“A Coffin Full Of Stars” – on sale now

 

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Arizona, 1885. Ten people awake to find themselves in an isolated ghost town in the middle of the desert. They have no memory of how they got there, and no idea why they were abducted from their homes.
As they search the empty town for clues to the mystery, they gradually realize that a nameless evil force is watching them from the shadows and dogging their steps … something invisible, inhuman, and unstoppable …

This novelette is the ninth stand-alone story in the “Futurist Manifesto” series, and is included in the collection “Tales From Beyond Tomorrow” Volume Two.

Find out more about the Futurist Manifesto series here …

Read an excerpt below …

The silence of the hotel room was gradually infiltrated by the buzzing of flies at the window, the wind blowing outside, a door banging open and shut in the distance, and the deep, labored breathing of the man on the bed.

He lay on his back with one arm crooked defensively across his face. His breathing caught and he coughed, his chest jerking upwards as he returned to consciousness.

He moved his arm and opened his eyes. For a few moments he stared blankly at the cracked plaster ceiling above him. He frowned, turned his head, and saw his pocket watch lying on a wooden stool by the bedside.

He picked it up, shaking his head to find his way out of the fog of sleep. The hands said five minutes to ten, but the watch had stopped. He shook it. No movement.

He lay peering at the watch for a few seconds more and then sat up convulsively, jerking his head around in alarm. He wasn’t at home. His wife Anne wasn’t lying next to him. He was in a room he’d never seen before.

His heart pounded like a runaway horse and he looked down at the off-white long johns he’d been wearing in bed. Calm down, he told himself, you’re dreaming. Just lie back and go back to sleep, and you’ll wake up back in your own bed at Lakeside.

He grunted with anger and twisted over the bed, feeling for the chamber pot. He pulled it from under the bed, threw aside the unfamiliar bedclothes, unbuttoned his long johns and did his business.

Maybe I fell off my horse and struck my head, he thought afterwards, as he stood and looked around himself. Maybe I got taken to some mission hospital …

His memories and his body told him otherwise. He felt the nagging grind of the pain in his lower back and the tingling of the scar on his leg, but that was nothing new, only the relics of his time in the army. As his head cleared, he remembered going to bed last night with Anne, lying with her face against his chest and feeling her breath cool on his skin. It was the time of day he prized above all others, the two of them, holding each other tight.

She’d been taken from him. No, he’d been taken from her.

His hands clenched into fists and he started pacing the room like a caged coyote, his eyes searching for clues. No pictures on the wall, no calendar, no ornaments of any kind. Basic hotel furniture, with oil lamps and candles for the night.

He noticed something heaped on the chair, and he recognized his own clothes – with his holster. Three paces took him there; the holster was empty. His Colt single-action army revolver was missing.

He stood completely still, and he now noticed the sweat oozing up from his brow, his armpits, the palms of his hands. The room was hot. It was the cloying heat of summer, but he wasn’t sweating because of the heat.

A sound came to him, not carried by the wind but instead by the fabric of the hotel. Not a sound; more a vibration. The walls thrummed and the plaster creaked, and glasses jangled on the washstand.

He put his hands to his face and roared – a full-throated, incoherent cry of rage.

He crossed to the washstand. There was a full porcelain jug of cold water and he filled the basin then plunged his face into it. He straightened up, rubbing his face vigorously with the towel, trying to rub the confusion out of his head.

He forced himself to breath deeply, and he closed his eyes, listening to the reassuring sound of his own voice.

“My name is Jethro Jakes. I’m not a crazy man, or an alcoholic. I’m just a homesteader, and I’m going to get back home, ’cause that’s where I should be.”

He dressed quickly and sat back down on the bed. Despite his efforts to steel himself, his fingers were shaking, and he sat, waiting, until the trembling had passed. Then he walked with slow paces to the window.

With a few strong pushes, he heaved the sash window upwards; it felt like it hadn’t been opened in a long time. He looked out into the dry dirt track of a main street empty of life. His room was on the third floor of a wooden-fronted hotel with a bare porch and weathered boardwalk below. The street was filled with other wooden false-front commercial buildings, all aged and anonymous, like the hotel. On the horizon, mountains lay in sharp shadowfold beneath a harsh desert sun that glared out of a brittle, cloudless void. The faint tang of woodsmoke hung upon the air.

A flicker of movement made him look down and to his right, into a main dirt road wide enough to turn a horse and carriage around. The wind was blowing a lump of tumbleweed the size of a dog across an intersection, further down. Dust blew along with it like smoke from phantom cookfires. The sight filled Jakes with nameless despair.

He stood at the window, listening to the wind. Could he hear voices? If he listened, there seemed to be something human, along with the relentless banging of a door or a loose shutter somewhere … Prayers? Pleading? He leaned further out of the window, feeling the hot breeze on his face. Now the voice didn’t seem to be English at all. Was it Spanish?

Had he gone insane? Was this all the curse of a brain fever, and he was really lying in bed somewhere, Anne weeping at his side?

“Hello?”

He twisted around in shock, his hand going to a gun that wasn’t there.

A woman’s voice. Clear and unmistakable.

“Anne,” he muttered, then heard a man’s voice joining her.

“Hey! Anyone up there? Anyone in the rooms?”

He crossed to the door. He recognized his own boots and hat immediately inside the entrance, and jammed them on. Preparing himself for anything, he walked out into the musty air of the hallway and looked for the stairs.

He saw three people staring up at him as he stood at the landing and stepped slowly down the bare wooden staircase.

One man. Two women.

He studied the man first, searching for any potential threat. His skin was walnut brown, a heavy dragoon mustache covered his mouth like crow’s wings, and his eyes glimmered dark and searching under his narrow-brimmed hat as he studied Jakes intently. He wore an aged duster over a white shirt and denim pants. Like Jakes, he had a belt and holster, but no gun.

The women looked like studies in contrast. In front of a bare wooden table stood a Negro woman dressed like an East Coast saloon girl. Her low-cut bodice had no sleeves to hide her bare arms, and her bottle green ruffled skirt stretched down to her kid boots. Wide eyes stared in surprise at Jakes from beneath a mass of frizzed hair and above full, shapely lips.

Next to her stood a white woman who looked like she were doing her best not to cower in fear. Her long blond hair was pulled back severely from her brow, and wire-rimmed reading glasses perched on her thin nose. She wore a two-piece gray floral jacket over a calico top and long flounced skirt. She could be a schoolteacher, Jakes thought. A prim schoolma’am standing next to a saloon girl and a gunfighter.

“Were you alone up there?” the man called.

“As far as I know,” Jakes replied.

“Where is this place?” the Negro woman asked angrily.

“I was kind of hoping you could tell me,” Jakes said.

By now he’d reached the foot of the stairs. The four of them stood in a rough circle, eyeing each other with caution, distrust … and fear.

“Who are you?” the other man asked.

“Well, who are you?” Jakes replied.

“Boys,” said the Negro. “Be civil. I guess things would be a lot easier if we knew each other’s names.”

The other man looked shrewdly at the woman, then Jakes, and said, “Name’s Maxwell. Chet Maxwell.”

“Jethro Jakes.”

“Belle DeRosa, out of Louisiana,” said the Negro woman.

The schoolmistress looked at them all shyly. “You can call me Martha Jessup.”

“Well, Miss Jessup, what do you think we’re -”

Jakes froze in mid-speech. Over the other side of the lobby, a face appeared behind the glass window in the doors. Another Negro face, sharp eyes under short cropped hair. There looking in for a second, then gone.

Jakes strode over to the doors, pushed them open, and stomped onto the boardwalk. The whispering wind blew dust along the empty street.

“I hate this place,” he muttered.

“Hey, what’re you doing?” Maxwell called.

“I saw someone.” Jakes walked back into the saloon. “We’re not the only ones here.”

“Okay,” said Maxwell. “Why don’t we all just sit down and try to figure this out?”

He pulled up a straight-backed wooden chair slowly and waved everyone else to a seat.  They sat around one of the round tables in the hotel lounge, staring at each other.

“So who goes first?” asked Jakes.

  “A COFFIN FULL OF STARS” CAN BE BOUGHT FOR $0.99 HERE!

 

 

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Adventure Hunters: Image Reveal!

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Many thanks to Excalibur author Cody Martin for allowing us to use this new, dramatic image to promote his fantasy novel “Adventure Hunters: Similitude”! This illustration is by John Stinsman, an artist who worked with Rob Liefeld on Image and Awesome comic titles, including Avengelyne and Lady Pendragon. You can find a gallery of his work here!

“Adventure Hunters: Similitude”:

Artorius, Regina, and Lisa are three adventurers who explore ruins and ancient buildings looking for treasures. Most of the time, they’re just trying to make ends meet … but when they explore a town ravaged by goblins, they get more than they bargained for. They uncover a cache of ancient war golems, powerful weapons of destruction previously thought to be myths. Soon, they are in a quest for the Lambda Driver, the key to the golems’ activation. They aren’t the only ones, however, and they will have to defy their own king to find it first. If King Ryvas has his way, he will unleash the golems’ destructive power on the neighboring kingdom. The adventurers’ quest will take them from mountains to poisoned valleys and enchanted forests, but time is running out … Where is the Lambda Driver? What secret do the golems hold? And does their friend Regina know more about the golems than she is saying?

“Adventure Hunters: Similitude” can be found here!

 

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Featured Artist: Stephanie Hobbs

Stephanie Hobbs is the multi-talented artist responsible for creating some of Excalibur’s awesome cover designs – such as Cody L Martin’s “Zero Sum Game,” John Paul Catton’s “Sword Mirror Jewel” trilogy, and the novels and stories in Zoe Drake’s “Drakeverse” series. Thumbnails of these covers can be found by clicking on the names of the authors in the menu above. More information on Stephanie, and a dazzling cover gallery, can be found Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00069]at her website http://www.stephscoverdesign.com!  

 

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Featured Author: Cody L Martin

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Cody L. Martin is an American writer living in Iwakuni, Japan. An avid sci-fi fan, he wrote his first screenplay in high school and has branched out into sci-fi and action novels. He has written articles about Star Trek, science fiction fandom, comic book movies, and life in Japan for various magazines and websites. He is the author of  “Zero Sum Game” and “Adventure Hunters: Similitude.”

Connect with him at the following social media links:

Resonant Blue: http://codylmartin.blogspot.com

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/CodyLMartin

Twitter: @codylmartin1701

Instagram: codylmartin1701

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00069]

The resurrection of one world will mean the destruction of another …

The homeworld of the alien Noigel has been annihilated. Their existence as a species is on a razor’s edge – but they have found a replacement: Earth. The planet Earth must be changed to suit their needs, and if they succeed, all of humanity will perish.

When an alien secret agent working against the Noigel is killed, his technology and mission are given to Hina Takamachi. The Japanese schoolgirl discovers the alien’s battle suit gives her incredible powers, just like the anime heroines she admired as a kid. The battle suit’s artificial intelligence, whom Hina names Voice, informs her that only she can save the world from the Noigel.

With Voice training and guiding her, Hina must overcome her own self-doubts and find the courage to stop the Noigel’s plan.

For one world to win, the other must lose …

BUY “ZERO SUM GAME IN KINDLE HERE”!

BUY “ZERO SUM GAME IN PAPERBACK HERE”!

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Artorius, Regina, and Lisa, are three adventurers who explore ruins and ancient buildings looking for treasures. Most of the time, they’re just trying to make ends meet … but when they explore a town ravaged by goblins, they get more than they bargained for. They uncover a cache of ancient war golems, powerful weapons of destruction thought to be only myths. Soon, they are in a quest for the Lambda Driver, the key to the golems’ activation. They aren’t the only ones, however, and they will have to defy their own king to find it first. If King Ryvas has his way, he will unleash the golems’ destructive power on the neighboring kingdom. The adventurers’ quest will take them from mountains to poisoned valleys, and enchanted forests but time is running out … Where is the Lambda Driver? What secret do the golems hold? And does their friend Regina secretly hold the key to it all?

BUY “ADVENTURE HUNTERS” HERE!

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                      CODY L MARTIN – AN EXCALIBUR AUTHOR.

 

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Excalibur meets the World People Project

  1. Excalibur Books is proud to announce that next week, we will be taking part in a collaboration with the above mentioned web site! For more details –

GO HERE! 

The Editors.

 

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Japan’s Artistic Genius Gets His Own Museum

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There are two things that haunt you everywhere you go in the Tokyo district of Sumida. One of them is the Sky Tree, dominating the skyline and casting its shadow across your path. The other is the painting of “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” affixed to walls and traffic signs: the iconic work of the artist Katsushika Hokusai.
Hokusai, along with other artists such as Hiroshige and Utamaro, was an exponent of the art form known as ukiyo-e. This is the style of woodblock print and painting that flourished during the Edo period (1603-1868), a style that has become one of the most immediately recognizable forms of traditional Japanese art around the world. A new museum has opened in Shitamachi (the oldest part of Tokyo) dedicated to Hokusai, creator of “The Great Wave off Kanagawa.”
Whether Hokusai was the ‘best’ ukiyo-e artist is purely a matter of opinion. It would be fairly safe to say, however, that he was a creative genius who transformed the way ukiyo-e was perceived. He was also a true man of Shitamachi, born in the teeming hive of artisans, merchants, priests, prostitutes, gamblers, crooks and beggars that made up the Low City of Edo. He shared their values; he knew what it was like to struggle for money to live, and although he spent time traveling across Japan he lived, ate, drank, fought, and partied in the Low City that he eventually died in. The people of the city loved him for it; he was a celebrity of his time, and his residences were frequently visited by acolytes hoping to learn from his experience.
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The Shitamachi Low City area spread from what is now central Tokyo through Taito, Sumida and Arakawa wards into Katsushika ward on the eastern edge of today’s capital. The Sumida Hokusai Museum is located a short walk from Ryogoku station, past the huge Edo-Tokyo Museum. In fact, the street it’s on is also named after the artist; the Hokusai Dori stretches from the Edo-Tokyo Museum to Kinschicho station, and the Museum is easy to find. Its post-modern, slightly controversial architecture (designed by award-winning architect Kazuyo Sejima) is set back from the road, past a small park and children’s playground.
The Museum is comprised of four floors. The first is the entrance and gift shop, the second is the office area, the third is a special exhibition space, and the fourth is the permanent exhibition.
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The permanent exhibition is not exactly large, but it contains the essential information on Hokusai’s life and times, and copies of the artworks he has become globally renowned for, and there are interactive touch screens in several languages. There is a family tree near the entrance, outlining where he was born, who his adopted parents were, and mentioning his connection to the 1702 Ako Roshi military raid (known globally as the story of the 47 Ronin). The exhibition’s interior explains his early life as an apprentice to a mirror-maker, his entry into the world of ukiyo-e, and the different stages of his artistic career, showing how his techniques changed as well as the themes he depicted. Until Hokusai appeared, ukiyo-e was a genre restricted to portraits of famous samurai, courtesans, and actors, because that’s what the public wanted. Hokusai was the first artist to attempt landscapes and depictions of nature in ukiyo-e, and despite initial misgivings, they were a huge success. Hokusai won acclaim not only for painting vistas of natural beauty such as the views of Mt Fuji, but also the working lives of the common Low City people, around the Sumida river where he lived.
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For those interested in the Yokai – those supernatural creatures that inhabit the rich and varied world of Japan’s mythology, folklore and urban legend – there is not much you haven’t seen before, unfortunately. One exception to that is a large reproduction of Hokusai’s ‘lost’ painting, “Susano-o no Mikoto Making a Pact with the Spirits of Disease”. This was a large votive tablet that Hokusai painted in 1845, depicting Susano-o no Mikoto the Shinto God of Storms, and donated to the nearby Ushijima Shrine. This painting was destroyed in the fires following the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, and the restoration is based on a single black-and-white photograph taken not long before the disaster struck.
As this is a blog post for Excalibur Books, I declare a vested interest in Hokusai Katsushika; he is a major character in Voice of the Mirror and Voice of the Jewel, books 2 and 3 of the Sword, Mirror, Jewel trilogy. The series gives a fictional explanation to some of the great unsolved mysteries surrounding the artist. Why did he change his name so many times? Why was he constantly on the move, changing residence 93 times during his life, but always to houses within the Sumida area? What was the story behind the strange disappearance of Hokusai’s contemporary, the artist Toshusai Sharaku? What secrets are contained within Hokusai’s most celebrated work, the hypnotically fascinating “The Great Wave off Kanagawa”?
For answers to those questions, click here …
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   To visit the museum …
Address: 2-7-2 Kamezawa, Sumida-ku, Tokyo
Opening hours: 9:30 am – 5:30 pm (Closed Mondays)
Entrance fees: ¥400 (Adults),¥300 (High school, university students and seniors). Free admission for pre-schoolers, elementary school and middle school students.
Official website here (English version)!
Once you’ve been to the exhibition – don’t forget the shop! We can recommend the Hokusai Rice Crackers (salt and prawn flavor). The cookies are in a nice decorative tin, but are sadly not all that tasty.


IMG_9612 Scenes from Hokusai Dori …

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The Official Kappa of Kappabashi Image Gallery (sort of)

On a beautiful day in Spring (April 12) I decided to count and record the Kappa statues in the Kappabashi area of Shitamachi, Tokyo. If I missed one or two … please let me know in a comment!

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 IMG_9620IMG_9621IMG_9623IMG_9624IMG_9625IMG_9626(This guy looked a bit worse for wear. He had a wound in his right side, so I photographed him from the left.)

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(Not sure of the story here. A young boy … carved in wood … wearing a Kappa on his head. Can anyone help?)

Posted in Japan, Mythology | 1 Comment

Japan Writer’s Conference 2017

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The Japan Writers Conference will return to Tokyo this year at the Ekoda campus of Nihon University College of Art, October 8 & 9, 2017. This will be on Sunday and Monday – Monday being “Health and Sports Day,” a national holiday. Excalibur Books hopes to give a presentation on aspects of writing and publishing at the Conference, and we hope to be able to confirm the time and date very soon!

What’s the topic of our presentation?

WELL …

To get news and reports of the conference, as well as access to exclusive contests, giveaways and promotions, why not SUBSCRIBE to the Excalibur Books mailing list? Send an email to albionjpc@jcom.home.ne.jp with ‘Mailing List’ in the title, and you’ll receive our premium newsletter twice a month!

You can find out more about the Japan Writers Conference by clicking HERE! 

 

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Aspects of Steampunk # 2: The Eiffel Tower

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Ah, the symbol of Paris, and even France itself! The Eiffel Tower is the most popular human-made monument in the world, with approximately seven million visitors every year (almost 250 million people have visited it since it first opened).

It also contains a rocket, a whole bunch of weapons, and the undead cyborg corpse of its creator, Gustave Eiffel. Wait, what??

This is the second article in the “Aspects of Steampunk” series, and here we look at the cultural legacy of the aforementioned tower.

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The Victorian Age was a revolutionary period in terms of technology, when engineering marvels were bringing about the greatest social revolution that the world had ever seen, and transforming human society into what was intended to be an industrial Utopia.

The Eiffel Tower was one of the symbols of the triumph of human endeavor. As such, it could also be a potent symbol for Steampunk – a genre occupied with engineering wonders, mad scientists, genius gadgeteers, gentleman and lady adventurers, historical domain characters, sky pirates in airships, spirited young ladies, action girls, bold explorers, corsets, top hats, goggles, and gorgeous period dress studded with rivets and gears.

But first, here are some vital statistics regarding the Iron Lady of Paris!

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The first level (which contains a post office) is 57m (187 ft) high, can be reached by lift or by 360 steps. From there it’s 700 steps (or lift) to the second level, which holds the wildly popular Jules Verne Restaurant. After that, it’s double-decker lift only to the third and top level, and the Viewing Gallery. This is 274 m above the ground and can hold 600 people at a time. On a clear day it’s possible to see for 72 km (45 miles), with a possibly a distant view of Chartres Cathedral.

The Tower is open every day and includes two restaurants. Summer hours are 9 a.m. to 12:45 a.m. It gets a fresh coat of paint every seven years, which requires 40-60 tons of paint, 1,500 brushes, and a team of 25 painters. 20,000 lightbulbs illuminate the structure every night, and 43 technicians are employed to change them. It sways two to three inches in the wind, and when the temperature drops, the height can contract by almost six inches. The complex and innovative pattern of pig-iron girders came from the need to stabilize the tower in high winds.

There are more than 40 replicas, imitations and homages around the world, including a half scale version in Las Vegas and the Tokyo Tower in Japan. For 41 years it was the tallest building in the world, but lost that title to the Chrysler Building in New York City in 1930.

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The Eiffel Tower was built in 1889 to celebrate the Paris Exposition (AKA the World’s Fair) of the same year, and also to mark the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. It is of course named its chief designer, the French civil engineer and architect Gustave Eiffel, who worked alongside Maurice Koechlin, Emile Nouguier and Stephen Sauvestre of the Compagnie des Etablissements Eiffel.

Eiffel was born Gustave Bonickhausen in the Cote-d’Or region of France, a child of German immigrants. The family adopted the name Eiffel as a reference to the Eifel mountains in the region from which they had come.

In 1885 he was awarded the honor of overseeing the design and construction of the Tower, and read a paper on the project to the Société des Ingénieurs Civils. He finished his talk by saying that the tower would symbolize “not only the art of the modern engineer, but also the century of Industry and Science in which we are living, and for which the way was prepared by the great scientific movement of the eighteenth century and by the Revolution of 1789, to which this monument will be built as an expression of France’s gratitude.”

There still exists an apartment of the top floor originally created for Gustave Eiffel as private quarters for entertaining, and now used as a museum holding lifelike wax figures of Eiffel, his daughter Claire and fellow technological luminary Thomas Edison. The decor remains largely the same since 1900, with floral wallpaper, oil paintings, upholstered seating and wooden furniture.

300 workers spent two years assembling the lattice tower with 18,000 pieces of puddle iron and 2.5 million rivets. A brick chimney built to assist the construction efforts is still hidden amidst the trees just near the West Pillar. Despite the scale of the operation, the Tower was not meant to be permanent! The original plan to dismantle it after 20 years, but city officials decided to keep it since it had become a valuable radiotelegraph station.

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During World War Two, while Paris was under Nazi occupation, the German troops hung a sign from the tower proclaiming their victory over France and established a military bunker below the South Pillar, which today is used as a mini museum open to small tour groups. Despite the Nazi domination, they could not dampen the Eiffel Tower’s potency as a symbol for the spirit of Free France. When Hitler visited Paris, members of the French Resistance cut the lift cables so that he would have to climb the steps if he wanted to reach the top. In Spring 1944, a P-51C Mustang flown by American pilot William Overstreet Jr. dramatically flying beneath the Eiffel Tower’s arches to follow and shoot down a German ME 109 aircraft, a sight which lifted the spirits of the entire city and fueled the tide of anti-Nazi resistance.

Toward the end of 1944, Hitler ordered General Dietrich Hugo Hermann von Choltitz, the military governor of Paris, to “level” the city and destroy the Eiffel Tower by blowing it up. Choltitz ignored the order, stayed and eventually surrendered his small force to the Free French Forces. He later asserted that his defiance of Hitler’s direct order stemmed from its obvious military futility, his belief that Hitler had by then become insane, and his affection for the French capital’s history and culture, There is a plaque on the Eiffel Tower relating the exploit of a group of Parisian firemen who managed to hoist the French flag on the Tower before Paris was finally liberated

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It also occupies a cherished place in popular culture; it has played the role of “symbol of Paris” in numerous films, books and comics. The destruction of the Eiffel Tower is also seen as a symbol of how bad things have got for the entire human race, for example in “Independence Day”.

Superman stopped it from being blown up by terrorists in Superman II: May Day (Grace Jones) escapes from 007 (Roger Moore) by taking a parachute jump off it in “A View to A Kill” (and the band Duran Duran get up to some spy-related shenanigans in the music video for the theme song). The Doctor (Tom Baker) and Romana (Lalla Ward) stood on it and gazed lovingly over Paris in the classic Doctor Who serial “City of Death”.

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You would have thought the Eiffel Tower would appear in a great deal of Steampunk literature, wouldn’t you? Well … not so much. Not yet, anyway. Tangentially related is the historical novel “Murder on the Eifel Tower: A Victor Legris Mystery” by Claude Izner, and “The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec” (French: Les Aventures extraordinaires d’Adèle Blanc-Sec), a historical fantasy comic book series written and illustrated by Jacques Tardi.

But for something that resembles Steampunk … we would recommend “The Umbrella Academy,” published by Dark Horse Comics, a comic book and graphic novel series by Gerard Way (of the band My Chemical Romance, and drawn by Gabriel Bá. The first issue of Volume One is entitled “The Day The Eiffel Tower Went Berserk”, and reveals that the Eiffel Tower is really a weaponized spaceship piloted by the undead cyborg corpse of its inventor. Yes, you really have to read it for yourself.

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For the second Steampunk example, I hate to mention Disney here, but … the film version of “Tomorrowland”, directed by Brad Bird and starring George Clooney, is worth a look. Although the concept of the movie and original Disney attraction as a whole belongs to the sub-genre of Raygun Gothic (more of this in a separate post), “Tomorrowland” includes a fascinating concept right out of the Steampunk aesthetic. In the film’s mythos, the clandestine cabal of Gustave Eiffel, Jules Verne, Thomas Edison, and Nikola Tesla has left a secret at Monsieur Eiffel’s tower. The monument is none other than a gigantic Victorian-era launch gantry, and enclosed within it is a Steampunk-style, rivets-and-girder-work rocket ship. The rocket comes complete with an interior full of polished leather, dark wood and brass – and it’s in full working order. It blasts off, taking Clooney and his companions on a Vernesian orbit of the Moon before setting off to the titular “Tomorrowland”.

 

If this sounds awesome to you, the only problem is that there is too little screen time devoted to it. The good news is, however, the Disney hardcover book “Before Tomorrowland: The Secret History of the World of Tomorrowland” by Jeff Jensen, Brad Bird, Jonathan Case, and Damon Lindelof acts as a companion/prequel to the film. It is also on Kindle, but be aware that it is just a short graphic novel section of the longer print book. It is also only available on select devices (presumably, ones able to display color graphics).

COMING SOON: ASPECTS OF STEAMPUNK # 3 – JULES VERNE AND THE CITY OF NANTES!

 

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David Bowie is – in Tokyo!

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