May I point your attention to this chap, Ben Sansum, he lives the 1940’s livestyle:
- Category Archives Dieselpunk
The fifth longplayer by Escape the Clouds, and this one is a little bit different; it is purely instrumental and it is also regrettably short, only six tracks all in all.
The content of the EP can be described rather adequately by one sentence: The joy of air travel distilled into music. I am aware that Mark Rossmore (the songwriter and producer behind Escape the Clouds) is an aviation enthusiast and he has managed to put his enthusiasm into this EP. The enthusiasm is contagious. The tracks on Moments invoke images of flying in some majestic, possibly piston-engined, plane. Fact is, I had quite an epiphany while listening to Moments on the way home. Sadly, I was only on a shuttle train and not on a plane, but:
The countryside here is rather flat and there is a stretch of fields which the train crosses. It so happened we crossed this stretch right when the sun went down behind the horizon, so I got a view of an orangy evening sky and an illuminated horizon. This image, combined with House of the Sun in my ear was enough to send a shiver down my back and made me wish to sit in the pilot’s seat of a Curtiss P-40.
So, Escape the Clouds has again delivered an excellent (semi-)longplayer. Music to dream to and perfect to listen to on a plane, or simply for dreaming about flying one.
9 out of 10 Zeppelins (I only got into one of the tracks after the third or fourth time I listened to it)
And here are two official videos which also capture very nicely what i was talking about:
Now this is one superhero movie that looks really interesting:
Just watch the trailer and see for yourselves:
The city faces a deadly killer. He goes by many names, has many faces… all of them deadly. Is he Kevin Sherwood? Is he Ring Master Jesus. Is he The Matanza Killer? Ian Sparks will learn. Fighting crime became a mission for Sparks when he lost his parents in a fireball car crash. Burning with desire for revenge, he finds himself in the belly of the beast, where havoc is wreaked for profit and life is cheap. Joining a handful of super heroes operating in the shadows, what they have in common is greater than Sparks can imagine; but the cost of finding the killer and uncovering the truth may be more than he can afford.
Sparks will be released on DVD rather soon (in the US), that is. To be exact: Next week, March 18th. The rest of the world will have to wait or order in the US.
And hat-tip to Stefan, for bringing it to my attention.
The Violent Century is yet another tale with which Lavie Tidhar demonstrates his superb skills as a storyteller. The Violent Century reads like a Silver Age superhero comic.
Every scene in the book is like a page in a comic, the whole novel feels like a comic book but yet is so much more. Anyway, I am getting ahead of myself, let’s star at the beginning:
The Violent Century follows the life of Henry Fogg, or simply Fog, a working-class English boy who gets caught in an event that will later be called the Vomacht event. This event is caused by a scientific experiment is caused accidentally during an experiment by German scientist Joachim Vomacht and as a result, in best Silver Age comic style, some people receive special powers, people all over the world. Henry Fogg is one of them, he can control fog.
As a result, Henry gets recruited by a special branch of the British government in the late 1930’s to fight in the coming war. There, he meets other Beyond People like himself, Blur, Tank, Spit, and Oblivion, amongst others, and the reader follows them through the Second World War, the Cold War and right to the present.
Fog, most often accompanied by Oblivion, goes on scouting missions on the eastern front, is active in occupied Paris and later in Normandy. After the War, he disappears for some years and the story focuses on Oblivion, who goes on to fight the enemies of the West, humans and beyond men (or „Übermenschen“ as they come to be universally called after the war) alike in Vietnam, alongside US Übermenschen, and Afghanistan in the 1980’s.
The Violent Century is not all about action, though. The Übermenschen on all sides, British, German, Soviet and US, soon become disillusioned. Since every country has Übermenschen, they are nothing special, yet, they have to fight, lest the other side, whoever they are in the shifting alliances of the Violent Century, gains a significant advantage. Also, they are stuck in time, the never age, and must cope with a world that is increasingly alien to them through simple advancement of technology. Also, there are several love stories in there, of all shades, The Violent Century is rather gritty in every subject it touches.
Lavie has created a gripping and stark tale of what life for a superhero is like when your powers are nothing special in the grand theme of things and your very existence becomes a burden.
The Violent Century is a dark, uncompromising and cynically philosophical novel, it keeps you enthralled right to the end and this end is bittersweet with yet another twist.
PS: I only wish Fog and Sommertag had been reunited earlier.
It is with some degree of sadness, I report the passing of Mikhail Kalshnikov, possibly the most successful small-arms designer of all time.
He is of course best known for being the inventor of the AK-47 assault rifle, a very Dieselpunk weapon, being so iconic for the military might of Stalin’s USSR.
Had history been different, maybe we would know him today as great designer of tractors or sporting rifles.
Although he developed a passion for weapons well before the Great Patriotic War started, he did not aspire to be an arms-designer. He was actually a tank-commander early in the war and his idea for what would eventually become the AK-47 developed out of him overhearing soldiers complaining about the poor quality of Soviet rifles while he was recovering after being wounded in action.
So today we honour and remember Mikhail Kalashnikov, who served his country as best he could with the talents he had. Rest in Peace.
I have been meaning to post a full review of one of Adrez Bergen’s novels for some time now, over a year, actually. Yet, I never seem to be actually doing it. This is not helped by the fact that I have now read three novels by Andrez, all of which I enjoyed immensely. So what am I going to do now, is give you a very quick rundown of each in order of when I read them, starting with:
Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat
Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat is a noir, cyberpunk, slightly dieselpunk crime story in best pulp tradition, set in a dystopian near-future Melbourne.The tone and feel of the novel is rather hectic. The protagonist is under pressure the whole time, whether something is happening to or around him or not. Floyd Maquina, the protagonist is a Seeker, somewhat similar to a Blade Runner in the movie of the same name. The further the story develops, the more intricate and real dystopian Melbourne, itself the last city on earth and on the brink of collapse, becomes. Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat features a matrix-like virtual reality, references to good old noir movies and a gripping plot. It is as gritty a read as its setting is gritty. Bonus: If you are into Warhammer 40k, Melbourne in Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat is a very good example of what life in a hive city is like.
100 Years of Vicissitude
100 Years of Vicissitude is as far removed from Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat as you can get without going into full-fledged fantasy. It is neither dirty, noir or gritty. It is a ghost story with a very etherial feel to it.The descriptions of an afterlife, the vistas and Japan itself is stunning, the narrative spans a hundred years or more and there is an actual connection to Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat. Also, 100 Years of Vicissitude tells a story by not saying things. A lot of what is going on is left to the reader and I speculate that every subsequent re-reading of the novel will lead to very different reading experience.
And now we come to Andrez‘ masterpiece:
Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa
After two excellent novels by Andrez, I was delighted to find Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa in my inbox one day and devoured it. It is set in the same world as Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat (I think), and people flee their harsh reality to a virtual place called Heropa, where some play superheroes, others are normal people, Blandos is what they are called by the heroes.Heropa is Gotham and New York of Silver Age Comics, a gleaming metropolis, somewhere and somewhen between 1920 and 1950. The perfect habitat for a masked and caped hero. But all is also not well in Heropa, the heroes are being killed off one by one although according to some rules, this should not happen. Something is wrong in Heropa.
Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa is a wacky, funny and surprisingly philosophical tale that leaves you wondering if super heroes are actually any good, if non-heroes are worthless and if you should choose virtual reality if the real world gets to unbearable. This novel entertains you immensely and makes you think!
All in all, Andrez Bergen is one of the most versatile storytellers I have had the pleasure to read the work of and I am looking forward to getting my hands on his next work.
Here is another one of the design-jewels spawned by World War II that did not go very far but at least three prototypes of this wonderful machine were built:
The Curtiss-Wright XP-55 Ascender
One of the prototypes is still on display at the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The other two crashed during flights with one fatality.
Would it not be great to get all the surviving radical designs together in one place and then let them fly together?
Anyway, here are some technical characteristics of the Acender:
- Crew: one pilot
- Length: 29 ft 7 in (9.0 m)
- Wingspan: 40 ft 7 in (12.4 m)
- Height: 10 ft 0 in (3.0 m)
- Wing area: 235 ft² (21.83 m²)
- Empty weight: 6,354 lb (2,882 kg)
- Loaded weight: 7,710 lb (3,497 kg)
- Max. takeoff weight: 7,930 lb (3,600 kg)
- Powerplant: 1 × Allison V-1710-95 liquid-cooled V12 engine, 1,275 hp (951 kW)
- Maximum speed: 390 mph at 19,300 ft (628 km/h)
- Range: 635 mi (1,020 km)
- Service ceiling: 34,600 ft (10,500 m)
- Rate of climb: 2,350 ft/min (11.9 m/s)
- Wing loading: lb/ft² (kg/m²)
- Power/mass: 0.16 hp/lb (0.27 kW/kg)
4 × 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns in the nose
Interestingly, the Japanese had a somewhat similar design, just before the War ended, but that’s a story for another post.
Out of Finland comes another jewel.
Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, Marshal of Finland and Hero of the Winter War has been re-imagined by artist Sampo Marjomaa as a Dieselpunk hero:
The full project can be admired here: Marshal 3000. It sets Mannerheim on a journey through time and space.
A Dieselpunk Marshal Mannerheim, is a really intriguing figure. Under his leadership, the Finnish Army gave the far mightier Soviet Red Army a very bloody nose:
Now imagine what the outcome would have been, hat the Finns been able to field Diesempunk equipment. But that is just a thought. Now pay Marshal 3000 a visit, be inspired. The project is very minimalist and very effective in getting ideas into the viewers head.