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Gang Roundup – September 2018

So, what do you think of the new theme? I know I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks already, but this is the first time I have the opportunity to ask.
I did like my old theme (MH NewsDesk), but I have been wanting to change it for sometimes now. I wanted something more modern and clean, a theme that would use a font easier to read, I’ve always found the old one a bit ‘packed up’. I think this new theme is easier on the eyes, don’t you think?
I tried a lot of themes, but never found one I liked until last month. Then I found a few that I liked. I initially tried one (Echo Magazine) which had a particularly inviting homepage, but in the end I decided for this theme (Perfect Magazine) because I found the post pages cleaner and easier to read. The only thing is that I seem to be unable to move the sidebar on the right. Do you find it annoying on the left?

The summer is over, I’m back to work. I’ll be honest and say that I wouldn’t have minded a few more weeks of holiday, but hey, we can’t have everything.
Besides, I did a few things during my holidays: I switched the theme of the blog… which was more of a job than you’d imagine. I finished the first draft of a short story which I intend to submit to a dieselpunk anthology. I’m revising it at the moment – well, maybe I should say that I’m rewriting it. The title is Sea Phantom and is set in Milan in 1921. It hinges on a historical fact: the bombing of a theatre in the time of the rise of the fascist party. Reading the papers of the time (I found a couple in one of the papers’ online archives) was an experience in itself. I have half a mind to blog about it.
Here’s a visual I’ve created for Twitter

A collage of images for the short story "Sea Phandom" by Sarah Zama. On the left, the close up of a young 1920s woman. Top centre, a pool of rain water. Top right, The front of La Scala Theatre in Milan at night. Bottom right, rippling water in red and green hues.

And of course, I spent one weekend in London visiting a friend who just had a baby (she’s beautiful, that little one!) and also visiting the Bodelain Library exhibition Tolkien Maker of Middle-earth. You’ll hear about that soon.

And now, on with our usual roundup!

Cuts, bruises and broken bones. Auto polo was a Motorsport described as “very impressive” and a “lunatic game“

The 1920s will never cease to surprise me with their craziness. Apparently, they thought that, since horses belonged to the old century and the car was the most bright symbol of the new present, it was a good idea to play polo using cars instead of horses.
Cracked skulls and bloken bones abounded. Definitely an extreme sport ante litteram.

Babylon Berlin: Visually Stunning, Intellectually Intriguing

The impressions of an historian on the TV series Babylon Berlin. I’m becomin very intrigued with it. My general impression is that the tv series is even better than the book (something I’ve already expereinced with the Miss Fisher Murder Mystery series). I only read the first book in the series, and I wasn’t particularly impressed on an historical level (plot and  character were very good, instead), thought I have the impresison the series gets better later on.
I understand the tv series doesn’t follow the series of novels closely. It mixes the different themes and plots, which is also something I’d like to see. Will have to hunt it down.

When I complied the collection of books for last month’s Gang Roudup, I left out a couple of links I found with intersting collection of 1920s stories. Here’s a collection of historical mysteries set in Berlin in the Interwar Years.
Newsletter – Twentieth Century Berlin and Crime Fiction by Jack

And here’s some more of it
Beyond Isherwood

Yes, it’s true. Berlin in the 1920s is a place particularly apt at hosting a mystery, preferibly one with strong noir, expressionistic shadows cast over it. Among these, the one that intrigues me the most is:

A Trace of Smoke by Rebecca Cantrell

Even though hardened crime reporter Hannah Vogel knows all too well how tough it is to survive in 1931 Berlin, she is devastated when she sees a photograph of her brother’s body posted in the Hall of the Unnamed Dead. Ernst, a cross-dressing lounge singer at a seedy nightclub, had many secrets, a never-ending list of lovers, and plenty of opportunities to get into trouble.

Hannah delves into the city’s dark underbelly to flush out his murderer, but the late night arrival of a five-year-old orphan on her doorstep complicates matters. The endearing Anton claims that Hannah is his mother. and that her dead brother Ernst is his father.

As her investigations into Ernst’s murder and Anton’s parentage uncover political intrigue and sex scandals in the top ranks of the rising Nazi party, Hannah fears not only for her own life, but for that of a small boy who has come to call her ‘mother.’

Why “Decopunk” Deserves to Be Bigger than Steampunk

Well, let’s just say that the title of this article is a bit misleading. I was expecting an article about the relationship between Dieselpunk and its older brother, Steampunk. This is in fact a collection of dieselpunk books. But quite a remarkable one.

Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente

Severin Unck’s father is a famous director of Gothic romances in an alternate 1986 in which talking movies are still a daring innovation due to the patent-hoarding Edison family. Rebelling against her father’s films of passion, intrigue, and spirits from beyond, Severin starts making documentaries, traveling through space and investigating the levitator cults of Neptune and the lawless saloons of Mars. For this is not our solar system, but one drawn from classic science fiction in which all the planets are inhabited and we travel through space on beautiful rockets. Severin is a realist in a fantastic universe.

But her latest film, which investigates the disappearance of a diving colony on a watery Venus populated by island-sized alien creatures, will be her last. Though her crew limps home to earth and her story is preserved by the colony’s last survivor, Severin will never return.

The Guardians

I stumbled upon this trailer of a French production by mere chance and I have to say the trailer is really haunting.
It’s a story of women doring WWI in France and how they managed and saved a man’s world while men were all out warring each others.
This is a theme that isn’t explored very often, though the awareness of the historical thruth of this is emergin.

How to get hitched in the Roaring Twenties

If you have ever wondered how marriages where handled in the 1920s, author Sharilyn Decter got you covered. She’s written an awesome series concerning precisely this, drawing material from primarly sources of the era. It turns out getting married was a serieus affair with great expenditure of time, money and stress.
Yes, not unlike today.

“Here Comes the Bride….”
The Wedding Party
The Wedding Day

Pinteret pin. The text reads, "Gang Roundup - September 2018". The picture shows a row of chess paws lined up on a chessboard.


  • Margot Kinberg
    Posted September 15, 2018 at 17:41

    You do have a fine roundup here. I’m always impressed with the variety of links you share: films, books, non-fiction, the whole thing. It’s really informative!

    • Post Author
      Posted September 15, 2018 at 19:10

      Hi Margot! And thanks for the nice words. I’m happy to know my roundup are worth reading, apparently ;-)
      It is indeed surprising how many article and other media are availabel abotu the Diesel Era. I’m happy to be able to share what I find.

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