Steam Wars
January 3, 2007 10:19 PM   Subscribe

Steam Wars is the many decades long dream project of writer/illustrator Larry Blamire. Essentially the story of three soldiers set in a Victorian era war that features giant Jules Verneseque steam-powered mechrobots, the story has kicked around in Blamire's imagination since the 1970s. In an attempt to get the story made into a movie, he's put up a site with concept sketches, full color art & even faux memorabilia from the ficticious wars.
posted by jonson (25 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

Oh yeah - via.
posted by jonson at 10:20 PM on January 3, 2007

Goddamnit, jonson! You're so evil! I'm trying to wind down and get some book time in before sleeping!

Err, I mean, thank you.
posted by loquacious at 10:29 PM on January 3, 2007

Thanks for this marvelous post!
posted by Dizzy at 10:37 PM on January 3, 2007

Ever notice how more and more people today dream of walking around in a heavy, metallic, half-monkey suit? Well, would it interest you to know that at one time they actually did?

This is wonderful.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:48 PM on January 3, 2007

It's not exactly a new idea. Steampunk is an established genre.

It's a staple of anime. Such titles as "Sakura Wars", "Steel Angel Kurumi", and "Castle in the Sky" are all part of it. And there's a steampunk RPG called "Space 1889".

I applaud this guy for his art and his ideas, but he isn't striking out into unknown territory with this. He's on well-trodden trails.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 11:30 PM on January 3, 2007

His aesthetic is certainly different than a lot of steampunk inspired artwork. I agree that that steam punk is established (Just look at its entry in wikipedia.), but this is some great stuff.

I can't believe there hasn't been a major movie in a steampunk setting; at least not one I can think of. The setting has so much appeal.
posted by Telf at 11:47 PM on January 3, 2007

I spoke too soon. How could I forget the steam punk masterpiece, Wild Wild West.
posted by Telf at 11:50 PM on January 3, 2007

"Steampunk is a subgenre of speculative fiction which came into prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. "

you're right steven, it's not exactly a new idea.

"...the story has kicked around in Blamire's imagination since the 1970s. "
posted by jcterminal at 11:56 PM on January 3, 2007

it should also be noted that he's in, and wrote for, directed, did the catering on, and probably paid for the move "The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra"
posted by joelf at 12:17 AM on January 4, 2007

JCTerminal, the term "steampunk" goes to the 1980's, but stories like that go back to Jules Verne.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:25 AM on January 4, 2007

Which was a truly fantastic movie.
posted by nightchrome at 12:25 AM on January 4, 2007

I think these vehicles could be alot more interesting if they weren't constrained by the human form. Building a giant bipedal robot just to carry two tiny little guns on the shoulders is a waste of resources.

Forms based on four-legged animals and insects would be vastly more effective, because you could use the entire back/spinal region for a gun platform. And they wouldn't fall over.
posted by Spacelegoman at 2:14 AM on January 4, 2007

...and forms based on caterpillar tracks would be yet more effective, but less fun to sketch.
posted by pompomtom at 3:53 AM on January 4, 2007

Forms based on caterpillars are fun to sketch, if incredibly complex to build & maintain, but they can transform into mech-butterflies, which is wicked awesome.
posted by LordSludge at 5:48 AM on January 4, 2007

I am right there in the front row for any live-action film featuring mecha, don't get me wrong, and anachro-mecha are better yet. Gear Krieg movie? Sold.

But most of these machines seem to have some serious physical problems.

Quite apart from the fact that they don't have enough components - which really should be visible in the small ones, armour or no armour - their legs, when visible, are often... strange.

If anyone can tell me how this could take even one step, I'd be grateful. I can see no way for it to lift its feet off the ground.

There are designs with telescopic legs and some kind of hips, but they're still not worked out. Try to imagine them in movement and it's harder than figuring out how an Ork Dreadnought, which is meant to be silly, is supposed to get around.

OK, OK, it's only concept art. But it has a hard time igniting any excitement in my mind when all I can imagine is the intrepid crewmen shouting loudhailer insults at each other from atop their immobile contraptions.
posted by dansdata at 6:37 AM on January 4, 2007

Well, Jules Verne. I guess after he finished there was no point to writing more science fiction. What sophistry.

I don't know from his story-telling abilities, but this is some fun art.

See also Boilerplate.
posted by dhartung at 6:39 AM on January 4, 2007

I really hope this project gets greenlighted someday. If it contains even half the fun of The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra it will still be twice the movie Wild Wild West was.
posted by lekvar at 9:29 AM on January 4, 2007

...these vehicles could be a lot more interesting if they weren't constrained by the human form.

Agreed: giant steam-powered robots are more science fantasy than science fiction. Why not have steam dragons while we're at it? At least they'd be self-igniting...

Unless you're fighting exclusively in the mountains, wheeled and tracked vehicles are far more stable and efficient at moving people and stuff around (even four-legs run into problems.) Boilerplate's fictional lead image is a good comparison between wheels and limbs: imagine the maintenance.

Thomas Newcomen's original steam engineWP successfully replaced horses for pumping water out of coal mines. No one proposed steam-powered mechanical horses instead.

Great post, thanks!
posted by cenoxo at 9:38 AM on January 4, 2007

Excellent post.

Telf : I can't believe there hasn't been a major movie in a steampunk setting; at least not one I can think of. The setting has so much appeal.

Agreed. And while Wild Wild West was not the worst movie ever made or anything, it was unfortunate that it was the mechanism by which most people discovered the steampunk genera.

There is a well done anime on the subject called Steam Boy, and while I wouldn't consider it steampunk, I've always felt that Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, was a sort of logical extension to that world. Like what a steampunk society might look like 30 years on.
posted by quin at 10:53 AM on January 4, 2007

Yes, yes, yes on the aforementioned anime "Steam Boy" -- a magnificently detailed imagining of a steam-powered world. Also, the 1958 "Fabulous Adventures of Jules Verne," which combines live actors with woodcut-styled drawings and animation to create an effect of an illustrated book come to life.
posted by Faze at 11:22 AM on January 4, 2007

SteamBoy's concept of the portable, super-pressurized Steam Ball opens up a lot of interesting mechanical possibilities. The best-looking steampunk movie to date, IMHO.
posted by cenoxo at 3:32 PM on January 4, 2007

I have to give a shout out to H.G. Wells' 1903 story, The Land Ironclads, which featured mechanized catepillar tanks with thousands of legs. Here's an artist's mockup which looks nothing like what I mself imagined.

Here's the original story. It's an angelfire site, (Angelfire is still around?) so watch for popups.
posted by Telf at 12:20 AM on January 5, 2007

Double whoops. Here's the story.
posted by Telf at 1:04 AM on January 5, 2007

Wasn't there a steam-punk-ish Giant-Walking-Destroyer-Thingie at the end of that dreadful "Wild Wild West"remake a coupla years ago?
posted by Dizzy at 1:37 PM on January 5, 2007

(...or I could just read the comments more carefully and stop asking stooopid questions...)
posted by Dizzy at 1:42 PM on January 5, 2007

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