Machines Volume II Part I: Airships

A Granite Bay Design Microsite

“The drone of the engines was now barely audible, the sounds being instantly swept away by the wind of our passage…

“According to the repeater dials in the main salon, the Acheron was making a steady forty-seven knots at a height of a little over two thousand feet, all of which suggested, I had been told, that I might be afforded an excellent view of the landscape below. So I had ventured out to the observation point, perhaps expecting to be the only person present. To my slight surprise and my more than slight pleasure, I found my new acquaintance Mr Augustus Montague was already in residence.”

from “Airships Over Africa, Part 1” by Trevor Hopkins

“There are still many sea-ships, of course; shipping remained of considerable importance for the transportation of goods, tramping the ocean with bulk cargoes vital for commerce and industry. There are still a few persons, too, who prefer to travel by ocean-going liner or whose means could only stretch to cramped accommodations in steerage. For those who had a choice in the matter, however, there was rarely any debate: who would want to sail around the world at twenty or twenty-five knots, when one could cruise at twice or even thrice that pace in the air?”

“The Acheron’s heading took us towards a handful of rocky spires, hundreds of feet high and rearing out of the plantations which swept up the gently sloping hillsides in a wave of greens and browns. All but one of the spires were topped with nothing more than a few scrubby trees, but our final objective was plain enough and quite different in appearance.

The tallest spire was cluttered with a profusion of towers and domes and spires, and set about with numerous gantries and anchorages on multiple levels, supported by protrusions which clung like limpets to the lower reaches of the sheer rock faces. The port was a hive of activity which made the stevedores at the seaport we had passed so recently seem entirely lethargic by comparison.

The space around the spire buzzed with craft of the air, of all shapes and sizes. Yet more were docked at the gantries or moored to the spires. There were liners and passenger vessels, and lighters and heavy lifters being readied for a trip up-country, and several of the frigates of Her Majesty’s Aerial Navy bristling with both gunports and a subdued aura of menace.”