First – the Word – 1766:
Enlightenment arrives as people take to the skies in balloons, they are no longer constrained by geography. The first commercial dirigibles are launched in 1785. Traders from India travel the Silk Road, bringing with them the substance that will later become known as Ambinium – a rock that floats when treated with simple acids.
Cities in the Sky – 1800:
The experiments on Ambinium and the development of airships leads to sky cities – large vessels that can dock and stay off the ground for long periods. This affluent move into the clouds is to exploit the benefits; with no houses, there is no tax, trade is free and above the law. Gambling finds a new home.
Sky Piracy – 1815:
The arrival of sky pirates soon puts paid to the golden age of airborne life. With no law enforcement or other defence, the floating palaces are sitting targets. People begin arming themselves and the “Air Wars” begin.
Air Tax – 1817:
To close the loophole exploited by dirigible owners, the government passes a law which taxes tethered aviation. The revenues generated, the government claims, are being used to fund the war against sky pirates.
Reformation – 1840:
A schism occurs within the Church of England. The debated doctrine is believed to encourage the continuation of occult-like practices. The debate gives rise to the Aesthetics movement. The Church survives the schism, but purges many Aesthetics. They are labelled heretics and in some remote villages, burnt at the stake.
Saryn – 1872:
The war that wasn’t. A strange new mineral is discovered in Saryn, in the outer regions of Kazakhstan. On the advice of scientists, British troops traipse halfway across the world to protect the nation’s mining rights. In the brutal conditions, fewer than 2% the soldiers reach the front line. Of those that make it, only a handful return. The mineral is never mined and the supposed life-enhancing properties of the substance are never properly investigated. Scarred by loss, the country would rather forget about the war. In response, MP’s within the House of Lords label Science “the widow-maker”.
Quite a bit of this project is based around South East London, and I’d like to introduce some of the areas as part of our ‘show and tell’.
The first place is a little known village called Honor Oak Park and One Tree Hill – just off the A205 (South Circular Road) and on the Culture Line (Overground Railway Line). Legend has it that on 1 May 1602, ‘Queen Elizabeth I’ had a picnic under an oak tree at the summit of a hill. The tree came to be known as the Oak of Honor.
Part of Clockwork Watch was actually written or conceived on the hill, while gazing over the London skyline. Janav – our protagonist – lives in Honor Oak Park, and visits the hill in our story too! This area of London has some awesome Victorian legacy, which was an inspiration to me while was working through parts of the story.
Take the Horniman Museum for instance – apart from housing an incredible collection of natural history artefacts, it also has musical instruments, and arts & crafts from the Victorian era. It’s the ideal place to introduce an anachronistic world where science, culture and Victorian values collide head-on. The museum features heavily in the first part of the story – and Jennie Gyllblad drawings are just spot-on! She’s recreated all the scenes from images found on the Internet.
We’re happy to announce the first review of Clockwork Watch: The Arrival, by our friends at Geek Syndicate.
“Jennie’s art is classical in nature, elegant in execution and she shows a fabulous eye for colours and how to use them to add depth and emotion to every panel she draws. The other nice touch was the use of real locations including Crystal Palace and some small history lessons thrown in as well. I am new to the whole steampunk culture but really liked this story and I would recommend it to anyone looking to test the waters with the whole genre.”
It’s always humbling to read stuff like this, especially our first issue.