26 May 2008

Writing has Commenced...

I just finished today the first chapter in my VSF book. Champagne for all!

It is virtually the only work I have done in Victorian Science Fiction for the past week. Its only a 38 page (paperback pages; 19 letter) short story about the first adventurers to (briefly) enter the luminiferous aether in my timeline. British, naturally, as I am such an Anglophile, and Britain was the pre-eminent industrial power at the time of the launch in 1861.

It's good, I think, for a first go. I already have the idea for the second, longer story to be put in the book, which I envision as a compilation of short stories rather than a single tale. Of course, with a bit of work, it could all be tied together into one novel, I suppose.

I'll consider posting the story online here, for constructive critique, if there's a desire to read it. Ultimately, I hope to publish the collection, or at least parts of it, professionally. I'm always critical of my own writing though, so I am never sure if its worth submitting. Let me know if you think I should post it.

18 May 2008

AAR: Second Ghola


   Alas, good readers, it seems that there shall be no photostatic images from the Second Battle of Ghola. Our intrepid reporter on the scene seems to have not taken his camera equipment with him on the expedition.

   And his notes on the action! Barely deciphirable, and incredibly incomplete. His - for lack of a better word - mind must have been focussed on something other than his duty to report the situation in an accurate and timely manner. Needless to say, the incompetent fool has been sacked. I don't care what my wife - his aunt - says! Harrumph!

   I have been able to make out a few details. Our forces advanced from the south, taking fire from a Martian gun. A second gun fired on the French, who advanced from the north of the village. The first shot from the Martian cannon struck the French steam walker, but failed to penetrate. A few half-hearted shots came from the rooftops on the northern end of town as well, felling a single French legionnaire.

   Our brave lads continued to press forward on the western side of the village, heading for an incomplete section of wall to cross. Meanwhile, ASA #27 stalked the Martian cannon through the town, finally roasting the red crewmen with his Grenville-patent Firethrower. Unfortunately, at the moment of his victory, he lost steam pressure and was out of commission for quite a few minutes until pressure could be restored.

   The wily Martians sprang an ambush on both sides of the village, with wild-eyed swordsmen charging both the French and our stout-hearted sepoys. Both ambushes were seen off after a few desperate moments of melee, with the natives virtually wiped out to the last man. Our own troops did not escape unscathed - seven sepoys and seven Legionnaires lay dead in the red sands at the end of the fierce scrap!

   A well-placed shot from the French walker and a series of volleys from the second squad of Legionnaires eliminated the majority of the Martian riflemen. The Emerald Legionnaires tried to sally forth from a building into the decimated French first squad, but were destroyed by volley fire before they could come to grips with their foes. The French occupied a large building adjacent to the shrine just as Lieutenant Popinjay arrived with his fresh squad at the gate of the shrine.

   The French officer called for a truce, to allow Popinjay and his men to retrieve the Orb of Ghola from the shrine, apparently unwilling to shed European blood and cause an incident that might lead to war with Britain.

   Inside the shrine cowered the few remaining native troops - six men. Popinjay's men fired into the shrine, seeking to kill the foe without having to enter the shrine, where the long halberds of the natives might chop them to bits. One by one, the enemy fell, until only one man, the native commander, remained inside the building.

   At that critical moment, ASA#27 suffered a second pressure failure. With that threat eliminated, the French struck! Firing from rooftops into the backs of our brave sepoys, the treacherous dogs killed all but one our men, including Lieutenant Heribert Q. Popinjay, late of Her Majesty's First Britannia Rifles and Chelmsford. The French steam walker slaughtered the remnants of Sergeant Fitum's squad, leaving only ASA#27 to take vengeance.

   With the Imperial powers occupied, the Martian commander seized the Orb and made a brave but foolhardy dash for the hills. He was shot down by French Legionnaires exiting the building adjacent to the shrine. At the same time, ASA #27 roared back to life and attacked the French walker with its powerful claw, causing a massive boiler explosion and destroying the French machine!

   ASA#27 then attacked the Legionnaires attempting to escape with the Orb, killing several, but failing to stop them from carrying off their trophy.

17 May 2008

Second Battle of Ghola

Initial reports from the few survivors of the Second Battle of Ghola indicate it was a total bloodbath.

Virtually every member of the Emerald Legion assigned to aid in the defense of the village was slain. The local levy suffered severe casualties as well.

Her Majesty's forces were almost annihilated by French treachery in the closing stages of the battle, just as victory seemed sure. The only British soldier to survive was the pilot of ASA #27, Technical Sergeant Jock O'Lantern of the Royal ASA Regiment. He reported a few sepoys fleeing the scene, though none have reported back for duty.

The French colonial authorities report only that an incursion of British troops on French territory (Hah! Blackguards! Ghola clearly lies in British Crown Colony territory!) was pushed back by the Legion Extraterrestriale. Our agents in the French colony also report that a certain golden orb with religious significance has been sighted in the Palais d'Governeur.

More details will be spread as they are discovered.

15 May 2008

Second battle of Ghola coming up Soon!

Yes, friends, it seems that the small Martian village of Ghola shall once again be split asunder by modern warfare.

Martian agents recovered the Sacred Orb from British hands and returned it to the Shrine at Ghola. The British are sending an expeditionary force to recover their trophy and punish the natives, and the French have come to stick their noses into Her Majesty's affairs yet again. These continued incursions into territory which clearly falls into the British Martian Crown Colony's control by the French may provoke a wider conflict.

The native Gholani are again assisted by units of 'volunteers' from the Galforrian Empire. Those devils never learn.

Battle will no doubt be joined this Saturday morning, and should last until early afternoon at the latest. It is hoped that this time there shall be a proper report after the action.

Rules used are GASLIGHT. Figures come from both Stone Mountain (for the French and the British) and Black Hat (for all Martians, including the sepoys). The steam-powered war machines of the French and British started life as MageKnights and D&D Miniatures figures, by WizKids and Wizards of the Coast, respectively.

03 May 2008

Egads! A new month already?

May already? Egads! That testing schedule has your correspondent all turned about. After my many assurances that I shall endeavor to provide my readers with more constant fodder for their entertainment and edification, I find that I have yet again fallen behind. It seems that a weekly posting to this journal is all that I can seem to muster these days.

I am not sure if I have mentioned it before now, but it seems that there shall be a re-fight of the battle previously reported here in March. This second battle of Ghola will, one hopes, be better chronicled than the last, though circumstances being what they are, and my lackadaisical attitude towards adding to the journal lately have, I am sure, earned me few new readers.

For fun, I am putting up a new poll today. Not the serious and weighty matters of the monthly survey, but a light-hearted affair. The monthly poll has not been decided upon as yet, but rest assured, it is being considered. It will, perhaps, appear later this afternoon. Check again before the month ends, would you?

I shouldn't blame my once-faithful readers if their interest here has waned. The lamentable lag between postings does make it difficult to care about continued subscription, even at the price (free of all charges, gentlemen!). I do hope that what few of you remain shall persevere until the summer months, when I shall be on vacation and therefore shall have more time both for both organization and preparation of additional forces for battle. Haven't even begun on the parrotmen of Venus, for example. Found I need more parts for them. I think our friend Neal at the War Store shall be receiving yet more of my hard earned shillings.

Until next time, good and faithful friends.