a pulp featuring goats, guns and the camaraderie of outcasts. Marijuana was the plan, liberty the dream, revolution the result. Viva this! (Available July 28th from ebook retailers everywhere.) The second book in the series, Twitch and Die! a Western plague novel, will hopefully be out by Christmas.