From that nostalgic feeling of the past, that one might get from this genre to the futuristic elements that were not even possible at that time, the Atompunk is undeniably one of its own kind. This unique mixture of the old and the contemporary creates a totally different aesthetic that sets this genre apart from all others.
The genre is all about how people from the 1950s and 1960s would imagine the future to look like. The reason, why this sub-genre of science fiction is known as atompunk, is because of the portrayal of atomic energy in abundance, whether be items like machines, cars, gadgets, or the environment/society as a whole you name it. However, that’s not just it, read along to know more about this stunning genre.
The Origin of Atompunk
The interesting fact here is that the term Atompunk itself is not really that old. It just came onto the tongue of people in 2010, however, the whole aesthetic of it goes much further back in the past. Atompunk is yet another sub-genre of science fiction and it explores more of an atomic side of science and its impact on society from the perspective of mid 20th century.
Philip K. Dick is among the very well-known authors of science fiction who basically imagined the advancement of technologies, how atomic energy is going to be a norm and its impact on society, all of this adds up to what laid the foundations of this genre.
Also, as mentioned before, the genre is all about how people from the 1950s and 1960s would imagine the future to look like, it is worth mentioning that these periods were packed with events like rapid nuclear advancement, people seeing atomic energy as the solution to world problems, cold wars, and what not. However, the fear of nuclear advancements was also something that was never left behind. All of this combined gives us the Atompunk genre, a perfect portrayal of the benefits of nuclear advancements and its severe consequences as well.
The recent trend of giving the sub-genres a suffix of “punk” is something that has recently been popularised with other aesthetics like cyberpunk or steampunk. Hence fans also decided to name this aesthetic none other than “Atompunk”.
The genre also portrays retro-futuristic society and that’s the reason why there is this close distinction between Atompunk with Steampunk (yet another subgenre of science fiction). In this imagined future atomic energy is the most widely used source of energy and it is here to solve some major world problems.
The future has been depicted to be quite bright and full of wonders where you get to see cities with no power shortages due to an abundance of energy. No use of fuel hence the environment remains clean. Technological advancements have made futuristic communication networks, sophisticated robots, supercomputer systems, and whatnot.
However, that’s not just about it, people from the 1950s and 1960s were also pretty much concerned about the harms of nuclear and atomic energy – which they thought can be used uncarefully. This adds to the reason why their prediction about the future also shows what would happen if nuclear power possibly goes wrong, thus the atompunk genre.
The dangers plus the consequences of taking nuclear and atomic power unserious and not being mindful of it are something that this genre illustrates in abundance. From nuclear explosions to radiation leaks, and decaying infrastructure to ruined cities, atompunk includes almost every atomic power-related element with far-reaching impacts on society and the environment.
Old Tech + Futuristic Ideas
The genre merges technology from the past with some futuristic ideas hence giving us things like atomic-powered machines, robots, and spaceships. However, all of these items have a unique touch to them which adds to the reason why they have some incredible capabilities and advanced features that were not possible nor existed back in the mid-20s.
Additionally, as mentioned earlier, the genre also portrays a retro-futuristic society which adds to the reason why we get to see such bold colors and an optimistic outlook. Overall, the genre depicts the vision of future technology from the past and shows the true power of energy-powered weapons and the utmost capability that they might hold.
The most well-known Atompunk game out there is undoubtedly none other than the Fallout series. The whole setting of the game is based on a post-apocalyptic world which is again all about what the people in their mid-20s used to think of the future.
As mentioned about the genre itself that it merges technology from the past with some futuristic ideas, we also get to see this in Fallout weaponry that has the combination of both the elements like armored suits and energy-powered weapons. Additionally, there is this amazing yet quite desolate portrayal of a society that relied way too much on atomic power yet at the same time suffered from the nuclear war as well.
Another element of Atompunk in the Fallout series that seems worth mentioning is how the whole series has radiation-induced mutated creatures and characters engraved in it, along with the other elements. Once again, giving us an idea about the consequences of not taking nuclear and atomic power seriously, resulting in bizarre mutations that no one expected.
Apart from its dystopia and post-apocalyptic themes as illustrated in Fallout, one thing about this genre that stands out and its flip side is its infrastructure. A merger of sleek designs, perfect geometry, and a retro look is something that cannot be found elsewhere.
The glass and steel are used in abundance to give a futuristic feel, the cleanliness is kept top-notch (as it should be), a smooth flow of traffic, and convenient and efficient architecture, what else can one ask for? You will also find vibrant colors, neon signs, and a clean environment that adds to the energetic feel of it.
Atompunk combines sci-fi, fantasy, and its unique aesthetic so well to become undeniably one of the most unique genres out there. We personally loved exploring this genre and are looking forward to trying out more of its imaginative futuristic world. Let us know in the comment section below what you personally think about this unique yet stunning genre.
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