All that talk of aeronauts last time reminded me of another more-or-less abandoned project from back when I was revamping my Tirikelu RPG.
The Time of No Kings was to be set in the Dark Ages of Tekumel, a period of Rhialto-like wizards and Cugel-like rogues.The snag was, under the rules of the Tekumel Foundation I couldn't publish it in print form or make any money from it. I thought of moving it across to a different science fantasy setting. The world of Abraxas, perhaps. And in that form it might yet happen.
Really it would just be a love letter to the genre of science fantasy, which I discovered at an early age with Mike Moorcock's Kane of Mars novels. "Airships and swordplay meet blasters and psionic aliens," as I said in this post. What's not to like?
That's where that painting comes from, by the way. It was James Cawthorn's cover for Moorcock's Barbarians of Mars. Picture the ten-year-old Morris standing in a secondhand bookshop in Woking clutching that battered tome and thinking, "Mars... swords... and airships...!" Possibly the lithe undraped maidens too were starting to dimly register as objects of unsettling emotion on my reason-bright mind; or maybe that was still a few years off. Anyway, with or without a girl on my arm, I wanted my own airship.
You're thinking the balloon envelope looks a little small? That was the attraction, of course. Moorcock set his stories on a long-ago Mars that hadn't yet lost its atmosphere, so the low gravity meant you could get away with using a lot less helium. Tiddly up up!