Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill have created in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen the most ambitious and inspiring steampunk franchise. Volumes 1 and 2 will top many steampunks’ list of favorite books and deservedly so. They are rich stories with intricate plot lines and sympathetic characters.
The in-between Black Dossier was a bit of a letdown story-wise and I’m afraid things have gone further downhill.
Continue reading “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume 3: Century”
Christine is a beautiful retro-style gal, living all alone in a house that wouldn’t look amiss in the latest incarnation of the horror classic The House on Haunted Hill.
She doesn’t live alone, however, sharing her home with a variety of monsters (literally) ranging from Rankle, the mummified cat; Rose, who is assumed to be mostly a raccoon; and Edgar, who looks like he could be a retro-style werewolf.
Top that off with ghostly roommate Vivienne, played by none other than Dita von Teese and several other wacky characters.
Continue reading “The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell”
In 1988, Channel 4 adapted Chris Mullin’s 1982 novel A Very British Coup for television. Although the country was well in the middle of the Thatcher boom at the time, the three-part miniseries harkened back to the 1970s and early 80s and its post-industrial gloom.
Under the last Labour government before Margaret Thatcher came to power, Britain had been plagued by strikes and energy blackouts, culminating in the humiliation of the world’s former superpower requiring a bailout from the IMF.
In Mullin’s story, it wasn’t Thatcher who won the election but the socialist Harry Perkins. The character is loosely based on Tony Benn, the real-world leader of the Labour left.
Perkins (played in the miniseries by Ray McAnally) is determined to make good on his election promises: (re)nationalizing industries, breaking up big media, withdrawing from NATO and scrapping Britain’s nuclear deterrent. His program spooks the British establishment. Spymasters, business tycoons and career civil servants conspire to bring Perkins down.
Continue reading “A Very British Coup”
In 1946, the United States Air Force began to study the feasibility of nuclear-powered aircraft. Only one plane, built by Convair, was ever tested. The problem, as Steve Weintz puts it in The National Interest, was that leaders “couldn’t figure out how to pay for it or why they needed it.”
Continue reading “America’s Atomic-Powered Aircraft”
When French president Charles de Gaulle agreed to Algerian self-determination in 1961, his right-wing supporters were outraged. They had returned the general to power only three years earlier so he could put down the bloody uprising in France’s most prized colony. Some of the pieds-noirs, the Algerian French, and their sympathizers in the army banded together in the paramilitary Organisation de l’armée secrète (OAS) to stop the independence process with assassinations and bombings.
The Day of the Jackal, based on Frederick Forsyth’s novel of the same name, fictionalizes the group’s plots against De Gaulle.
Continue reading “The Day of the Jackal”
Seven Days in May, based on the highly successful novel of the same name by Charles W. Bailey II and Fletcher Knebel, tells the story of an attempted military putsch in the United States.
It’s the early 1970s. An unpopular President Jordan Lyman (Fredric March) has signed a nuclear disarmament treaty with the Soviet Union and is facing strong opposition from the military and the right. The charismatic Air Force General James Mattoon Scott (Burt Lancaster) has convinced all but one of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to support him in a coup against the president. Colonel Jiggs Casey (Kirk Douglas), director of the Joint Staff, finds out about the plan and teams up with Lyman to stop it.
Continue reading “Seven Days in May”
Los Angeles is a dieselpunk’s delight with its collection of Art Deco architecture, ranging from its famous City Hall to the Art Nouveau-ish Bullocks Wilshire to the iconic Eastern Columbia Building to the heavyset headquarters of the Los Angeles Times.
If it had been up to the following architects, though, the city would have been turned into a theme park of postwar, Atomic Age architecture as well.
Continue reading “Unbuilt Los Angeles”
At a glance, this doesn’t look too different from your average Cold War map. Take a closer look, though, and you will notice some oddities. Half of Austria seems to be missing. East Germany is much bigger than it should be. Greece isn’t in NATO, but Sweden is.
What happened here?
Continue reading “How Finland’s Defeat in 1940 Could Have Changed the Cold War”
If you are familiar with Rick and Morty, you already know the catchphrase of the titular character, Rick Sanchez.
Adult Swim, well known for cartoons with a twist, is currently reigning supreme with this mad science/atompunk cartoon.
Continue reading “Wubba-Lubba-Dub-Dub!”
What if the laptop, mobile phone and MP3 player had been invented in the 1970s? Alex Varanese gives us a glimpse at what might have been if the future had happened sooner.
Continue reading “The Art of Alex Varanese”