What is Raypunk?

Unfortunately “raypunk” is not an established word – I made it up to fill a void where “raygun gothic” and “atompunk” just didn’t quite seem to suffice.

I think of raypunk as the narrative take on raygun gothic – a visual style derived from art deco, googie and streamline Americana. Raypunk is a genre with roots in science fiction of the 1930s through to the 1950s, and which has moulded itself to current trends by adopting the anti-heroes for which other “-punk” genres are known.

What Raypunk is Not

Raypunk, dieselpunk, cyberpunk and steampunk are sibling genres in the wondrous sub-genre of gothic sci-fi. All of them are set in worlds defined by their technology, moulding it in a rather fantastical way. The world may have an upbeat or dystopian mood, and raypunk and cyberpunk arguably sit at either sides of the scale in that regard. The differences are in the technology and the aesthetic.

  • Where cyberpunk hosts hackers and android detectives, raypunk features daring heroes in intergalactic peril.
  • Where steampunk has brass goggles and corsets, raypunk offers jetpacks and rayguns.
  • Where dieselpunk pits machine gun-toting gangs against each other, raypunk offers intergalactic conflict.

5 Replies to “What is Raypunk?

    1. Aether is used several ways…it can be the internet (the great world wide web), the ‘beyond’ (where the dead dwell), or simply outerspace. Undoubtedly more meanings out there too.

  1. I approve of ray punk. Much needed term, unlike a lot of “x”punk genres defined just for the sake of it which are barely distinguishable.

  2. I’m finishing writing a science fiction book and have some aspects of the book that made me think of a sub-genre that didn’t quite exist. Raypunk seems to come closest to what I had in mind. Cheers

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