Flash Fiction Challenge: SomethingPunk

Last week’s challenge: “Must Contain…

Cyberpunk. Steampunk. Dieselpunk.

The literary subgenre -punk contains, as I see it, a couple key features —

a) A world taken over by the technology or fuel source or by humans (often in an authoritarian role) attempting to control the utilization and implementation of that tech or resource.


b) Characters who represent an anarchic, rebel “punk” vibe in this world.

Certainly other definitions could apply, but this is the one I’m going for today. The Matrix works as cyberpunk because you have the authoritarian machine regime and also the radical activists who dress all bad-ass and work to break the regime and its system to itty bitty pieces. Is Star Wars spacepunk? Forcepunk? If you really wanted to be cynical, you might suggest that we — right now — live in an Oilpunk world. BUT I DETECT NO CYNICS HERE. Ahem.


Your job is to write 1000 words of fiction in a new SomethingPunk world.

Where [Something] is a noun (tech/resource, most likely) you choose.

Definitely no cyberpunk, steampunk, dieselpunk.

That said, if you’re feeling a bit daunted by this initial open choice, I’ve included ten options below that you could grab and use in order to write this flash fiction challenge. Grab a d10 or choose randomly. If you grab from the list, the interpretation you choose is entirely up to you. (Most of those can go several ways, I suspect.)

You’ve got one week, par usual — due by noon EST on March 21st (Friday).

Post at your blog or online space. Link to your story in the comments below.

SomethingPunk Possibilities

  1. Ghostpunk
  2. Hellpunk
  3. Cowpunk
  4. Bloodpunk
  5. Soulpunk
  6. Geopunk
  7. Godpunk*
  8. Beastpunk
  9. Dustpunk
  10. Germpunk

* originally written “godspunk,” which sounds like “god-spunk” instead of “gods-punk.”

109 responses to “Flash Fiction Challenge: SomethingPunk”

  1. *Puts hand up hesitantly* I’m not sure how to start.. um… I don’t really know how to write something-punk stuff… help please… 🙁

    Okay… ‘punk’ is something I don’t really understand…

    • Punk the part is just like the punk music area. Rebel against the Machine. Spit in the eye of the ‘man’. Government wants to enforce a curfew, punk characters only go out after curfew. That sort of thing.

    • Ignore the nomenclature – it’s an alternate universe where human progress has diverged along a very specific path, so for example, during the Victorian ages, steam-based technology made an incredible amount of progress and became the number one power source. How might that have changed society? Who might be people fighting against whatever the class or social system is in that world? Steampunk! What do you think are the emerging technologies that are going to change the world, and how can you take them to extremes?

      Think of your world first, think about who the counterculture or underclasses are, then pick out the detail for the name.

  2. What a neat idea. Initially I was drawn to “bloodpunk” but I thought back to my flash from last week and it got me thinking… “timepunk”… I have to let this marinate for a bit before I begin!

    • Originally I meant to take a sci-fi action angle, but instead I ended up with this sort of cynical, sort of sad moment. I beat the clock on this challenge, coming in at 945 words. Haven’t edited it too much because it kind of shook me up. Maybe I will tinker with it later.

      At any rate, I hope you enjoy it – and as usual, I welcome any and all feedback if you’re out there reading it.

      “Borrowed Time” is here: http://pavorisms.wordpress.com/2014/03/15/borrowed-time/

      • Oh. That is sad. 🙁 It reminds me a little of the In Time movie with JT, which was a fascinating idea; but yours at least had more of a science feel to it. (This is meant to be a compliment- I liked the movie concept).

  3. Working a bit sideways on this. If “punk” represents the anarchic rebel in that world, what would be the opposite of that. A story that revels in the expression of that vibe.

    We’ve already seen things like “steam romance”, which is close, but doesn’t capture the quick image that steampunk has managed. How about “glam”? Everything that is dirty, or malfunctioning in a punk story would be gleaming and smooth in a glam story. To some degree, we are seeing some of the bloodglam stories in some of the current wave of vampire stories.


  4. OH HOLY SHIT. I am SO on this. It’s the perfect excuse to start the something-punk story that’s been giving me brain-bruises for months but that I hadn’t found time to work on.

    And yes, I read that as “god-spunk,” so thanks for not going there.

  5. I read geopunk and now all I can think of is a primitive homo sapian totalitarion government, who enforces strict policies on stone weapons, guarding flint knapping knowledge jealously and a poor neanderthal second-class citizen who just wants to feed his family! He sticks it to the man! … Possibly with an actual stick.

  6. Dustpunk and Godpunk got smashed together in my head and now I’m about 800 words into a piece I’m thrilled with so far. It is probably not (dammit) going to come in at under 1K. But the prompt was so worth it.

  7. I was all ‘uh…never done this’ and now I’m writing and it’s not punk. It’s just…hmmm. I have taken Soulpunk and run with it. This is actually really interesting. And I also saw ‘god-spunk’. Well, I am going to finish this one in time for the deadline, partly ’cause I really like it. And because I need to learn to stick to deadlines!

  8. Does knowing I just wrote the sentence “The cabbages were unarmed” give you an indication of how much fun I’m having with this one? 🙂

    • Interesting idea. Instead of the world being “powered” by souls, they are simply financed. Interesting take on the financial crisis.

  9. I made this piece with way too many words. But then again, punk is all about fucking the system.

    The style here is something I like to call Mage Punk.

    Check it out.

  10. yo everybody. I posted my first flash fiction last week with my link in the comments box, and there was a message saying my comment is under moderation. Just wondered what that meant because i didn’t see it on any other peoples posting. do i need to change something in my settings or does everyone see that message on their own post. Any info is appreciated.
    the newbie

  11. i’ve come up with what i think is either an AWESOME punk or a CRINGEWORTHY WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING? punk. i’m not gonna say what it is until i post the story…but it’s …interesting, if nothing else! 😀

  12. […] Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction challenge this week is to come up with a “something-punk” subgenre and write a story in it. Not steampunk, not cyberpunk. Something different. It just so happens that I’ve had the beginnings of a story banging around in my head since the summer that fits nicely into that idea. This seemed like a perfect excuse to at least get this character out and let her strut her stuff a little and explore the idea of gempunk. […]

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