Paul von Hindenburg Oskar of Prussia

What If Germany Had Won the First World War?

Many a what-if has been written about a German victory in World War II. Alternate histories of a German victory in World War I are less popular, but they exist. Indeed, people started thinking about the consequences of a German victory during the war itself and feared it might give way to a German empire spanning nearly the whole of Europe.

Here is a look at some of the maps that were produced to show a German victory in what was at the time called simply “the Great War”. Continue reading “What If Germany Had Won the First World War?”

Low Countries map

What If Belgium and the Netherlands Had Remained One Country?

450 years ago this year, the Dutch Revolt against the Catholic king of Spain started. For eighty years, the largely Protestant provinces of the Netherlands fought for their independence. They got it in 1648, when the Peace of Münster (part of the Peace of Westphalia) recognized the Northern Netherlands as an independent republic.

But the largely Catholic South remained Spanish until 1714, when it became Austrian. It was briefly joined with the Netherlands after the defeat of Napoleon, but by then the two had grown apart culturally, economically and linguistically. Belgium seceded from the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1830.

This separation was not preordained. In 1581, Brabant (which is now split between Belgium and the Netherlands), Flanders as well as Mechelen had joined the Northern provinces in their declaration of independence, the Act of Abjuration. But they were quickly reconquered by Spanish forces. Antwerp and Brussels had been the centers of economic and political life in the Low Countries. They too fell under Spanish rule. The North continued as a republic, centered on Amsterdam.

What if the rebels had succeeded in holding the South? What could a United Netherlands have looked like? Continue reading “What If Belgium and the Netherlands Had Remained One Country?”

Infernal Devices

Infernal Devices
Infernal Devices

K.W. Jeter’s Infernal Devices is a classic steampunk novel worth reading. Having been published in the early 1980s, it is was on of the earliest works of steampunk and has a lot of the themes that would connect steampunk works.

The author, Jeter, is considered a founding father of steampunk. He is famously credited with coining the term steampunk in an interview. Almost as an afterthought he said you might call the new movement something like “steampunk”. The term ended up sticking even if Infernal Devices faded into relative obscurity. Continue reading “Infernal Devices”

The Skyborne Corsairs

The Skyborne Corsairs
The Skyborne Corsairs

The Skyborne Corsairs is a short steampunk novel written by Alexander Rooksmoor which I had the pleasure to read and review for you. My interest for the novel derived from the title: I like everything airship-connected. And everything steampunk too, so I considered this a must-read.

Anthony Cavendish is travelling in the Mediterranean Sea toward Algeria, where he is going to take his next command. The ship is attacked by sky pirates, who fly a type of aircraft never seen before. The pirates take everything valuable, kill whoever tries to oppose them and kidnap as many woman as possible, including Henrietta, Anthony’s wife.

Anthony is quite resigned never to see Henrietta again, but two other passengers, an Italian revolutionary and a Canadian author, convince him not to surrender and together they decide to hunt the pirates and free the women. Continue reading “The Skyborne Corsairs”

Helcanen on the Road

Helcanen on the Road
Helcanen on the Road

Helcanen, a Belgian artist known for her affinity for Japan, returns with a new book, a new and original take on traveling Japan that combines a beautiful vintage style with our modern times.

This first edition of her postcard-sized travel journals takes you on the road in Hyōtan-yama, a neighborhood of Higashiōsaka, Japan.

Not only is it a wonderful tale that takes you along on Helcanen’s voyages, it is also a little treasure trove for those wanting to go there themselves. Continue reading “Helcanen on the Road”

C-mine Genk Belgium

C-mine

The C-mine in Genk, Belgium is a remodeled mining site that is now used for concerts, conferences, exhibition and all sorts of events.

What makes it is the steampunk look and feel of the place. The old machinery is still present in, with handy explanation plaques to accompany it. Visiting C-mine is like walking through a combination of a mining factory from the last century combined with modern creature comforts. And that’s pretty awesome. Continue reading “C-mine”