the Flying Cloud, R505 - Extras

The Flying Cloud is more than just a story. It's also a community of readers and friends who enjoy airships, aviation, adventure, alternate history, dieselpunk, the Roaring Twenties, gallant gentlemen, and don't forget those sultry island maidens! These pages are a tribute to all the contributions, comments, and ideas that have inspired the story, kept the author honest, and kept His Majesty's Airship R-505 flying.


Last revision: 31 October 2016

The Precocious Animated Duck Awards

Derby and Daring meet Donald and Daffy
"Gads, it's a pair of animated ducks from another dimension!" "Animated duckth from another dimenthion?  Thath dithpicable!"

The Flying Cloud is set in a world that might have been, if the Great War had ended two years earlier. A decade after the Armistice, this world resembles our own, with much the same nations, people, and politics, but it's not quite the same. I've made every attempt to identify the points of departure. Still, no matter how hard one tries, it's easy to miss things. Such as those ducks. In Episode 13: Admiralty Court, Jenkins makes what appears to be a reference to Donald and Daffy, and as Chris W. so succinctly pointed out, "Donald: 1934; Daffy: 1937". Oops.

In recognition of this challenge, the Royal Navy Airship Service has instituted the Precocious Animated Ducks Award. Readers who identify differences between Captain Everett's world and ours that I either failed to catch or snuck into the story to see if anyone would notice will receive prestige, recognition, and points that could be exchanged for a Valuable Prize if Earth should ever be visited by a race of benevolent aliens who happen to be airship enthusiasts. The only rules are 1) these must involve things that happen prior to or during the time of the story and 2) extra points are awarded for politeness, since we have standards to maintain.

May 2009

  • Chris W. noted that in our world Donald and Daffy weren't created until the 1930s. I didn't check this myself until after I'd written and posted Episode 13. So much for my clever plan of hoping no one would pay attention...

December 2009

  • Dave D. noted that in our world, the Geiger-Muller counter wasn\92t invented until 1928. I was wondering who'd spot that one! In this case, I'd already decided that the relevant research happened two years earlier in Captain Everett's world -- a reasonable assumption given how many scientists in our world served and/or died in the trenches.

The Tech Center

Ballast station of the ZR-5 Macon
Ballast station, ZR-5 Macon (USN archives)

History and technology are areas where it's easy to miss a few things. This is particularly true for technologies that our world has abandoned. In some cases, such the development of wire recorders or details of airship flight operations (which could be quite different from modern blimps) the documentation is scanty. In others, such as the various different methods that were used to generate, store, and test hydrogen at airship stations throughout the world, it can be confusing, contradictory, or entirely absent. Below is a partial list of the information readers have contributed so far. If you come upon something that seems relevant to the period or catch some detail you feel could be improved, let me know and I'll do my best to work it in.

Contributor       Item
Kirk Bailey Some good observations about hydrogen storage
Kirk Bailey Valuable information about wireless installations on airships
Publius A superb overview of geopolitics in the territories of the Austria-Hungarian Empire
Publius Caught an error I'd failed to correct in several German ship designations
Rorick F. Noticed what can only be described as an 'inconsistency' in a now-deleted reference to Mark Twain

Fan Art

Images can convey concepts and impressions that might elude even the most talented of writers. This is particularly true if the artist is someone other than me! In recognition of this fact, The Flying Cloud now has a fan art page. This will change and evolve as I figure out how best to manage it. If you'd like to contribute art, images, or links, send me an email so we can work out the details.

Sarah and Captain Everett by Mary P.
Mary P. (Miss Mary) was kind enough to send this superb sketch of Sarah and Captain Everett. Would that I could have done such a good job of capturing their spirit! I've reduced it here in the interests of space. Click on the image to appreciate the full size version.

Reduced size copy of Mary P's image of Sarah and Captain Everett
Sarah and Captain Everett  (c) Mary P. 2009

Some of My Favorites

The following sites have been approved by the Royal Navy Airship Service in accordance with RNR-2866 'Identification of Excellent Web Sites' and RNR-6727B 'Things for Gallant Gentlemen and Sultry Island Maidens to do on an Idyllic Pacific Atoll After They've Run Out of Chocolate'.

  • The Copper Age by Bryn Colvin and Tom Brown. Set in the town of Hopeless, Maine, where the residents find life a little darker and more dangerous with every passing day. It brings back fond memories. I spent part of my childhood in a small Maine coastal village like this. Though we had a somewhat more... diverse... assortment of neighbors.
  • Hopeless Vendetta by Bryn Colvin and Tom Brown. The newspaper of Hopeless, Maine. Interactive -- leave a comment, join their community, and you may find yourself in the news.
  • The Noble Pirates by R. L. Jean. The Real Men Behind the Myths. Pirates! What's not to like? And it just keeps getting better.
  • Spontoon Island. Edited by Ken Fletcher. A collection of farce, fable, and adventure, loosely based on South Sea Island Adventures, including those all-important... seaplanes!  It can be tricky to navigate, but I think that's part of the charm.
  • Basic Instructions by Scott Meyer. Brilliant! It's become an essential part of my weekly routine. And I wish I'd thought of some of these myself!
  • Finder's Keepers by Garth Cameron Graham. It's dark. It contains many mysteries. And it has a Zelazny-esque quality that I cannot help but admire. But how come I never run into girls like that when I'm being pursued by supernatural adversaries?
  • The Legend of Bill by David Reddick. The story of Bill and his friend Fred the blue dragon who "...unsatisfied with their mundane lives as file clerk interns in the local castle accounting department, decide to set off for adventure..." This one keeps growing on me. Perhaps I can relate after all those years I spent dealing with NASA bureaucracy.