A Sub-Sub Genre
Lunarpunk is a relatively new and still underdeveloped subgenre born, or rather in the process of being born, out of solarpunk as well as science fiction and fantasy more broadly. A good way to start conceptualizing lunarpunk at a basic level is to consider it in terms of a basic and analogous relationship with solarpunk, particularly when it comes to the aesthetic aspects of the two subgenres. So for example:
Solarpunk is to Lunarpunk as sun is to moon.
Solarpunk is to Lunarpunk as day is to night.
Solarpunk is to Lunarpunk as science and technology are to occult and spirituality.
Solarpunk is to Lunarpunk as solar panels are to bioluminescence.
Solarpunk is to Lunarpunk as community is to the individual.
Solarpunk is to Lunarpunk as flowers are to fungi.
Solarpunk is to Lunarpunk as orange, red, and yellow are to black, silver, and blue.
Of course, it’s not a perfect 1-to-1 relationship. For the sake of not being prescriptive in discussing or “defining” such a young subgenre, it might even be better to say “Solarpunk might be to Lunarpunk as X is to Y.” Regardless, those analogies probably aren’t perfect anyway. But that’s okay because this isn’t a college entrance exam. The point is working together as a community to explore what lunarpunk is and could be, and we usually figure out what things are by looking at them in relationship to other things.
Relationships don’t imply exact opposites. There’s still science in lunarpunk, for example. It’s still a subgenre of science fiction. But it also can lean more towards fantasy and there is, generally… usually… probably a spiritual aspect that’s important to lunarpunk stories.
Just because lunarpunk might focus more on individual perspectives doesn’t mean community and community solutions aren’t important like they are in solarpunk.
Climate change solutions are as central to lunarpunk stories as they are to solarpunk, as are optimistism and hope. At the same time, lunarpunk often has a more dark and gothic feel, flavor, and tone.
It sounds like a potential exercise in contradictions. Maybe it is. Perhaps that’s what will be so fascinating and compelling about it. Who knows. We’re all finding out and figuring out together!
Some Existing Resources
There are a few spots on the internet where ideas of about lunarpunk are starting to be explored in more depth and with more concerted purpose. These pages are worth exploring, and offer a good starting reference point for authors, artists, and anyone else interested in lunarpunk worldbuilding and storytelling.
Solarpunk Vegan is a pinterest page that includes a section with hundreds of reference images useful to the development of lunarpunk as subgenre and an aesthetic. The page briefly describe lunarpunk as “…a part of Solarpunk” and says that “Several different subcultures exist that would be in this category. The most general use for the term is the nightlife of a Solarpunk city. This includes what the city looks like at night & the past times Solarpunk citizens enjoy at night. Other subsets of Lunarpunk are as follows: The religious side are citizens who worship a moon goddess(es). The fashion subset of goths are typically referred to as lunarpunks.”
Solarpunk Druid talks more in depth about their perspective on the spiritual aspect of lunarpunk. They call lunarpunk’s “…occult and ecological spirituality…both a reflection of, and companion to, Solarpunk’s focus on ecological technology.”
Lunarpunk Anarchist has started a tumbler page that will be interesting to watch develop as a resource. Similarly to Solarpunk Vegan, Lunarpunk Anarchist looks at lunarpunk, at least in part, as solarpunk at night. They ask, “What happens in the ecocommunity when the sun goes down?” They then go on to talk about lunarpunk as a “A gothic take on solarpunk. An artistic, aesthetic, literature, and political movement founded on ecology, decentralization, non-hierarchy, mutual aid, individual liberty, liberatory technology, diversity, feminism, and the merging of art, science, and politics.”
As a closing thought, I would add that, in my opinion at least, individual liberty shouldn’t come at the expense of the importance of community. Rather, perhaps lunarpunk might have more of a focus on exploring the balance between strong communities and individual liberty rather than simply thinking about individual liberty as some kind of opposite of community values.
Authors – Are you writing lunarpunk? Are you interested in exploring lunarpunk futures through your writing. Here are two lunarpunk specific submission opportunities that we are aware of:
Lunarpunk Short Story Submission (500-7,500 words)
Justine Norton-Kertson (they/he/she) is the co-editor-in-chief of Solarpunk Magazine. They live in rural Oregon with his partner, puppies, cats, goats, and beehives. She can be found on Twitter @jankwrites.