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Basic Information

Rocketpunk is the subversive version of golden age science fiction and couples big, bold strokes of technology with social dysfunction.

The aesthetic is predominately 50s - big, bullet like atomic rocket ships, clunky but surprisingly effective android robots, cars (flying or otherwise) with fins, zap guns and shiney jump-suits. This is, on the face of it, the world of Dan Dare and similar characters. Played straight, this genre is often called Raygun Gothic.

And then the punk bit comes in … we add in all of the negative aspects of the 50s that we discovered in hindsight - red scares and McCarthyism (not to mention what the actual communists got up to…), social repression (sometimes with the heavy use of mind altering drugs), reckless scientific experimentation and often brutal secret government programmes. Oh, and nuclear radiation. Lots of it.

Rocket punk also tends to pander to post-colonial sensitivities off-world, where any contact with aliens will generally be portrayed as unalloyed exploitation or genocide (if more primitive) or providing the source of the "red scare" (if equally or more advanced).


  • As far as we can tell the world of Fallout was either atompunk or rocket punk before the Great War brought everything down. There's a lot of fridge horror in that setting's background.
1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • Often best if played straight with PCs signed up for the Galactic Patrol or similar things, and then adding in the dissonance as people are dosed up with mood-control pills
  • Oh, and all the protein items … even Raygun Gothic treated "food pills" as a desirable invention.
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