Much of the Howard Hughes legend was well dramatized in the hit Hollywood film The Aviator (review here), starring Leonardo DiCaprio. With some alterations for narrative, the film was a great success and provided the viewer with a good understanding of Hughes and his eccentricities.
However, the film ends well before Hughes himself passed away in 1976 and left many details of his life uncovered.
Continue reading “The Aviator: The Life and Legend of Howard Hughes”
According to the blog The Flying Fortress, there are “two flavors of dieselpunk”: a pre-nuclear “Ottensian” dieselpunk (named after me!), which revels in the bliss and progress of the 1930s, and a post-nuclear “Piecraftian” dieselpunk, which is sometimes post-apocalyptic.
Continue reading “Decodence”
A little-known chapter in the history of aeronautics is the attempt to reach the North Pole by airship.
Continue reading “To the Pole by Balloon”
While dieselpunk is commonly associated with a pulpy, noir-and-Jazz America, there remains a fascination in the subgenre for the crepuscular world of Interwar Europe.
It was a time of artistic ferment and architectural genius, of electricity and of the machine entwining themselves into the fabric of urban life, of cultural clashes and sexual politics, of ambitious administrators uttering proclamations and of humbled citizens trying to find a place in the brave new world.
It is this brief epoch, and the imaginative potential it nurtured, that finds a new home in the ethereal world of Les Cités Obscures.
Continue reading “The Invisible Frontier”
Carol McCleary is the author of The Alchemy of Murder (our review here), in which real-world heroine Nellie Bly must save Paris with the aid of Louis Pasteur, Jules Verne and Oscar Wilde.
She talks with us about her inspiration for the novel and her plans for the next one.
Continue reading “Interview with Carol McCleary”
Patience is a virtue many modern men and women lack. Patience, to most, can be tested when queued up at Starbucks or waiting for your email to load. Yet the patience of most folks is the blink of an eye when compared to the creative endurance of artists Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett.
The husband and wife have put together the stunning Boilerplate: History’s Mechanical Marvel. The hardcover artbook, all 168 pages and 350 color illustrations (along with numerous black-and-white photos, sketches and scribbles), covers the fictional (yet lovingly pitched as real) life of Boilerplate, a robot soldier and adventurer, creation of inventor Professor Archibald Campion.
Continue reading “Boilerplate: History’s Mechanical Marvel”
The era of steampunk ends with the First World War. While authors have played with twilit eras of brass and steam existing deep in the twentieth century before, these tend to be aberrant epochs, places where the life of the Gilded Age has been unnaturally prolonged. When the war breaks out, as it does in Ian R. MacLeod’s House of Storms (2005), and as it is implied to do in Stephen Baxter’s Anti-Ice (1993), it symbolizes the end of an age, the final verdict of a world too frivolous to last, yet too innocent to deserve the coming judgment.
However, Scott Westerfeld, a specialist in young-adult science-fiction, who made his mark with the popular Uglies series, has taken a different tack. Rather than positioning the Great War as the end of steampunk, Leviathan imagines a war that has been colonized by the steampunk aesthetic.
Continue reading “Leviathan”
The live-action film Casshern (directed by Kazuaki Kiriya, 2004) is based on the 1973 anime of the same name. This fact is a sore spot for fans of the original, who generally seem to be unanimous in their dislike of the filmic remake. On the other hand, fans of the movie may not enjoy the anime upon viewing.
I have to admit that I’ve only seen a few fragments of that original 1970s animation, but I think I’ve seen enough to say that I actually enjoy both, for their own reasons.
Needless to say, the 70s anime is generally bright and campy. The film is, however, dark and extravagant (perhaps to excess). This already forces a wedge between the two, which is driven deeper by some drastic changes to the plot.
Continue reading “Casshern”
Nellie Bly is a free-spirited woman. Anything a man can do, she can do as least as good and she won’t stop at anything to prove it.
This doesn’t sound too strange, were it not that she lived in the United States of the turn of the century, where the social situation of women wasn’t exactly what it is now.
Continue reading “The Alchemy of Murder”
You Are Empty, created by defunct Ukrainian developer Digital Spray, is not a good video game.
The graphics are out of date, relying on shopworn polygons and flat textures more common to games from the beginning of the decade rather than anything on the shelves today.
Continue reading “You Are Empty”