Imagining a Better Future by Re-imagining the Past

Saturday, November 10, 2018

The Great War 100th Anniversary

In the 11th month, on the 11th day, at the 11th hour, one of the worst catastrophes in world history ended: World War I. Also known as the Great War, World War 1 devastated Europe and redrew the political map over most of the globe.


The numbers alone hint at the devastation:
5,200 . . . . .US Casualties per sq. mile, Belleau Wood June 1918
58,000 . . . . Estimated British casualties, 1st day on the Somme
116,000 . . . . . . . . . . .American military killed, all causes
325,000 . . . . . . . . .Turkish military killed in the Great War
460,000 . . . . . . . . .Italian military killed in the Great War
529,808 . . . . . . . . British and Commonwealth military killed:
                                     neither identified nor found
584,996 . . . . . . . . British and Commonwealth military killed:
                                            identified and buried
1,200,000 . . . Austro-Hungarian military killed in the Great War
1,385,000 . . . . . . . . French military killed in the Great War
1,700,000 . . . . . . . .Russian military killed in the Great War
1,808,000 . . . . . . . . German military killed in the Great War
7,000,000 . . . Estimated combatants maimed for life, all nations
8,000,000 . . . Est. civilians killed in Great War: Non-influenza
8,300,000 . . . . . . .  Estimated combatants killed, all nations
19,536,000 . . . . . . .  Estimated wounded soldiers, all nations
21,500,000 . . . . Min. deaths in 1918 Spanish Influenza Pandemic
32,000,000 . Estimated artillery shells fired in Battle of Verdun
61,526,000 .  Soldiers mobilized by all belligerents in Great War
23,000,000,000 . Reparations demanded by Allied Powers in dollars
82,400,000,000 . .Direct Cost of war to belligerents-1913 dollars
(Source: Trenches on the Web: Special: The Great War in Numbers)

Because of the war, political boundaries of the world changed dramatically as well. This video at the Business Insider is a great illustration of those changes:



It’s true that an amazing period, the Diesel Era, arose out of this evil. However, this is not the time for that. This is a time to remember those lives devastated by the Great War.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Overlord

It seems like every year we have a new Nazi zombie movie released. For 2018, the Nazi zombie movie is Overlord.

According to the official release from Paramount Pictures,
"On the eve of D-Day during World War II, American paratroopers are caught behind enemy lines after their plane crashes on a mission to destroy a German Radio Tower in a small town outside of Normandy. After reaching their target, the paratroopers come to realize that besides fighting off Nazi soldiers, they also must face off against horrifying, bloody, and violent creatures that are a result of a secret Nazi experiment."


Kalyn Corrigan with IndieWire wrote that Overlord is surprisingly better than the average Nazi zombie movie,


“A subliminal commentary on the science of human behavior through a supernatural lens, “Overlord” manages to satisfy expectations of pure escapism even as it digs deeper, and it’s a welcome alternative to so many movies that don’t even try.”

(Note: Corrigan’s article is full of spoilers)


Overlord stars Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Jacob Anderson, Dominic Applewhite, Pilou Asbæk, Iain De Caestecker, John Magaro, Mathilde Ollivier and Bokeem Woodbine. It was directed by Julius Avery and written by Billy Ray and Mark L. Smith. An interesting detail is that the film was produced by J. J. Abrams (Star Trek (2009) and Star Wars: The Last Jedi), through his Bad Robot Productions banner.

The film has an approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes of 94% based on 16 reviews, with an average rating of 7.3/10. On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 63 out of 100, based on 6 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".

The scheduled US release date for Overlord is November 9, 2018.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Dieselpunk Halloween Art

“We belong dead.” - The Monster in Bride of Frankenstein

The Diesel Era of the 1920s - 40s saw the production of several fantastic Halloween themed cartoons. For example, there was Max Fleischer’s Snow White that had Cab Calloway singing St. James Infirmary in the guise of Koko the Clown. Not to forget Disney’s classic Silly Symphony performing The Skeleton Dance.


With Halloween being right around the corner, I wanted to showcase some cool dieselpunk art by Shawn Dickinson that's made in the same spirit (pun intended) as those great cartoons.




Saturday, September 29, 2018

Fall Dieselpunk Fashion

With the turn of the seasons we retro-fashionistas turn our thoughts to Fall fashion. And just in time the online media gives us a perfect gift. On 9/28/2018, the Huffington Post loaded an article in their Style and Beauty section titled “These Old Hollywood Photos Are All The Fall Style Inspiration You Need”.

In this posting, the reporter Julia Brucculieri writes,

This season, we’re taking a few cues from the women of Old Hollywood, who injected classic glamour into every outfit they wore. Whether it was a sophisticated coat, classic slacks paired with a button-up shirt or a turtleneck sweater, these ladies had autumnal dressing down to a science.

Brucculieri correctly points out that “adding a little vintage flair” to one’s wardrobe is easy. Whether it’s women’s or men’s fashion, most are still considered in fashion.

While not all of the images in the article are from the Diesel Era most are. Read the article here.


Saturday, September 15, 2018

Dieselpunk Book Review: Bloodlist by P.N. Elrod

In my last blog post I wrote about the Vampire Files Vol. 1 by P.N. Elrod. In this post I review the first book in the collection: Bloodlist.

Set in the Windy City during the Great Depression, Bloodlist follows ex-newspaper reporter now private detective and newly turned vampire Jack Fleming. The novel begins shortly after his death and resurrection. We then follow Jack as he tries to adjust to being one of the undead while at the same time solving his own murder without dying permanently in the process.


Without a doubt, Elrod has the pulp noir genre down perfectly. Written in the first-person it has the feel of a Dashiell Hammett novel. The banter is perfect and the characters are well-written. Bloodlist has all of the usual suspects. Along with the detective it has the loyal sidekick, the vicious gangsters, and the gorgeous dame.

Of course, the heart of the story is the protagonist Jack Fleming, a hard-boiled detective who honed his skills as a reporter on the streets of New York before moving to Chicago. Even though he’s now a vampire he hasn’t lost his humanity, which leads to internal conflicts and doubts. Is he still a man or is he now a monster?

Elrod take on the vampire myths is quite interesting. Her vampire is an interesting mix of elements retained from the classic while subtracting some and adding new. This mixture results in a creature with some intriguing powers yet also some serious weakness.

P.N. Elrod, author
While I admit that I’m a fast reader I will say that I finished Bloodlist in record time. Looking back, I would say that the main reason I got through it so quickly was largely because it was so well written. The story was fast paced and fun. Plus, Elrod’s writing flows naturally and smoothly.

Bloodlist is a great Dieselpunk novel. Even if one isn’t a fan of vampire novels anyone who enjoys a good pulp noir will enjoy Bloodlist. I look forward to reading more of the Vampire Files series by P.N. Elrod.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Vampire Files by P.N. Elrod

I love it when I come across fresh Dieselpunk. However, it’s frustrating when I learn of that what I thought was fresh had actually been around for decades and I just wasn't aware of it. This applies to a series of novels I've just discovered.

Imagine Sam Spade as a vampire in 1930s Chicago. That’s the premise of the Dieselpunk fiction series The Vampire Files by P.N. Elrod. The first book of the series was Bloodlist, which was published in 1990:

I, VAMPIRE

I've always had a weak spot for strange ladies. One very beautiful girl had even warned me that she was--get this--a vampire. But did I listen?

No.

Well, before you know it, I'm being chased by an ugly thug with a gun, and a bullet blasts its way through my back, and--believe it or not nothing happened. I survived!

How?

You guessed it. I, Jack Fleming, ace reporter, have been transformed into ... a vampire! Which has its advantages. You never die, you never grow old, you sleep all day, and best of all ...

You can hunt down your own murderer.

The Vampire Files Volume. 1 is a collection of the first three books in the Vampire Files series: Bloodlist, Lifeblood, and Bloodcircle. I’ve just started the Vol 1 and I will say that I’m enjoying it greatly. Elrod has the pulp noir style down, the mystery is intriguing, and his take on the vampire myth is very creative.

I plan to write a full review of Bloodlist once I’ve finished.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

New Dieselpunk Games

Dieselpunk started life as games (Children of the Sun, Lemuria) This tradition of dieselpunk gaming continues today. Here are two new dieselpunk games on the market that my readers might enjoy. One is a Decopunk game named AIRHEART and the other a Gothic Deco game named Bitter Tides.

AIRHEART
The headline at Gamasutra reads, “Captivating diesel-punk adventure AIRHEART set to soar onto PC and PS4 later this month with additional consoles to follow”. The site describes the game as follows,
AIRHEART is a stunning diesel-punk action game in which players become Amelia, a young pilot living in the cloud city of Granaria who wishes to one day reach the world’s edge. In order to survive and thrive in the floating city, Amelia must take to the air in her customizable plane to go sky fishing, avoiding pirates and many other dangers along the way.


Learn more about the game at http://airheartgame.com/

Bitter Tides
The headline at the website One Angry Gamer reads, “BITTER TIDES, DIESELPUNK-HORROR STEALTH GAME TARGETS OCTOBER 2019 RELEASE.” The site describes the game as follows,
Imagine the upgrade system from BioShock, the stealth mechanics of Amnesia, and the horrors from the deep taken right out of Lovecraftian lore and slathered over a richly rendered 3D world steeped in a dieselpunk motif. What you end up with is Bottom Feeders’ highly anticipated indie-horror game, Bitter Tides.


Learn more about the game at https://www.bittertides.com/