For various reasons this aeronautical tale never took off. Now I'm returning to it in a rather different form. The bombers are replaced by airships. Lauchenland and Beruzil make way for the Holy Roman Empire. And the whole things takes place in a 19th century with some major differences to the one you learned about at school.
|"The Last Stagecoach" |
by Vadim Voitekhovitch
A wonderful evocation of an airship age that never was
The picture above is one of a series of hugely atmospheric steampunk fancies by Vadim - to see the full range, check out his remarkable gallery here.
Real-world stories--even those set in an alternate past--require real-world research. So what I have been reading (pretty much non-stop for the past six months)?
Airships and Flight
Zeppelins: German Airships 1900-1940, Charles Stephenson
Hanna Reitsch: Flying For the Fatherland, Judy Lomax
Disaster at the Pole, Wilbur Cross
A History of Airships, John Richards
Nuremburg Diary, G.M. Gilbert
The Nuremberg Trial, John and Ann Tusa
Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth, Gitta Sereny
Berlin: The Downfall 1945, Antony Beevor
The Pursuit of Glory: Europe 1648-1815, Tim Blanning
Wallenstein: The Enigma of the Thirty Years War, Geoff Mortimer
Wallenstein's Death, Friedrich Schiller (trans Samuel Coleridge)
The Ottoman Centuries: The Rise and Fall of the Turkish Empire, Patrick Kinross
The Thirty Years War, C.V. Wedgewood
Early Modern Europe from about 1450-1720, George Clark
The Seventeenth Century, David Ogg
Memoirs of a Prague Executioner, Josef Svatek
Europe's Tragedy: A New History of the Thirty Years War, Peter Wilson
The Chemical Choir: The History of Alchemy, P.G. Maxwell-Stuart
The Mercurial Emperor: The Magic Circle of Rudolf II in Renaissance Prague, Peter Marshall
Longitude, Dava Sobel
Victorian London, Liza Picard
Cassell's Chronology of World History, Hywel Williams
Some of these have been entertaining, some of them less so. Discussing my practices with writing friends, I seem to be unusual in trying to do all of my research up-front. I feel more comfortable knowing things at the start (perhaps because of my Mondia stories, where I needed to build the world from the ground up).
Most of my reading has been about the 16th century, which is only back-story in the novel. But if get that firmly grounded, I can skip into the meat of my story with a light heart and a brisk pen. The 19th century needs less research, partly because I was better informed on that to start with, and partly because I'm inventing my own 19th century rather than representing the real one.