Diesel vs. Steampunk: Publishing Ethics

Dieselpunk VS. Steampunk by nitr0gene
Dieselpunk VS. Steampunk by nitr0gene

[dropcap2]W[/dropcap2]hen it comes to ethics, the RedneckGranola is driven by a prime directive — “stick it to the man.” Basically, greed and injustice demand civil disobedience. Thus sneaking food into a movie theater that charges two dollars for popcorn is unethical, while a theater that charges six dollars demands that I┬ásneak in food to support the cause of the globally popcorn-oppressed. Simple. (a 200% markup is business, a 1000% markup is oppression).

But when it comes to the self-publishing ethics and marketing ethics of my upcoming novel, where do I draw the line? It has been said that “a duck is a duck is a duck.” But one could also respond, “duck, duck, goose,” so you can see my problem. (Truly mine is a dizzying intellect.) When writing a dieselpunk, weird Western, pulp adventure story there are two main options available for its marketing:

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The Weird West Reboot

TV's The Wild, Wild West

[dropcap2]I[/dropcap2]n the 1960’s, as the American genre of the Western guttered in its final death throes, a new sort of Western birthed onto the scene replacing the Wild West with what has become known as the Weird West. Most prominently, the Weird West is defined by its landmark accomplishment, CBS Studio’s The Wild Wild West.

Aside: After my last post, it has come to my attention that several of you, my faithful readers, have begun to question the lucidity of my waking state (and whether mind-altering substances might be involved). But I assure you, the indelibility of my turpitude is purely natural (and more importantly, untransferable).

Unsurprisingly, considering the fact that CSI’s newest show will be based in Lake Wobegon (just kidding, it’s probably going to end up being Seattle) CBS has resorted to rebooting old favorites. This season they gave us the chance to feel the sun and surf course through our veins as we lip sync the gritty phrase, “Book ’em, Danno.” It appears that for the coming season, attempts will be made to revive The Wild Wild West, the poster child of all that is weird with westerns.

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The Wild West Meets the What If

Dr. Arliss Loveless from The Wild, Wild West

Months ago, while taking my weekly shower, it struck me — the answer to the question that keeps most of us up at night: “What happens when a power hungry petro-oligarchy runs amuck of an anarcho-capitalist wild west?” (And no, the answer isn’t George W. Bush.)

(Warning: small children or readers who suffer from repetitive nightmare disorder should continue reading with their hands over their eyes.)

What happens? The most ruthless and powerful geopolitical state since the Roman Empire. That’s what happens. Known as Texicas, the petrodollar-fueled nation shatters the already unstable Americas by rising to power through a post-revolution Mexican government allied with an infiltrated Texas state legislature that votes to succeed in the year 1921. Just think, in an alternate history not so different from our own I could be a third generation Texican.

Obviously, Louisiana has no choice but to acquiesce to lingering frustration over the War of Northern Aggression, and thus joins Texicas in its new independence.

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