DieselfunkWhat is Dieselfunk, you ask?

And what is the Dieselfunk canon…a weapon that shoots big, iron balls and runs on diesel fuel?

Well, to answer the second question…that would be the Dieselfunk cannon (TWO “n”). The Dieselfunk canon (ONE “n”) is a collection or list of books considered the definitive works in Dieselfunk.

To answer the first question, we need to first define Dieselpunk.

DieselfunkOften referred to as Steampunk’s grittier sibling, Dieselpunk is set during the Diesel Era – a period of time that begins at the end of World War I and continues until the early 1950s.

Dieselpunk features retrofuturistic innovations, alternate history and elements of the occult.

Think the movies Captain America: The First AvengerSin CityHell Boy; the Indiana Jones films and The Mummy (1999 – 2008) trilogy.

Dieselfunk is fiction, film and fashion that combine the style and mood of Dieselpunk with African and African-American inspiration. It is a name I came up with in 2012, playing off of Steamfunk, which I and authors Maurice Broaddus, Milton Davis and Valjeanne Jeffers helped popularize from our short stories and novels.

Dieselfunk tells the exciting untold stories of people of African descent during the Jazz Age.

Think the Harlem Renaissance meets Science Fiction…think Chalky White (from Boardwalk Empire) doing battle with robots run amok in his territory… think Mob bosses; Nazis; flappers. Jazz; the Tuskegee Airmen; bootleggers; Bessie Coleman; Marcus Garvey; the 761st Tank Battalion; the Tulsa Race Riots…that is Dieselfunk!

Here is the list of books that currently could be considered Dieselfunk. They are all pulp stories, as most Dieselfunk stories are. The Scythe is the only book in the canon  written purposefully as Dieselfunk. More Dieselfunk novels (and a Dieselfunk film) are coming. We will continue to expand this list, so check back often for updates.

Dieselfunk, Edited by Balogun Ojetade and Milton Davis


Take an amazing ride with eight authors as they add a funky twist to the Dieselpunk genre. The Dieselfunk! anthology fills a void common in most speculative fiction genres, providing a much needed voice from an African/African Diaspora perspective. Dieselpunk just got funky!

The definitive Dieselfunk work!

Damballa, by Charles R. Saunders


From the heart of Africa to the streets of Harlem, a new hero is born; he is Damballa and he strikes from the shadows.

When the reigning black heavy weight boxing champion of the world agrees to defend his crown against a German fighter representing Hitler’s Nazi regime, the ring becomes the stage for a greater political contest. The Nazi agenda is to humble the American champion and prove the superiority of their pure-blood Aryan heritage. To achieve this end, they employ an unscrupulous scientist capable of transforming their warrior into a superhuman killing machine. 

Can the mysterious Damballa unravel their insidious plot before it is too late to save a brave and noble man? Airship 27 Productions and Cornerstone Book Publishers are proud to introduce pulpdom’s first ever 1930s African-American pulp hero – and the first novel ever written in the Dieselfunk genre – as created by the acclaimed author, Charles Saunders.

Matty’s Rocket, by Tim Fielder


Matty’s Rocket is a galaxy spanning tale about the adventures of space pilot Matty Watty.

This series is based in an alternative past where the pulp stylings of Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, and Fritz Lang’s Metropolis collide with the real world events of World War 2, FDR, Nazis, the Harlem Renaissance and the oppressive Jim Crow era.

Watch as Matty navigates her vessel through a dangerous world filled with evil villains, heroic feats, alien oddities and down home adventure.

Black Pulp, an anthology from Pro Se Productions


From some of today’s best authors and up and coming writers comes Black Pulp, from Pro Se Productions.

Black Pulp is a collection of stories featuring characters of African descent in 12 tales of action, adventure, and thrills.

Black Pulp brings bestselling authors Walter Mosley and Joe R. Lansdale, Gary Phillips, Charles R. Saunders, Derrick Ferguson, D. Alan Lewis, Christopher Chambers, Mel Odom, Kimberly Richardson, Ron Fortier, Michael A. Gonzales, Gar Anthony Haywood, and Tommy Hancock together to craft adventure tales, mysteries, and more, all with Black characters at the forefront.

The Harlem Hellfighters, by Max Brooks; Illustrated by Caanan White


From bestselling author Max Brook comes the riveting story of the highly decorated, barrier-breaking, historic black regiment—the Harlem Hellfighters.

In 1919, the 369th infantry regiment marched home triumphantly from World War I. They had spent more time in combat than any other American unit, never losing a foot of ground to the enemy, or a man to capture, and winning countless decorations. Though they returned as heroes, this African American unit faced tremendous discrimination, even from their own government. The Harlem Hellfighters, as the Germans called them, fought courageously on—and off—the battlefield to make Europe, and America, safe for democracy.  

In The Harlem Hellfighters, Brooks and acclaimed illustrator Caanan White bring this history to life. From the enlistment lines in Harlem to the training camp at Spartanburg, South Carolina, to the trenches in France, they tell the heroic story of the 369th in an action-packed and powerful graphic novel.

The Scythe, by Balogun Ojetade

The Scythe

This novel is the first work written, specifically, as Dieselfunk.

He has been given a second chance at life. A second chance at revenge. He is the bridge between the Quick and the Dead. He is…THE SCYTHE! 

Out of the tragedy of the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, a two-fisted hero rises from the grave! 
Inspired by the pulp magazines of the 1930s and 1940s, a tale of action, adventure, thrills and chills await fans of Dieselpunk, die-hard pulp fans and readers who just love a gritty story that packs a mean punch. 

Enter a world in which Gangsters, Flappers, vampires, robots and the Ku Klux Klan all roam the same dark back streets; a world of grit, grime and grease; a world of hardboiled gumshoe detectives and mad scientists; a world where magic and technology compete for rule over the world. 

Dieselfunk has emerged in The Scythe…and the Roaring Twenties will never seem the same!


About Balogun

Balogun is the author of the bestselling Afrikan Martial Arts: Discovering the Warrior Within and screenwriter / producer / director of the films, A Single Link, Rite of Passage: Initiation and Rite of Passage: The Dentist of Westminster. He is one of the leading authorities on Steamfunk – a philosophy or style of writing that combines the African and / or African American culture and approach to life with that of the steampunk philosophy and / or steampunk fiction – and writes about it, the craft of writing, Sword & Soul and Steampunk in general, at https://chroniclesofharriet.com/. He is author of eight novels – the Steamfunk bestseller, MOSES: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman (Books 1 & 2); the Urban Science Fiction saga, Redeemer; the Sword & Soul epic, Once Upon A Time In Afrika; a Fight Fiction, New Pulp novella, Fist of Afrika; the gritty, Urban Superhero series, A Single Link and Wrath of the Siafu; the two-fisted Dieselfunk tale, The Scythe and the “Choose-Your-Own-Destiny”-style Young Adult novel, The Keys. Balogun is also contributing co-editor of two anthologies: Ki: Khanga: The Anthology and Steamfunk. Finally, Balogun is the Director and Fight Choreographer of the Steamfunk feature film, Rite of Passage, which he wrote based on the short story, Rite of Passage, by author Milton Davis and co-author of the award winning screenplay, Ngolo. You can reach him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Afrikan.Martial.Arts; on Twitter @Baba_Balogun and on Tumblr at www.tumblr.com/blog/blackspeculativefiction.

14 responses »

  1. darkwriter67 says:

    Reblogged this on Illuminite Caliginosus and commented:
    Something I’d been looking for, and I finally found it!

  2. Fujimoto says:

    The Scythe, Damballa and the tales in Black Pulp are all excellent stories. The Harlem Hellfighters is new to me though. Thank you for the recommendation.

  3. Shady_Grady says:

    Well. I already read Damballa but I will certainly be reading the other 3 books.

  4. […] and addresses African-American concerns in the context of 20th century technoculture…” Perhaps Dieselfunk meets the requirements of Afrofuturism by this definition, but it is doubtful, as Dery goes on to […]

  5. […] In the end I want the skoolie to look like some old Art Deco Steampunk sci-fi vehicle or rather DieselFunk. Captain Nemo’s Nautilus on land. For that to be done I have to work the plan and plan this […]

  6. […] while ago, I wrote The Dieselfunk Canon, providing a list of books considered the definitive works in […]

  7. […] the 1930s and 1940s, a tale of action, adventure, thrills and chills await fans of Dieselpunk and Dieselfunk, die-hard pulp fans and readers who just love a gritty story that packs a mean punch. Enter a world […]

  8. […] really digging the “funks” – steamfunk, dieselfunk, cyberfunk – and rococoa right now. These are all subgenres of steampunk, dieselpunk, […]

  9. […] Ojetade defines Dieselfunk as ‘a type of fiction, film and fashion that combines the style and mood of the period between […]

  10. […] and approach to life of people of African descent with that of the Steampunk aesthetic. Next came Dieselfunk – fiction, film and fashion that combine the style and mood of Dieselpunk – Steampunk’s […]

  11. […] Harlem Renaissance. Black life. Root work. Jazz. Diesel Funk (shout out to Tim Fielder) Monsters and monster hunting. Family. Action. Challenging of gender […]

  12. […] that negativity, some authors and Punks have branched out into an even deeper sub genre known as Diesel Funk. It attempts to bridge the gap between dieselpunk and actual black culture and genre appropriate […]

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