Richard Ellis Preston, Jr. grew up in the United States and Canada but he prefers to think of himself as British. He attended the University of Waterloo where he earned an Honors B.A. in English with a Minor in Anthropology. He has lived on Prince Edward Island, met the sheep on Hadrian’s Wall, eaten at the first McDonalds in Moscow, excavated a 400 year old Huron Indian skeleton and attended a sperm whale autopsy. Romulus Buckle & the City of the Founders, Romulus Buckle & the Engines of War and Romulus Buckle & the Luminiferous Aether are the first three installments in his new steampunk series, The Chronicles of the Pneumatic Zeppelin. He currently resides in California. Find out more at hos website and follow him on Twitter as @RichardEPreston
Airship Versus Flying Kraken Battle Tactics: A Steampunk Primer
by Richard Ellis Preston, Jr.
Captain Buckle hurdled over tentacles, moving beneath dozens more that lashed back and forth in the darkness overhead. “Have at the monster, mates!” he shouted into the teeth of the wind, and slammed his axe down upon the joint of a thick, writhing arm. The blade sank deep into the jellyfish muscle beneath, sending up gouts of yellow blood. The tentacle snapped back reflexively, nearly tearing the axe out of Buckle’s hands as it whiplashed away.
(From Romulus Buckle and the Engines of War by Richard Ellis Preston, Jr.)
In Romulus Buckle and the Engines of War, the second novel in my Chronicles of the Pneumatic Zeppelin steampunk adventure series, the airship launch Arabella is caught in an ice storm and attacked by a flying alien beastie which resembles a mythical kraken. Kraken encounters with airships are rare but zeppelin crews, operating in earth’s alien-creature-filled post-apocalyptic skies, understand the tactics needed to handle of this kind of situation.
What follows is an airship vs. flying kraken battle primer, complete with Crankshaft Air Corps tactical notes, employing the Arabella incident an example.
Please Note: a gorgeous illustrated schematic of this battle sequence is featured inside the new Steampunk User’s Manual by Jeff VanderMeer and Desirina Boskovitch. The artist is Locus Award winner Jeremy Zerfoss. TOR.COM has an exclusive look at the illustration and an exclusive FREE ROMULUS BUCKLE SHORT STORY, “An Officer and a Gentleman,” on their website here.)
REVIEW SUMMARY: A detailed, definitive biography on the life of Robert Heinlein.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The first of two volumes of Robert Heinlein’s life.
PROS: Detailed; exhaustive.
CONS: Volume 2 is still in the works.
BOTTOM LINE: A comprehensive and serious look at an author’s life and legacy.
I received a copy of Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century: Volume 1 (1907-1948): Learning Curve following its publication in 2010, intending on reading and reviewing it then. After cracking it open and starting it, I… stopped. There’s no good reason for this; it’s detailed, interesting, and does much to shed light on a very notable author in the science fiction community. But, it’s a dense read, and not really something that’s conducive to sitting down and reading cover to cover. I set the book aside at one point, intending to return shortly thereafter, and the break stretched out.
Edited by John Joseph Adams and published by TOR, The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination features all original, all nefarious, all conquering tales from the megalomaniacal pens of Diana Gabaldon, Austin Grossman, Seanan McGuire, Naomi Novik, Daniel H. Wilson and 17 OTHER EVIL GENIUSES.
The book description is this:
Mad scientists have never had it so tough. In super-hero comics, graphic novels, films, TV series, video games and even works of what may be fiction, they are besieged by those who stand against them, devoid of sympathy for their irrational, megalomaniacal impulses to rule, destroy or otherwise dominate the world as we know it.
We asked a few of the authors a couple of questions…
SF/F fans love to talk about their favorite books being adapted for film. But what about television? Are there books better suited for a television series? We asked this week’s panelists (inspired by a suggestion from James Wallace Harris)…
Q: What SF/F book would make a great television series? How would you adapt it for the small screen?
Here’s what they said…
is the author of over 20 books of SF, fantasy, and writing advice. Her latest is Steal Across the Sky
. Her fiction has won three Nebulas, a Hugo, a Sturgeon, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award.
My choice for a TV miniseries would be More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon. Since the book is already divided into three distinct sections, it could be presented as three two-hour episodes. It focuses on character rather than on special effects, which is good for the small screen. Finally — it’s a wonderful story.