Raphael Lacoste artwork

Lost Cities and Civilizations

Cities lost to time and half-remembered civilizations, discovered deep in the mountains of the Himalayas, the Amazonian rainforest or at the bottom of the sea, are a familiar trope in steam- and dieselpunk fiction.

Drawing on the expeditions of Percy H. Fawcett and Heinrich Schliemann, the writings of James Churchward and Theodore Illion and the esotericism of Helena Blavatsky, W. Scott-Elliot and Rudolph Steiner, both genres exploit the half-real and fully imagined tales of ancient races that supposedly roamed the Earth millennia ago. Continue reading “Lost Cities and Civilizations”

Horten Ho IX German flying wing artwork

Strange Aircraft of the Third Reich: Real and Imagined

Did you know many of the strange German warplanes we see in dieselpunk are based on real designs?

As World War II drew to a close in Europe, Nazi Germany rushed the development of advanced bombers and fighter jets in a final effort to stop the Allies. From the world’s first operational turbojet fighter to a flying wing, some of these technologies were so far ahead of their time that Allied commanders speculated the Germans could have turned the tide of the war if only they had managed to prolong it by a few months. Continue reading “Strange Aircraft of the Third Reich: Real and Imagined”

Sam van Olffen artwork

The Art of Sam van Olffen

Sam van Olffen’s world is one where we have allowed technology to take over. His is a brutal vision of big machines, pollution and war, whether it is in the form of a steampunk’d version of Henri-Paul Motte’s portrait of Cardinal Richelieu at the Siege of La Rochelle or a Nazi victory parade across the Thames.

If any artist can show you the “darker, grittier side of steampunk,” it’s Sam. Continue reading “The Art of Sam van Olffen”

Skies of Fire, Volumes 1-4

Skies of Fire, Volume 1
Skies of Fire, Volume 1

Massive diesel-powered airships dueling in the sky. It sounds like winning formula and there is a lot to like about Skies of Fire, the four-part (so far) comic series created by Vincenzo Ferriero and Ray Chou.

The art, by Pablo Peppino, is perfect for a dieselpunk story: crisp and elegant.

The setting — the fictional Aquilan Empire, inspired by early-twentieth-century Britain — is marvelous.

The mystery at the heart of the story — a never-ending storm called The Expanse, which sky pirates call their home — is an inspiration.

But the comic is light on plot. Continue reading “Skies of Fire, Volumes 1-4”