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: 28 May 2012
The Precocious Animated Duck Awards
Derby and Daring meet Donald and Daffy
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
- 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
- Dave D. noted that in our world, the Geiger-Muller counter wasn’t
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, 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.
||Some good observations about hydrogen storage
||Valuable information about wireless installations on airships
||A superb overview of geopolitics in the territories of the
||Caught an error I'd failed to correct in several German ship
||Noticed what can only be described as an 'inconsistency' in a
now-deleted reference to Mark Twain
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
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.
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.
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.