NEW RELEASE! CHRYSANTHEMUM SEAL IS OUT!


The files are uploaded, verified and approved. The Chrysanthemum Seal is out now!

It’s the middle of summer in the Year of the Dragon. The hunt for the Crimson Robe may be over, but the adventure continues…

With Bran seemingly gone from Yamato forever, his friends settle in their new lives, their common adventures a distant memory. Sato enrolls in Lord Nariakira’s school of wizardry, while Nagomi joins her father’s medical practice in far-away Nagoya.

But the revolution, once started, cannot be stopped. The foreign threat finally comes to Yamato’s doorstep. A Varyagan submarine drops anchor in Kiyo harbour. A Bataavian warship arrives at Kagoshima, carrying Dylan ab Ifor, Gwen and Wulfhere. In Shimoda, the Black Wings supply fleet brings with it a curious, unwanted guest…

Kindle Edition:
Amazon US |Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Amazon FR | Amazon ES |Amazon JP | Amazon CA | Amazon BR | Amazon AU
Kobo Edition:
Kobo | Kobo 楽天
Nook:
Nook

If you haven’t yet read any of the books in “The Year of the Dragon” cycle, you should start from The Shadow of Black Wings:

NEW_SHADO_ 1000 It is the Sixteenth Year of Queen Victoria. In the powerful empire of Dracaland, Bran, a young dragon rider, joins his father on a military expedition to the mysterious lands of the Orient. In the reclusive Yamato, Sato, a tomboy samurai girl, strives to prove her right to inherit her father’s school of western magic. Nagomi, a timid shrine apprentice, is haunted by the visions of dark future she must keep secret even from her best friend.

They don’t know it yet, but their paths will cross… And when they do, nothing will ever be the same again.

Welcome to The Shadow of Black Wings, a steam-powered romp across the land of dragons, wizards and samurai. It’s big, it’s fast, it’s been compared to Tolkien in terms of world-building, it has strong female characters and lots of carefully researched detail. You will meet the Royal Marines sailing mighty ironclads and Chinese walking machines; mysterious warlords and crazy inventors; you will discover dark prophecies, family secrets and blood-thirsty demons. And all that in just the first volume!

Kindle Edition:
Amazon US |Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Amazon FR | Amazon ES |Amazon JP | Amazon CA | Amazon BR | Amazon AU
Kobo Edition:
Kobo | Kobo 楽天
Also:
iBooks | XinXii | Nook
Paperback:
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CN | Junglee.com | Barnes&Noble | Book Depository

Or if you don’t want to read the books piece-meal, dive straight in and splash out on the bundle of the first four volumes – this will bring you right up to date with the events leading up to the Chrysanthemum Seal!

 NEW_BUNDLE_250
 This is a bundle edition of the first four books of the best-selling historical fantasy saga, containing the entire Crimson Robe arc:

 

  • Book 1: The Shadow of Black Wings
  • Book 2: The Warrior’s Soul
  • Book 3: The Islands in the Mist
  • Book 4: The Rising Tide
The deluxe edition contains also a short story “Birkenhead Drill”, a full glossary of foreign words, list of characters, the map of the land of Gwynedd and a chronology of the world.
Kindle Edition:
Amazon US | Amazon UK  | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Amazon FR | Amazon ES |Amazon JP | Amazon CA | Amazon BR | Amazon AU
Kobo Edition:
Kobo | Kobo 楽天
Nook:

kyotoOh, and here’s a little something to while away the time when the books download to your respective e-readers:
2048: The Year of the Dragon Edition!

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The Indie Steampunk Lit Extravaganza – starts tomorrow!


Aberration
Discovering Aberration

S.C. Barrus

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An ancient map stolen. A lost civilization discovered. A terrible secret unleashed.

Set in an alternate Victorian era, Discovering Aberration follows Freddy Fitzgerald, a rebellious writer and ex-scuttler, and Thaddeus Lumpen, a desperate archaeologist with a slew of dangerous rivals. Together they will stop at nothing to make the discovery of a lifetime. But their island destination hides it’s own dark secrets which can push even the strongest minds into madness.

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james calbraith
The Year of the Dragon

James Calbraith

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Best-Selling Oriental Fantasy – Dragons, Wizards and Samurai!

It is the Sixteenth Year of Queen Victoria. In the powerful empire of Dracaland, a young dragon rider joins his father on a military expedition to the mysterious lands of the Orient. In the reclusive Yamato, a tomboy samurai girl, strives to prove her right to inherit her father’s school of western magic, and a timid shrine apprentice, is haunted by the visions of dark future she must keep secret even from her best friend. They don’t know it yet, but their paths will cross… And when they do, nothing will ever be the same again. Described as “part Harry Potter, part Last Samurai”, James Calbraith’s “The Year of the Dragon” series is an epic tale of magic, intrigue and war in a world of dragon riding marines, wizard-controlled ironclads and vampire samurai.

This is a bundle edition of the first four books of the best-selling historical fantasy saga, containing the entire Crimson Robe arc: Book 1: The Shadow of Black Wings, Book 2: The Warrior’s Soul, Book 3: The Islands in the Mist, Book 4: The Rising Tide

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Pauline creeden
Armored Hearts

Pauline Creeden

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When a crippled young lord rescues a girl falling from a tree, it reveals a secret about himself and his mother’s side of the family that could put him at the center of a war with beings he thought only existed in fairy tales.

Tristan Gareth Smyth lived his entire life stuck at home at Waverly Park, left behind while his Grandfather makes trips to London, all because of his blasted wheelchair. Then an American heiress falls in his lap, literally, and he must find a way to keep her at a distance to protect not only his secret, but everyone around him from an assassin sent to kill him.

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fires2thumbnail
Fires of Alexandria

Thomas K. Carpenter

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The greatest mystery of the ancient world remains the identity of who set fire to the Great Library in Alexandria.

One hundred years later, Heron of Alexandria—the city’s most renown inventor and creator of Temple miracles—receives coin from a mysterious patron to investigate the crime. Desperate to be free of the debts incurred by her twin brother, she accepts and sets in motion a chain of events that will shake the Roman Empire and change the course of history forever.

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deamon device
The Daemon Device

Wendy L. Callahan

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Saving the world from power-obsessed madmen is all in a day’s work for half-daemon artifact hunter Demetra Ashdown. It’s her potential mother-in-law who proves most vexing.

Yet, Demetra is determined to charm her, even if that means a journey around the world for answers to the most perplexing questions, such as what is the difference between infernals, like herself, and celestials, like her fiancé, Francis? Can they marry, despite being from disparate bloodlines? And just how much lemon cake does it take to keep Demetra happy?

Whether by railway, steamer, or airship, Demetra and Francis will not rest until they can allay Lady Winterton’s concerns about their union.

Nor will they realize the unimaginable discovery or danger to which their inquiries will lead until a chance meeting leads to a long overdue reunion…

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jack conner
Nightmare City

Jack Conner

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Zeppelins, mad scientists, zombies, oh my!

When beautiful young thief Katya goes on the run in the strange and mysterious city of Lavorgna, she gets mixed up in events that are rapidly spiraling out of control. A horror from another world is terrorizing the city, and only Katya can stop it, but only if she can first evade warring mobsters, the undead, homunculi and one very upset psychopath. No pressure, Kat.

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martin kee
A Latent Dark

Martin Kee

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Skyla has lived secretly within the city walls of Bollingbrook for eleven years, playing among the airship factories and trainyards.

As one of the Gutter District’s nameless destitute, it has gone undiscovered that she has a unique talent: when Skyla looks at a person’s shadow she sees through it and into another world. She can see people’s fears, desires–all as swimming, living creatures.But when her mother’s past catches up with her, Skyla finds she must flee from the city, into a world still recovering from a second Dark Age, a world of adults with secrets only she can see.

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Ava Morgan
The Lady Machinist

Ava Morgan

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The Lady Machinist: A romantic steampunk tale of clockwork soldiers, persistent pirates, and political intrigue.

Book One of the Curiosity Chronicles1837: Lydia Dimosthenis detests pirates, especially those of British ilk. The lady machinist will do anything to protect her island home of Aspasia from the scurvy knaves, even if it means crafting seven-foot clockwork soldiers to drive intruders away. When her automatons catch the eye of a charming yet stubborn ambassador from New Britannia, she is given an offer that she truly cannot refuse. But that doesn’t stop her from trying.

Rhys Cartret, ambassador and agent for the Cabinet of Intellectual Curiosities, didn’t count on having a strong-willed, attractive inventor thwarting his every diplomatic move. It’s hard enough keeping his pirate past a secret from Lydia. Matching wits with her is the last thing he needs, especially since New Britannia’s rival France is racing to get the automatons before he does. Intrigue, romance, and striking bargains abound in this curious tale of clockwork soldiers, ruthless pirates, and steam-powered ships.

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Daniel Ottalini
Brass Legionnaire

Daniel Ottalini

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When Julius Caesar survived the assassination attempt on his life during the Ides of March, the history of the Roman Empire was changed forever.

Now, just over 1800 years later, an industrialized Rome sits at the forefront of technological innovations and exploration. But the facade is cracking, and espionage, corruption, and revolution are pulling the empire apart. Into this steps newly minted Tribune Constantine Appius, backed by a cohort armed with new, experimental tactics. Legions, airships, mechanical elephants, and yes, togas, play a part in Daniel Ottalini’s award winning steampunk adventure novel, Brass Legionnaire.

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AethericElements-frontcover-march-2014
Aetheric Elements: The Rise of a Steampunk Reality

Travis I. Sivart

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Automatons and airships, bustles and beasts, corsets and curses, dandies and dastardly deeds, all await you as you explore the cultures which evolved into a Steampunk industrial civilization.

Learn about the people who made history and created the events that molded a world into a near utopia, only to be torn asunder as the society was about to achieve the pinnacle of its existence. Enjoy a savory sampler of Steampunk society and sinister scenarios to whet your appetite for the author’s upcoming full length novel.This anthology of nineteen tales of terror, mystery, and adventure takes you into Travis Sivart’s weird and wonderful world.

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Ichabod Temperance
A Matter of Temperance

Ichabod Temperance

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After the near miss of a fateful comet, a young inventor and aristocratic débutante are among Earths strangely changed populace.

Thrust into mortal danger, these plucky protagonists fight inter-dimensional monsters to save a besieged world. This is a Steampunk, Paranormal, Happily Ever After Action/Romance told in a Humorous fashion. This novel contains NO graphic sex, violence nor strong language. However, there is some monster violence, but nothing ugly, and a light sprinkling of mild innuendo.

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Steve Turnbull
Murder out of the Blue

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&

Blood Sky at Night

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Steve Turnbull

Murder out of the Blue

1908. A gruesome death on board the Sky Liner RMS Macedonia exposes the clash of class, secrets and sexuality in upper class Edwardian society.

On her journey home Maliha Anderson, Anglo-Indian daughter of a Scottish engineer and a Brahmin scholar, hopes to make peace with what she sees in the mirror every day until the nurse of wheelchair-bound General Makepeace-Flynn is murdered.The General declares his innocence and Maliha is the only one who believes him. With landfall only hours away Maliha must find the murderer before they can escape, even if it puts her own life at risk.

Blood Sky at Night

1908. Ceylon. The British Empire tightens its grip on the world. Attempting to deal with questions of race and identity Maliha Anderson is faced with a murder that brings her face to face with her past. And it’s a murder that’s interwoven with international politics, that even she may not be able to solve.

Both are the same price and both will be reduced for the duration.

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Jack Wallen
Klockwerk Kabaret

Jack Wallen

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Mainspring – a quaint town removed from time and era. Powered by steam and clockwork, Mainspring has enjoyed decades of peace and prosperity … until, from a far-away land known as The Keep of Keys, Hieronymus Ebauche unleashes Hell.

Born of a long-forgotten vendetta, Ebauche transports his clockwork demons through a trans-dimensional portal to exact his revenge. Mainspring’s only hope – Nathan Gage and Olivia Nightingale; the proprietors of the Klockwerk Kabaret, where desire is brought to life with flesh and clockwork. When the doors to the Kabaret close, Gage and Nightingale slip into the shadows as vigilante crime fighters. The fight leads them to The Keep of Keys where they discover a much darker truth.As the clock winds down, so too does the hope of Mainspring.

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#Steamlit buildup: Daniel Ottalini’s interview with me.


Modern Papyrus

As part of our #Steamlit promotion, I was fortunate enough to both interview and be interviewed by another steampunk author. You can view my interview here.

Today I had the wonderful opportunity to interview James Calbraith, author of the Year of the Dragon Series, a Japanese Steampunk tale. I should mention, the covers are gorgeous and he’s offering a great deal on his first four books – The Year of the Dragon Series, Books 1-4: The Crimson Robe – Which I think everyone should check out. Before I blabber on unnecessarily, here’s the interview 😉

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#Steamlit buildup: Martin Kee Interview


steamlitAs part of the buildup for the #Steampunk Lit Extravaganza, we’re doing interview with each other. So here’s mine with the author Martin Kee.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and the book you’re promoting.
I’m a former game developer and content writer. I’ve written all my life, but only decided to write novels around five years ago. Currently I am living in Idaho with my wife, a couple of cats and a rabbit. I am trying to make a career out of not wearing pants.
A LATENT DARK is about that hidden part of ourselves we know is there, but choose to not talk about. It’s about a girl who can see this part of people plain as day, and the theocracy who wants to capture her because of it. She’s pursued by a man named Lyle Summers, who appears as sort of a cross between Fred Phelps (of Westboro Baptist Church infamy) and the Reverend Kane from Poltergeist 2. Summers is a former revival minister, now working as a witch hunter. He’s wealthy, powerful, and relentless, and believes without any hesitation that what he does, no matter how cruel, is for the right reasons. Skyla is forced to flee her city and seek refuge elsewhere. At the same time, she needs to try to make sense of this ability she has, since her mother has essentially been driven mad by it, and won’t tell her a thing. Her only hope of safety is to hunt down and locate her aunt, who lives in another city a good hundred miles away.
2. Why did you decide to write in the steampunk genre?
A LATENT DARK needed to be set in an alternate America, one perhaps emerging from a post-post-apocalyptic scenario. I wanted a modern dialog, but at the same time, I wanted a much slower pace of technology. I also didn’t want my characters to have access to, say, the internet. Resources are squandered and limited, or perhaps people simply lack the technology to acquire them now, which helped to eliminate any “cheating” by the characters in terms of transportation and research.
When it came time to write the very first scene, a neo-Victorian setting sort of just sprang up. The book itself actually takes place somewhere along the Pacific coast of America, so while the technology is a sort of post-tech steampunk, the culture and characters are all set in a fairly modern, American mindset, only with more of a classist slant to social standing. The religious institutions are also more in line with the American baptist revivals of the 19th century, with the older institutions reflecting something along the lines of the Roman Catholic Church of the 13th century.
3. Tell us something about your creative process. Do you use editors, beta-readers, ARCs? How many drafts you go through? Etc.
I’m more of a pantser than a plotter, meaning I write blind for the most part with only a vague idea in mind. I guess I have a kind of ADHD when I write, because even in times when I’ve outlined stories completely, I’ve still managed to become distracted by some shiny object to lead me off the path. The upside to this method is that it’s fun as hell, and I think I discover some pretty interesting twists. The downside to this method is that I have to redraft a lot, and by “a lot” I mean anywhere from 10 to 16 drafts. I think the least number I ever had to do was for an upcoming novella. That one’s going out to editors on the fifth draft.
After I write my first draft, I shelve the manuscript for about a month. Then I take it out, print it, and mark it up best I can. In some cases, it’s clear early on where I went wrong. In other cases it can take me into the 10th revision before I see what the book is really about. I only show the first readable to my wife, then after her input, I send a revision to Beta Readers. After that, it’s off to editors. Since I author-publish all my work, I like to have things as presentable as possible, since editors cost money.
4. What made you decide to go the self-publishing route?
I’m a bit of a control freak, to be honest. I like understanding and being part of the publishing process, and I like having the control over things like the style of the book, the cover. I know enough graphic designers and art directors, that they help me to come up with or find a cover that will look professional and pleasing.
 I’m not against traditional publishing at all, and I do on occasion query agents and publishers with some new projects, but so far I haven’t seen a strong enough argument to lead me to go with traditional publishers, aside from just not having to manage the publishing process myself… and I actually don’t mind managing that part of things. But that’s just the other side of the same coin, and if the opportunity came a long, I would definitely consider a tradition publishing house if everything aligned correctly. In the mean time, I can produce more work at a pace I feel comfortable with, and I’m fine with that.
5. Finally, tell us about #SteamLit and why are you taking part in it.
I think steampunk is a fun subgenre, and a sometimes misunderstood subgenre at that. I think A LATENT DARK fits outside most people’s definition of what steampunk is, or what it could be, and I’m looking to try and expand that horizon a little. I also have a second book in the series coming out this summer. THE UMBRAL WAKE takes place three years after A LATENT DARK, so this seemed a good opportunity to pique people’s interest in the first book as well as the subgenre itself.

51QLpxV1e2L._SL160_[1]Martin Kee is an author, gamer, husband, Redditor, cyclist, paper-modeler, reader, and musician. He is the author of A LATENT DARK (2012) and BLOOM (2013), as well as short stories and videogames.

He lives in Idaho with his wife and their myriad of pets. He is a huge fan of technology, cats, dinosaurs, robots, bad science-fiction films, humor, books, steampunk, horror, ravens, and strangeness.

You can follow him on twitter @fersnerfer, or on Facebook

News: #SteamLit, #NovoPulp, Draft #3


Hi all, I’ve got some actual news for you this time!

Seal_Cover_250px V3First of all, The Year of the Dragon Book 5, “The Chrysanthemum Seal” is finally moving along nicely – I’m now at Draft #4, which means that, with luck, the book may be out THIS MAY! Make sure to mark that on your calendars. For me, that means I have to start thinking about the title and cover for Book 6 soon…


NovopulpA group of speculative fiction writers over on Google+ teamed up to publish a yearly short story anthology, and the first volume is launched today. It’s called NovoPulp, and the reason I mention it is because you can find one of my short stories (published before in Transmission) there along with many others. Do check it out – the stories are all good, and the quality of the edition is very high – there are even colour illustrations!
If you hurry you can sign-up for a giveaway over on NovoPulp website HERE.


1525379_723674650986774_666302074_n[1]Finally, later this month (April 21-27) I’ll be taking part in “SteamLit” Steampunk Extravaganza – a sale event, in which 13 steampunk writers lower their prices by half. So it’s yet another chance to grab the first four volumes of “The Year of the Dragon” at a bargain, just in time for the fifth book!

They’ve killed Ripper Street. The bastards.


I’ve just learned the BBC decided to axe Ripper Street for the next season.

For those who don’t know, it’s a criminal series taking place in East London in 1890s – after Jack the Ripper murders. Think CSI meets From Hell.

It had its highs and lows – like every drama series in history – and it suffered from several irritating, ongoing problems, like interchangeable, 2-dimensional female characters and bad sound quality. But overall, it was a very high value production, with lavish sets and costumes, decent acting (rising to great in places) and frankly rather brilliant storylines, smuggling in a lot of unexpected historical facts. The general idea: 1890s London was when the modern world began. All our current problems could be traced to that time and place: drugs, feminism, racial and religious tensions, immigration, gay rights, and so on.

The worst thing about the cancellation is that series 2 was so much better than series 1. The depth of the three main characters was developed in the last few episodes far beyond what is usual in the period drama. The episode ideas grew more interesting. The writing improved. In proper hands, with proper budget, this could have been a jewel. The hit of the autumn.

Ripper StreetBut it fell in ratings, because most Brits preferred to watch “I’m a Celebrity…” on ITV, running at the same time. And that was its only fault: not enough viewers. Quality be damned.

I hold little hope for the reversal of this decision. BBC is not known to un-cancel its shows, Doctor Who’s exceptional comeback notwithstanding; and in recent years, they were known to cancel even the popular shows, like Ideal or Mongrels, for no real reason. I’m guessing they just like to rile their viewers once in a while. Or maybe they’re running out of money for new Strictly or Top Gear series.

If you want to help – there are a few petitions around, twitter and facebook pages dedicated to saving the series – you might try these, if you’re so inclined. The best you could do – if you’re in the UK – would be to WATCH the last episode, and tell as many people as you can to do the same: it’s being shown next Monday, December 16th, 9pm on BBC1. You may want to catch the first 7 episodes on iPlayer first, though, or else you’re likely to be rather confused.

Tanaka Hisashige


image courtesy of Google.co.jp

Today is Tanaka Hisashige‘s 213th birth anniversary. You may not have heard about him, but Google found it fitting to celebrate it with a special animated Doodle – and I found his achievements important enough to not only put him in my books, but also make him the first character my readers encounter. Yes, it’s Master Tanaka from the Prologue to The Shadow of Black WingsMaster inventor and brilliant designer of the late Edo period, the Karakuri Giemon and a man who may, in a long run, be responsible for the laptop you read this on (provided it’s a Toshiba laptop).

A self-taught genius at first, young Hisashige came to fame creating the karakuri – Japanese automatons, which were then all the rage among the aristocracy. An example of one is what you see in the doodle above. But the dolls were just a novelty, and not enough to make Tanaka famous. He moved to Kyoto to study Rangaku – the “Dutch Knowledge” – and quickly became one of its finest scholars.

His achievements were unparalleled at the time. With only limited access to the Western science, he reverse-engineered many devices, and created others from scratch, using just his ingenuity and some Dutch drawings. He built a steam locomotive and a steam ship, a reverberatory furnace and telegraphic instruments. His Myriad Year Clock, which plays such an important role in “The Shadow…”, was a world-class masterpiece of precision mechanics.

Like Brunel on the other side of the globe, Tanaka embodied his era of fast change and technological revolution. Even with the meagre means at his disposal at the time, he was creating things which easily matched the achievements of some of his Western contemporaries. A Google Doodle is the least we can do to commemorate his life.

And what does it all have to do with Toshiba? Well, Hisashige’s son, Tanaka Daikichi, continuing his father’s work, established in 1881 the Tanaka Engineering Works in Tokyo. The company moved to Shibaura district and changed its name to Shibaura Engineering Works and finally, in 1939 – to Tokyo Shibaura. To-Shiba. So yes, that laptop of yours? A direct descendant of Tanaka’s automatons and clocks!

The book “The Shadow of Black Wings” is now available on Amazon.jp

A different Vienna, part 2 – Gasometer: steampunk arcologies


Approaching the first of the Gasometers from U-bahn station

As you may have noticed by now, my visit to Vienna was a bit on the unorthodox side. Skipping the galleries and palaces (but not the cafes!), I’ve spent my two days searching for the weirder bits of the city.  After spotting some old Nazi Dark Towers, I then boarded the U3 line towards Simmering, alighting at the Gasometer station.

The station’s name spoils the surprise a bit, but then if you ventured so  far away from the city centre, you probably already know what’s waiting for you. A vertical brick wall, arcing to the left and right, forming a giant cylinder. One of those huge XIXth century coal gas tanks that every European city used to have. But this one is different; and not only because there are four of them in one place. Continue reading “A different Vienna, part 2 – Gasometer: steampunk arcologies”

Introducing: Isambard Kingdom Brunel


Have you been stumped as to whom exactly did our finest living Shakespearean, Kenneth Branagh, play during yesterday’s Opening Ceremony? Perhaps you wondered why Abraham Lincoln was quoting Shakespeare in London? 🙂 Well, wonder no more, because this surprising appearance gives me a chance to introduce or remind you of arguably the Greatest Briton Who Ever Lived: Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Continue reading “Introducing: Isambard Kingdom Brunel”