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Sunward by MikeDoscher Sunward by MikeDoscher

The Basilisk glides silently sunward, her iron turning to gold in Saturn’s glow. The seventh boat of the Cockatrice class, she was analogous to the torpedo boat and the submarine of more familiar seas. Armed with long range rockets, she could deal a lethal (if inexact) blow to ships and installations many times her size.

Another illustration for Spacecraft of the First World War. I used Corel Painter 2015 for this, with minor adjustments in Photoshop.

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:iconjay4123:
jay4123 Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2015
how do those engines work in space?
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:iconmikedoscher:
MikeDoscher Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2015  Professional General Artist
The propellers are there to project a forcefield that distorts the bubble of artificial gravity that the main drive generates, providing thrust. A lot of early and transitional vessels will have these, as it was the best solution at the the time for high velocities without dangerous feedback loops between the main drive and systems to convert it to thrust. Later vessels have different solutions which are less bulky and fragile. 

All the silly looking gizmos are c. 1900 solutions for modulating a means of propulsion that involves a relativistic distortion of space. In practice, their use is a little like a cross between the heighliners from Dune and the stutterwarp drive from Traveler 2300.
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:iconforgottendemigod:
ForgottenDemigod Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wonderful.
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:iconvyctorian:
Vyctorian Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2014   General Artist
Awesome work!~
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:iconsundaytool:
Sundaytool Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2014
Nice submarine!
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:iconrevealedfromthevoy:
RevealedFromtheVoy Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Very cool !
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:iconodd-tech-0support0:
Odd-Tech-0support0 Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
lovely. i invite you to submit it to artistrwelcome.deviantart.com/
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:icontimmcjimfrompl:
TimMcJimFromPl Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2014
Looks Amazing.
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:iconloone-wolf:
Loone-Wolf Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2014  Professional General Artist
Looks preety, gold and blue are a lovely combination.
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:iconjanboruta:
JanBoruta Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2014  Professional General Artist
Those are getting better and better. I have a feeling that this piece (or should I say: ship) is a tiny bit more detailed and sharp than some of the previous ones, but maybe it's an illusion - or it's because it's a single vessel portrayed. Very nice use of bloom - it's there, but it's subtle and tasteful. Also love the colours. :) My envy meter is off the charts. 
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:iconmikedoscher:
MikeDoscher Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thank you. I think that my workflow is settling down. I actually did a tight pencil sketch for this one, then did the color work in Painter, and opposed to doing a digital sketch and overpaint in Photoshop. The CS4 brushes generally produce very flat, gouache-like  marks that leave you fighting them to get a good sense of gesture and form. The later engine is an improvement, but I'm still experimenting.
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:iconurzu7:
Urzu7 Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2014
The drive props at the back remind me of Outlaw Star.
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:iconsagittarius-a-star:
Sagittarius-A-star Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Nice painting!  Those are some big rockets- they must pack a real wallop. ;) Do they have some kind of warhead or are they kinetic-kill missiles?  And, are they guided or unguided?  Anyway, still loving the WW1 style ships in space theme, looking forward to seeing more!!
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:iconmikedoscher:
MikeDoscher Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thank you. I've only about half worked out the development and deployment history of these, but here's what I was thinking:

They're really too big as kinetic kill devices for anything but the largest vessels, and accuracy isn't the strong suit of fire control in that period, so you're probably looking at a bursting charge of cordite and a jacket of tungsten steel spheres. The cordite probably wouldn't impart nearly as much energy to the spheres as angling the shot down into a gravity well. I'm certain there's an earnest young Rotwang carrying out trials with gravitational warheads, but that lies beyond the scope of the book (other than through dark implication).
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:iconsagittarius-a-star:
Sagittarius-A-star Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2014  Student Digital Artist
That makes sense- in space combat, chemical explosives aren't much use except as bursting charges for shrapnel warheads, since the kinetic energy of any mass traveling >3 km/s is indeed greater than the potential energy stored up in any chemical explosive.  A dumb rock lobbed at the speeds typical of interplanetary flight doesn't need any explosives.  But, a shrapnel warhead is a great idea- you get a spread of projectiles each able to do considerable damage, and covering a larger area so you don't have to aim so terribly precisely, just place the shot where the target will fly through the expanding shrapnel cloud.  It is funny to think that the weapons we use on the final frontier might not be so terribly removed in principles from our earliest- all that separates a thrown rock from an orbital strike is the speed and energies involved. :D

Gravity being the weakest force, and one which we humans haven't much idea how to practically manipulate, I can't comment on gravitational warheads. :XD: But in the fictional physics of WW1 spaceships I suppose the gravity-altering physics behind spaceship drives could open up the way to weapons able to stretch a battleship apart like it had wandered too close to a rogue black hole...
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:iconmikedoscher:
MikeDoscher Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2014  Professional General Artist
Yeah, that's the thing about this setting- for all their ready adaptation of Martian technology, their fire control systems are still very much those of 1910. There's a lot of spray and pray, and both the volume and velocity of the projectiles is something they keep boosting whenever they can.

Originally, the manipulation of gravity was something I just played with as a thought game, as I saw it as the only way for the crews to survive the acceleration forces when the cylinders arrived from Mars. I postulated that the invaders has access to tech from earlier civilizations that they didn't totally understand, and that we continued the trend. Of course, control of gravity leads to some interesting implications under general relativity, and the results of this are something I intend to show indirectly in the book.
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:iconsagittarius-a-star:
Sagittarius-A-star Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2014  Student Digital Artist
That makes for exciting battles with walls of metal spraying entire fleets- and the possibility of a heroic gunner with nerves of steel (and strong calculus skills) making the shot that saves Venus from occupation by buggeroids from the moons of Neptune. :XD:

Yeah, neither Verne nor Wells dealt with the fact that putting living organisms in a shell and firing them into orbit out of a gigantic cannon would squish them into a thin red paste covering the floor-plates.  They just ignored that issue, and pretended it would work.  A real space gun would either only be able to launch acceleration-hardened satellites, or it would have to gently accelerate a payload over a very long distance like StarTram (this applies more to electromagnetic launchers than the traditional over-sized artillery pieces).  Otherwise you need inertia cancelers like in Star Trek, which might indeed have a tie to gravity control.  And there undoubtedly would be implications in general relativity.  Have you worked out what you think those implications would be?  Until I have enough math to handle GR I've stuck mostly with special relativity myself. :D
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:iconmikedoscher:
MikeDoscher Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2014  Professional General Artist
Yes. I took that oversight from Wells and made it part of the story. There are some interesting places that you can make the narrator not know things, and *why* he doesn't know them can be made interesting as well.

I haven't touched the math, but I don't intend to. Mostly, I'm just doing a slow reveal on the 191X industrial west slowly realizing that being able to manipulate gravity will let them do a whole bunch of other things, so of which are very weird.
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:iconsagittarius-a-star:
Sagittarius-A-star Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2014  Student Digital Artist
What about interstellar travel? :) Gravity drives obviously allow for easy interplanetary travel and the conquest of the solar system in your setting, but is space travel going to remain limited to the solar neighborhood or will some far-sighted Robert Goddard type set his eyes on the nearby stars once the solar system is more or less all tidied up?  The real Robert Goddard did in fact speculate about interstellar migration, you can read his writing on in here.  With interplanetary travel already brought to Earth by the friendly local Martian invaders, he is going to have to find something else to do other than dream up liquid-fuel rockets to put small Sputniks in space.

Interstellar distances are so mind-numbingly vast that it is easy to imagine all space travel being only between the planets.  But seeing as Goddard dared imagine interstellar travel conducted with chemical rockets, it would be interesting to see what he would make of gravity drives. :D
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:iconmikedoscher:
MikeDoscher Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2014  Professional General Artist
Interstellar travel is a question that is never directly addressed in the book. Here's where it ceases being history, and becomes an account of history. There are a number of technical developments, strange encounters, and various foreshadowings that would point to interstellar travel, or at least the aspiration to it.

But it's not there, and never even spoken of directly. The reader's mind is meant to be left speculating what went wrong, or what the author can not or will not say. There are a lot of layers to the onion here, and I hope to paint a certain picture with a pattern of omissions.
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:icongratefulreflex:
GratefulReflex Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I really like this one, the way you shaded the hull in contrast to the asteroids is fantastic.
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:iconbastler:
bastler Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2014
Ohhh Aether Propellers?
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:iconmikedoscher:
MikeDoscher Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2014  Professional General Artist
Weirder. The rotors only spin in a gravity well, and are there to distort (in a controllable way) the anti-gravity field that the engine generates. This distortion allows the field to be used for thrust as well as lift. Relativity meets ironmongery.
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:iconralfmaximus:
RalfMaximus Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I love that they're counter-rotating. :D
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:icongromgorefiend:
Gromgorefiend Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2014
Lovely great ship , now why cant some video games use a style like this.
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:iconwingnut55:
Wingnut55 Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2014
i was just thinking the same thing !
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:iconmikedoscher:
MikeDoscher Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2014  Professional General Artist
Perhaps someday they shall. There were some miniature games that were more fantasy interpretations of the time period, but they didn't dig too deep into the infrastructure and technologies of the time period.
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:icondecophoto32:
decophoto32 Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Nice work. 
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:icontodk:
TodK Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2014
I really really really want to see this book finished and on my coffee table.
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