Sunday 28 April 2013

Leviathan Rising: Redux

They say worse things happen at sea, and they do indeed for dandy adventurer and servant of the throne Ulysses Quicksilver as he (and his faithful manservant Nimrod of course) enjoy the maiden voyage of the luxury submersible cruise liner Neptune.

Mssr Blease has commented on this book here before but I add my own commentary, some years later it must be admitted, as I am thoroughly enjoying this great series.

Leviathan Rising is a wonderful combination of the 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, Murder on the Orient Express and The Poseidon Adventure.  It will keep you on the edge of your chesterfield and in danger of spilling your cognac the whole way though.  Mystery, underwater cities, intrigue, giant beasties, conspiracy, murder and crevats- this ripping yarn has it all!  And as a nautical chap myself it struck a real chord with me.

Another cracking tale by Mssr Green which I most thoroughly enjoyed, leaving me again wondering why it has taken me this long to read it.  Then again, it means I can read them all in double quicktime without having to wait for the next release! Tally-Bally ho I say, as I recharge my snifter and eagerly reach for the next installment in the Quicksilver series, Human Nature.

Monday 22 April 2013

Dynamite Gun Cruiser

In reading Angel of the Revolution, I came across a type of vessel I hadn't encountered before: the Dynamite Gun Cruiser.

The USS Vesuvius was a one of a kind experimental vessel commissioned in 1890.  She was fitted with three fixed elevation compressed air launchers which were aimed by physically turning the ship, and lobbed explosive charges.  In theory she could lob 30 charge in 30 minutes, giving a rate of fire, and a net explosive effect, significantly greater than any other vessel.

Vesuvius saw action in the Spanish American War, joining the Cuban blockade in 1898 and conducting a number of shore bombardments.  While the local Commander claimed she had 'great effect' a planned follow up vessel was never built as more conventional weapon technology overtook pneumatic weapons and made them redundant.

Saturday 20 April 2013

A new journey begins

My sea chest has been packed into my stateroom and today we cast off all lines to set sail for new adventures!  I shall of course be incommunicado mostly but from time to time may be able to send the odd aethergram of news.

Monday 15 April 2013

Unnatural History: Redux

Some time ago that splendid chap Mssr Blease posted his thoughts on this fantastical tale

Well blast me if I hadn't forgotten all about it since then, but recently my man servant was doing a bit of a tidy up in the Library and brought it to my attention.  I immediately corrected the oversight of not reading it before and dashed if it wasn't a ripping yarn of the highest calibre!  I went through it like a Gentleman's Club consumes cognac and it left me wanting more, which I will be enjoying rather shortly.

Do yourself a favour and make sure you don't miss the adventures of dandy adventurer and agent of the throne Ulysses Quicksilver, Esq and his servant Nimrod.

Thursday 11 April 2013

1 Week left for IHMN

Depending on what side on the International Date Line you dwell of course, there is only a week left to get ion on the new Steampunk Skirmish game, In Her Majesty's Name.

There are some gorgeous figures on offer - so much so in fact that the hardest decision is not if to get, but what to get!

The developers also have a blog up in which they discuss the development of the rules.  Have a gander here for more info

Go on, and get onboard- you know you want to :-)

Monday 8 April 2013

Angel of the Revolution

Written in 1893, and now 120 years old, this book is a classic period piece of  'invasion literature' which I really enjoyed.  In many ways, Griffiths is quite prophetic in his vision of a Great War involving all the European powers.  One one side he has the aggressors of the Franco-Slavonian League, comprised of Russia, France, Italy, Spain (who were promised Gibraltar), Portugal (who are promised the Congo) and Serbia.  Matched against them is the Anglo-Teutonic Alliance of Britain, Germany and Austro-Hungary supported (in varying degrees of willingness) by Denmark, Belgium, Holland, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey.  So while he didn't quite get the alliances exactly right, he rightly forsaw the impact of such a titanic conflict, and the transition of warfare from one which involved personal heroism and gallantry into one of mechanised butchery. 

Add then to this mix, a fleet of newly invented dirigibles employed by the Tsar's and Gallic forces which can bomb the opposing armies unopposed (and without mercy of course) and make short work of them and their prepared fortifications.  Luckily though a third force lurks in the shadows - the Brotherhood of Freedom (better known throughout the world as Terrorists or Nihilists) who, thanks to their new and clever recruit, have solved the problem of aerial navigation and now possess the only real aerial fleet in the word.  Able to significantly outfly and outgun the war balloons of the Franco-Slavonian League, their support could change the course of the war but they elusively pursue their own ends... 

Wrapped around some wonderful British romanticism of the period, are some great descriptions of battles, particularly the second Battle of the Nile, the Russians forcing an exit from the Baltic and subsequently raiding the coaling station at Aberdeen, the RN Atlantic convoy system, and some major engagements in British Homewaters.  Two squadrons of French Aquanefs also make an appearance towards the end so there is something for everyone (but no Land Ironclads or Terranefs though I'm afraid).

Highly Recommended - if you haven't read it, go find yourself a copy and enjoy!
You can get this reprint from Heliograph here:

Thursday 4 April 2013

A Visit to the Moon

A Visit to the Moon is another VSF classic by George Griffith and available for free download here:

Tuesday 2 April 2013

Clean your chimney Guv'nor?

Engaged a stiff upper lip and got into a bit of a clean up around the old WWS Blog.  Removed dead links, added some new ones, bit of a stooge with the format, that sort of thing.

Making a bit of room for a new project hereabouts.  Going to be a good show but Mum's the word for now.  Cant be too careful with all those Boche spies and agents of the Tsar lurking about dont you know...

One development which might interest chaps of a literary bent is the 'Books in a White Wine Sauce' section in the left hand margin.  I've put together a list of VSF books, both period and modern, and would love to hear if any erudite readers have any further suggestions.  Cheers!

An exploration of debauchery, vice and other reasons to be a man!

An exploration of debauchery, vice and other reasons to be a man!