History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

Platform Cities

Floating city and airshipsWhen I first started writing Brass and Glass, it was a short story called “The Cask of Cranglimmering.” In the original version, pretty much all of the action took place on The Silent Monsoon, and all I really knew about that world was that they had airships and legendary whiskey. As the story grew, though, I did a bit more worldbuilding, adding in platform cities, propelled upward by geysers in the boiling ocean and kept aloft through that hydrothermal energy. While the science may be a little bit on the dodgy side, it’s something that I think works with a bit of handwaving for a fantasy setting.

What’s interesting to me is that there’s a wide variety of artwork related to airships and floating cities, making me think that this is something that’s part of the steampunk zeitgeist. I don’t recall having seen much of this artwork before I started writing “The Cask of Cranglimmering,” but now a search for “floating cities” gets you a mix of islands and cities that float in the air. If I had to guess, I’d suspect that the floating cities may have started out as a trope in high fantasy, with magic and wizards and dragons. But for steampunk, adding in airships as the form of transportation from one magical floating city to another just made sense.

If you like the idea of flying cities with a little bit more science than magic, check out Brass and Glass: The Cask of Cranglimmering or Brass and Glass 2: The Long-Cursed Map!


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