Tag Archives: Dieselpunk

How We Survived – Guardians of light (Nano2016, chapter 12)

It was a strange kind of science and magic that held a dome together. From the bunkers and hydro farms underneath, to the electric trams above, to the towering housing blocks, to the glittering brass plated steel and glass that bubbled them all in, each had its part to play. All was dictated by the genius of Buckminster Fuller. His ideas became the math behind survival, the design behind the domes, the beating heart of dome ecosystems. Nothing could exist as a closed system – there needed to be input from somewhere. So there was light. There were influxes of people, and grain, and water. Where there was still water, and people, anything could be created.

If you were to build a dome city from scratch, it would be significantly easier than retrofitting cities that already stood. Blasting could achieve the underground clearance needed in a new city. But if the city was already there, you had to work around its people. First was the core, the stomach of the city, deep below the other functions – the farms and water. By boring into the ground, cities could access groundwater. Some cities dropped a shaft, more than a mile deep into the earth, as simply a first step to ensuring survival. Without water, there was no future for the people. All water that came from the ground was circulated upwards, first to the farms and people, and then everywhere else. On cold days the breath of hundreds of thousands would condense on the glass of the dome, building a mist around the people, and trickling its way down. It didn’t meet soil – it met drains, that brought it through reclamation plants, distillers, and other treatment centers. If the water wasn’t kept clean, it would doom a city.

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How we survived; The dark bulb (Nano 2016, Chapter 1)

It takes a lot to unseat people from the natural order of things. People will tolerate war, they’ll tolerate rationing, they’ll tolerate shortages, and hardship. They’ll tolerate atrocity if they have to, at least for a while. But each has their breaking point, and as one after another they begin to snap like too dry brushwood, the world weakens. Each stress adds up, causing the fractures to merge and form fissures.

Some break when the radio stops playing. Others when the air conditioning is a few degrees off. But some won’t break until the earth crumbles in their hands, and takes to the wind just like their hopes. The loss of hope is the last breaking point for so many. They’ll die where they stand when the hope leaves them. Or they’ll rage against the end of the world.

It’s hard to see a revolution when it’s happening all around you. The rains slowed or stopped, and you don’t notice at first. The paper told you it was a problem, but the paper is full of problems. The protests start, and their inconvenience scratches at your windows, but you’d swear it was just the wind. The violence happens elsewhere; it won’t reach me. Safe and tucked within a country, bubbled by your state, softened by your city. Safe. Always safe.

Then the protests turn to anger, and the anger turns to property destruction, or to blood filled coups, and that was the point at which you started paying attention. Weeks and days too late, you decided that now was the end of the world. Ignoring the symptoms, ignoring the signs, literally ignoring the writing on the wall. It was coming for you too, the whole time. These ill winds whispered your name amidst the dry sagebrush, it whistled the song of your life in the pines. The drip drip of drying water fell in the canyon of your abandoned life.

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Dieselpunk Draft 1

So the entire time I’ve had this blog, and there has been a writing category, and I have not posted any writing.

So here it is, the first few paragraphs of my as yet untitled Dieselpunk Novel.

The oil and grease didn’t wash off anymore, his fingertips were permanently blackened. Within a year he’d have black palms and wrists. Another year and he’d have black forearms and feet. It’s impossible to stop the progression and after it makes your hair fall out, it turns the whites of your eyes black.
Most men don’t even bother washing once it reaches the armpits, because it’s pointless. You can’t go back under the dome with the rest of the static folk; City Lords, Bucky followers and the tower residents. Most of them have never even seen a lifelong engineer with thick black skin and terrifying eyes. They didn’t even want to know about you once you stopped looking like them.
He put a hydro-tobacco cigar between his wet black fingertips and walked away from the engine room to one of the skeleton cars to feel the dirty air on his face. He lit his cigar and looked across the dry, crinkled earth. Danny was an engineer now, and he would never be getting off this train.