As part of Liberty Mutual’s “Responsibility Project” for short films, ProMotion Studios produced this beautiful short animation called “Lighthouse”. Very nice work – a good story, technically excellent, and with several very nicely observed character actions.
Here’s a test rendering of the 3D model I’ve been working on – it’s the Airship Vindoclavian, a lighter than air dirigible that incorporates some steering propellers from an old Modern Mechanix & Inventions cover and an exoskeletal frame that’s unlike any that were ever used in zeppelins (German zeppelins used internal, four-spoked frames, while the US Navy’s dirigibles used a similar, but three-spoked frame that the German engineers disapproved of*).
That frame and another aspect of the design are really intended just to make the nature of the ship more apparent… so I have to figure out what crazy notions led to those changes. Because I’m not a rocket scientist, of course – just a rocket artist.
*given the relative failure rates of the US and German dirigibles, the Germans seem to have had a point there.[tags]zeppelin, dirigible, retro future, retro futuristic, airship, dieselpunk, sci fi, science fiction, 3d, 3ds max, computer graphics[/tags]
Here’s a retro science fiction pulp magazine cover for a magazine that doesn’t exist, but probably ought to: THRILLING TALES OF THE DOWNRIGHT UNUSUAL.
In this imaginary issue we have that nail-biting page turner “The Toaster with TWO BRAINS”, in which our heroes delve deep into the hostile lair of Doctor Rognvald, beneath the volcanoes of Iceland – only to discover that this evil genius has created the ultimate malevolent kitchen appliance: the Toaster with TWO BRAINS! Is it unstoppable? Immovable? Relentless? Horrifying? Unkillable? You bet it is.
Because a toaster with one brain isn’t terrifying. But two? Talk about the heebie-jeebies!
If I were able to explain this…. I wouldn’t. You can wonder all you like about infant toaster traumas. I’m not talking. Except to observe, as is my habit, that I cooked this thing up to serve fresh to you, dear reader, as an archival print, a poster, stylish t-shirt, greeting card, and coffee mug – just the thing for that apocalyptic breakfast that the toaster has in mind for us all.
Flickr user jbj has posted this inspiring photo of a young mad scientist who – in a praiseworthy show of social conscience – is warning anyone within reading distance that he’s about to throw that Really Big Switch on his Trans-Dimensional Vaporizing Fireplace Annihilator. Well done!
I’m pleased to see my Back Off – I’m Doing SCIENCE shirt used in this responsible way.
One out of a collection of scans from the covers of science fiction magazines, at the Whitechapel forums. It bothers me just a little bit that I might have read a few of these when they were new, since they span at least two decades .
On a good day, or in a good week, I can watch the traffic there snowball into a regular avalanche as those folks who’ve found me through the banners post about it in forums, at their blogs, and so on. Some of those sites are very popular – or a popular blogger may find one of those first generation posts, and it can build from there. Well. Sometimes. It’s not like that’s every day, or every week. But here are some highlights:
One thing that’s surprised me about some of my recent linkage, though, is the number of people who’ve described my work as Steampunk. Because although I’m not one to snap on my brass goggles and to holster my Aetheric Odds Equalizer before I go out, I’m pretty well aware that Steampunk is all about the retro future of the Victorian and Edwardian eras, which means it’s not really what I do. Mind you, I like the style well enough, and I have a couple of things in the Idea Closet that would certainly be steamy, but they’re digressions, for me. My Future That Never Was is really all about the 1920s and 1930s and our ideas, back then, of what Tomorrow might bring.
The inestimable Molly Porkshanks has brought another word to my attention – dieselpunk. Now that, with its allusion to early twentieth century technology, sounds nearer the mark; but even there it’s much more evocative of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow than it is of what I’m up to. My rockets and robots aren’t diesel powered and my retro future isn’t, either.
And, frankly, although I was all over the genre of “Cyberpunk” as soon as Neuromancer hit the shelves, the subsequent *punks have sort of made my eyes glaze over. There’s clockpunk, for example, and biopunk, dieselpunk, and even – I guess predictably – postcyberpunk.
There’s not a lot of punk in any of them, of course. The “punk” suffix has lost its meaning. At one game company where I worked, the owners’ pet project was a supposedly cyberpunk game in which they’d forgotten to put the punk in. It wasn’t anything more than a sort of direct-to-video science fiction idea. The word had lost its meaning.
So the names, styles, and labels aren’t really my own cup of tea. I’m always pleased when people like what I do and with a name like mine, you’ll understand that I long ago decided not to bother very much about names and their derivatives. So if people who like steampunk or dieselpunk also like what I do, I’m thrilled; and even if they attach a favorite label – rightly or wrongly – to it, I don’t suppose I mind very much, even if I’m not quite sure why they do it, and even though I suspect that they’re watering down their own terminology when they do it. So what the heck; I’m even using dieselpunk, at least, in tags on my web sites.
Now on the other hand, I’ve recently been reading Patrick O’Brian’s excellent seafaring novels about the Napoleonic period and I have this idea that something along those lines with sky pirates and fleets of airships would just be the bee’s knees. So, somebody, go write them! Odds are they’ll be something like Steampunk, or maybe Sailpunk. And I’ll certainly read them, even though what I’m up to is something else.