'Our modern times'

I quickly whipped up this story for the CGSociety Steampunk Challenge

Voluminous red drapery slowly peeled apart to reveal a massive, flyspecked screen. All the eyes of the expectant audience looked up, as a sepia-tinged newsreel flickered to life.

“Mars has surrendered,” an aristocratic voice bellowed from loudspeakers placed throughout the steam-hazed room.

“This is truly an age where steel and steam have forged our glorious Empire,” the clipped accent continued, to the excited cheers of the patriotic crowd. “To think that all of this may not have been possible without the genius of Charles Babbage, and the prescience of our glorious Empress. Together they created computing powered by steam: the Analytical Engine. With this one invention the Steam Age is forever entwined with the Information Age.”

The screen was then filled with a small section of Babbage’s computational device. The ever-evolving copper cage was larger than a city block. It contained countless valves, gears and ratchet wheels. Plumes of hot steam belched from giant boilers deep within its belly. Thousands of scientists were connected to it by copper wires, which were patched directly to their cerebral cortexes. The machine, combined with the many human minds, was capable of answering the most complex of scientific questions.

The Empire soon used these answers to conquer land, sea, sky, and now the very stars themselves. We learned how to harness the power of elecricity to reanimate vast armies of minotaurs and centaurs – long thought lost in the mists of myth. Our engineers built Titans. These colossal, metallic monsters stamped and tore apart all who would oppose us. Our legions of clockwork automatons crushed the rebel spirit from all that stood in our way. Finally, we built starships, with steam engines larger than mountains. With these we conquered Mars.

Here we are now on the angry red planet, once populated by a war-like race. The newsreel showed what they had become: hunched and emaciated, cowering under our technological superiority.

Their thin leaders, with heads hung low, bowed to our Empress, who was trussed into a most modern and becoming corset. Her husband, the Prince, was an exceedingly tall and bowlegged man with greying muttonchop whiskers and a florid face, into which he had poured a considerable amount of the finest Martian wine. He wore a traditional navy-blue, double-breasted frock-coat, and knee-high boots, which offered little comfort to his gout. One gloved hand rested on his 3 barreled pistol, while the other rested on the bejeweled hilt of his sword.

The Empress, with a smirk, accepted the Martians’ terms of surrender, and said to her adoring legions of men and machines: “Today Mars. Tomorrow – with our steel, and our steam – the Universe!”

'Our modern times'


Golden Point, Australia

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Artist's Description

I quickly whipped up this story for the CGSociety Steampunk Challenge



Artwork Comments

  • Damian
  • AndrewJP
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