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Gang Roundup – July 2021

I can’t believe that in a matter of days we went from ‘quite cold for June’ to ‘it’s only June, why is it so hot?’

I don’t know about you, but I can’t function in hot weather. My brain switches off, and I find myself unable to do anything productive most of the time. I hate that. I hate being idle and unproductive, so what I normally do in these circumstances is turning to the maintenance of my blog and such. There’s never a shortage of maintenance with a blog, and anyway, it’s never a bad idea to renovate, update, shuffle around. In fact, there is a lot of this stuff I should do too. I’ve just taken inventory this morning. 

June has been an ordeal for me on a personal level. Now things have calmed down, and I’m trying to get back into a writing routine. I know I keep saying this, but I am really trying. There are many projects I’d like to finish this year, including – you know, right? – finally finishing The Frozen Maze. I’m still not sure I’ll manage, but I want to try. If I can revise the central part of the novel – which I worked on last NaNoWriMo – I will work on the reworking of the last part this coming NaNo. And maybe you’ll be able to read the end of it. That’s the plan. Let’s try to go with it.

But for the time being, here’s another round of stuff about our favourite historical period… though this one actually leans more on the WWI side. A new favourite of mine, I’ll admit, and anyway, an event that – depending what part of the world you’re looking at – is closely connected to the Twenties. 

Keep reading, and enjoy!


First world war: 15 legacies still with us today

When I first started researching WWI, what struck me the most is how much of that war is still with us after a century.
WWI was a terrible tragedy, yet it allowed for so much change and advancement, and in some cases, we are still enjoying the fruits today.
This article maybe lingers more on change directly connected to the war, but it gives a nice view of it. I would have liked more about the social changes that the war engendered, but some are indeed included.


Fortuneteller 1920s

The rise of spiritualism after WW1

I’m so fascinated with the relationship between post-WWI societies and spiritualism. Maybe that’s because in my stories, the ‘real’ world and the ‘spiritual world’ exist one alongside the other and often mix, but I find these historical events and attitudes incredibly fascinating.
In post-WWI times, many people forsook established life and science concepts to embrace what we now consider fantasy. Even people of science were willing to do so. It’s a very interesting, fascinating psychological and emotional fact.
In this article, the lives and beliefs of three very popular mediums in Britain after WWI are presented. All three of them seem well-motivated to me, which is another interesting fact.


World War I in Photos: Technology

I have to admit it, so much about WWI is surreal. The way soldiers lived and the strategies of survival they employed are surreal. The damage, both physical and mental. The crazy war tactics. The impact war had on soldiers and everyone operating on the battlefields.
When we look at photos from WWI, the sense of surrealism is even stronger. Seriously, no wonder so many fellow dieselpunk authors set their stores during WWI.

There are a lot more pictures in the article and in the series this articleis part.

  • American troops using a newly-developed acoustic locator, mounted on a wheeled platform
  • The Italian collapse in Venezia. The heedless flight of the Italians to the Tagliamento. Captured heavy and gigantic cannon in a village behind Udine. November 1917
  • A German communications squad behind the Western front, setting up using a tandem bicycle power generator to power a light radio station in September of 1917
  • A German aviator's suit is equipped with electrically heated face mask, vest, and fur boots
  • Gas masks in use in Mesopotamia in 1918
  • German officers with an armored car, Ukraine, Spring of 1918
  • Derelict tanks lie strewn about a chaotic battlefield at Clapham Junction, Ypres, Belgium, ca. 1918
  • A disused German trench-digging machine, January 8, 1918

19 Best Dieselpunk Books

Talking about Dieselpunk, here’s a list of titles to start exploring the genre if you are curious. Many of these titles are considered classic of this very young genre, like Dragonfly or The Company Man. The list does lean on the SF side, but it’s a good one and just the synopsis of the books will give an idea of what this genre is all about. 


And while we’re at it, let’s explore some other dieselpunk titles!

Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly

CRIMINAL MAGIC (Lee Kelly) Magic is powerful, dangerous and addictive - and after passage of the 18th Amendment, it is finally illegal.

Magic is powerful, dangerous and addictive – and after passage of the 18th Amendment, it is finally illegal.

It’s 1926 in Washington, DC, and while Anti-Sorcery activists have achieved the Prohibition of sorcery, the city’s magic underworld is booming. Sorcerers cast illusions to aid mobsters’ crime sprees. Smugglers funnel magic contraband in from overseas. Gangs have established secret performance venues where patrons can lose themselves in magic, and take a mind-bending, intoxicating elixir known as the sorcerer’s shine.

Joan Kendrick, a young sorcerer from Norfolk County, Virginia accepts an offer to work for DC’s most notorious crime syndicate, the Shaw Gang, when her family’s home is repossessed. Alex Danfrey, a first-year Federal Prohibition Unit trainee with a complicated past and talents of his own, becomes tapped to go undercover and infiltrate the Shaws.

Through different paths, Joan and Alex tread deep into the violent, dangerous world of criminal magic – and when their paths cross at the Shaws’ performance venue, despite their orders, and despite themselves, Joan and Alex become enchanted with one another. But when gang alliances begin to shift, the two sorcerers are forced to question their ultimate allegiances and motivations. And soon, Joan and Alex find themselves pitted against each other in a treacherous, heady game of cat-and-mouse.

Boom Time by Michelle E. Lewe

BOOM TIME (Michelle E. Lowe) Pierce Landcross has been brought to the fast-paced future of New York City, 1926. His abductor, the Trickster, claims he’s hiding Pierce for his own protection, but cutthroats and femme fatales lurk around every corner.

Bootleggers, coppers, and no good, dirty gangsters! During Prohibition, the parties were wild, the alcohol was flowing, and danger was never far away. Pierce Landcross has been brought to the fast-paced future of New York City, 1926. His abductor, the Trickster, claims he’s hiding Pierce for his own protection, but cutthroats and femme fatales lurk around every corner.

Lost in a strange land, Pierce vows to keep his nose clean, but that doesn’t last long when he falls into the bootlegging racket. Pierce has to quickly adapt to a world full of diesel-fueled machines, airships, moving picture shows, and clashes with rival gangs. At the same time, he has to elude a hunter from his own time sent to kill him!

Read the first chapter of the book.

The Grand Dark by Richard Kadrey

THE GRAND DARK (Richard Kadrey) The Grand Dark is a subversive tale that immerses us in a world where the extremes of bleakness and beauty exist together in dangerous harmony in a city on the edge of civility and chaos.

The Grand Dark is a subversive tale that immerses us in a world where the extremes of bleakness and beauty exist together in dangerous harmony in a city on the edge of civility and chaos.

The Great War is over. The city of Lower Proszawa celebrates the peace with a decadence and carefree spirit as intense as the war’s horrifying despair. But this newfound hedonism—drugs and sex and endless parties—distracts from strange realities of everyday life: Intelligent automata taking jobs. Genetically engineered creatures that serve as pets and beasts of war. A theater where gruesome murders happen twice a day. And a new plague that even the ceaseless euphoria can’t mask.

Unlike others who live strictly for fun, Largo is an addict with ambitions. A bike messenger who grew up in the slums, he knows the city’s streets and its secrets intimately. His life seems set. He has a beautiful girlfriend, drugs, a chance at a promotion—and maybe, an opportunity for complete transformation: a contact among the elite who will set him on the course to lift himself up out of the streets.

But dreams can be a dangerous thing in a city whose mood is turning dark and inward. Others have a vision of life very different from Largo’s, and they will use any methods to secure control. And in behind it all, beyond the frivolity and chaos, the threat of new war always looms.


I stumbled upon this series of videos that actually cover different eras. I loved the idea to create a sequence of historical footage to display what could be a typical day at a particular time.
I love material about historical everyday life. Yes, this may be a bit forced – of course, it can only be built with what footage is available – but it is a great way to get a sense of life in the past.


Gang Roundup (July 2021) A collection of articles about WWI and a look at some of the new dieselpunk novels.

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