We see here the super dreadnought Szent Katalin,built in desperation by the Secessionists from the hulk of the HMS Phobos and an incomplete hull of the same class. These were both captured with the equatorial dockyards at Mons Daktylus. These hulls were mated crudely, with the lower one serving to house a repurposed 200 cm orbital defense cannon. The gravity drive is aligned in such a manner as to absorb the recoil with the power of the drive itself. One of the eerie characteristics of the Dream Plague was the gradual recovery of the knowledge of the Grey Martians via hallucinations and automatic writing. What started as a neurosis became a cult, then a mass panic, and finally evidence that a long dead race was reasserting itself through unknown means.
The Phobos was destroyed, with the rest of the Neomartian fleet, in a desperate bid to reach Earth. Our home, once having been saved by the power of the invisible world, was almost destroyed by it in this instance.
By the way, if this is a book count me onboard.
...and thank you for your support.
It will take some more research and daydreaming, and I'd like to create a fantasy worthy of history. Thank you for your kind words.
Whether I can coherently present the progression in hull design is the big question I have about my own work. We'll see.
Having said that, I'd like to ask about your opinion on one matter: in older days I was often faced with a point that my ships aren't designed practically, as in they would utilise technology that would be implausible from a physics standpoint, and thus the ships would be unable to either sail or fly. Though it mostly boiled down to "hey why there are those pipes and stuff". It's not a question whether should I care about it, as - I believe - one has to perform a serious suspension of disbelief to even acknowledge the idea flying dreadnoughts - but I'd like to know whether you have a detailed view on practicality or thorough technical and physical design of your ships, not only their aesthetics.
As for myself, aesthetics were always number one, with practical and technical issues often being tossed aside in favour of telling a story or just drawing a nicely-looking ship. I'm curious to see what do you think about it - of course, if it's ok by you to reveal self so much.
My 'Spacecraft of the First World War' emerged from two separate origins that are intertwined: The first was a general dissatisfaction with the general steampunk and dieselpunk aesthetic- there was a lack of elements and details that tied the work I was seeing to the historical period. Steampunk all too often only references other steampunk work and vague memories of old movies made far after the reference period and vague hagiographic articles about Babbage in Wired and other places. It's circular, and aesthetically cannibalistic. I thought I might take a different approach, tied to the other origin of my current project: The second part was a sort of thought experiment I was making with 'The War of the Worlds' in terms of technologies and events after the novel. It struck me that the only way the launch (and impact) of the Martian cylinders wouldn't kill the passengers would be if there was some way of relieving the effects of gravity. I took this as my primary piece of 'magic' technology and then tried to decide what would happen to world after the novel ended.
My primary aim has been to make things seem plausible, by playing all these bluffs with a straight face. I haven't planned out nearly everything, but I try give a sense of the everyday reality of some very fanciful things. History is full of interesting little things that only real human beings do. I try to visualize the thoughts and actions of ordinary people in these very extraordinary circumstances. I haven't worked out things like deck plans in detail, but what I do try and get right is the feelings and sensations of being on one of these monsters. Is it hot? Is it hard to sleep, how do you feel as a sailor here, etc.? Almost none of us see a complete picture of our world, so vignetting the view just makes my job easier. I also have the advantage of telling these events not as they happened, but in a children's book written fifty years later, after a great many other things happened.
Aesthetics are my first priority as well, but I pretend, visually, that these things are real. I guess it's like saying something silly with a straight face, and as you keep doing it you can make the audience think you are not necessarily telling the truth, but perhaps telling something serious to the degree that it's internally consistent. I think your instincts are good, and I like what you're doing.
General, or one could say, mainstream steampunk aesthetic - I can't say I haven't been through that phase. But I got disappointed in it quickly, particularly because of bland cosplay community that floods deviantart from time to time. I think I managed to overcome that by increasing my knowledge of naval history and basic history of steam locomotives, but I guess it's pretty obvious I fall into the trap of gratuitous tubes, pipes and cogs from time to time.
The backstory of your setting, and the fact that the starting point was 'The War of the Worlds', makes it all the easier to understand your motives and design ideas. The point of divergence is clearly set and the progression in technology and ship design is all the more visible. Although I think it's not immediately possible to notice in your ships the reflection of what you write about the reality of life for the sailors on board, but at the same time I feel it's an unfair point to make - the external look of the ships is definitely the result of a lot of thought being given to their layout, and much more than a result of sheer intuition. Thank you for sharing those thoughts - they made me aware of more possibilities and hazards of good design, especially because you take the entire setting into outer space and its extreme conditions.
That's something I have abandoned in favour of perhaps a safer, more down-to-earth approach, so I'll take a liberty of highlighting my premise and such. A lot of my creative thought in the past came from the anime 'Steamboy' - when I saw it for the first time, I wrongly assumed it wasn't a steampunk cult classic, and adopted a few ideas from it - particularly the method of propulsion and lift of the airships. But what struck me most was the brilliant marriage of historical warships and vehicles with fantasy elements, and the sense of scale and grandeur this film brought about. But after a while I've grown out of cliched Victorian setting and turned to history to get my inspiration - my setting doesn't differ from real events that much, except for World War I coming a few years earlier, and being totally oblivious about later events like the emergence of the Soviet Union. I think I'm just fond of the "uneasy peace" era, as you described it - old monarchies being overwhelmed by technological and military progress, failing to shun their imperialistic mindset; the pursuits of science and exploration, that seemed to give much more hope back thenl finally the mixture of academic art, impressionism and art nouveau. I mostly like to delve into local history, and lesser known places or details - my home town was once part of the Habsburg empire, which now presents me with an opportunity to hide from the "default" Victorian aesthetic of steampunk.
But it's enough exhibitionism for now. I need to get back to work and hopefully post some new ships up in the coming weeks. I've got one last question - do you think, when you finish your book, you would be able to ship it overseas? (unless, of course, it would be at the discretion of the publisher). I would definitely be interested in getting a copy once it's done and out.
I like your setting and approach as well. If anything, it reminds me of something Miyazaki would do- a certain feel of time and place, as well as nothing too easily pinned down. I know what you mean about local history- beneath the standard rote facts presented in school and pop culture there's a lot of fascinating things that happened that make the present moment make sense. The Il-2 Sturmovik franchise and Laibach got me interested in things I'd never heard of before and started to see the rich variety and contradictions of history.
I wish you luck with your work. I shall surely send you a copy of the book if you like. Mind you, I think the first release will be as an e-book in the Kindle format. I would very much like for people worldwide to be able to enjoy what I've done for not a lot of money. It's a sort of experiment.
Thank you for you kind words, and I look forward to seeing what you're working on.