• Dr. Timothy X. Merritt

Science Fiction Airships

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The Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher:


In my research I have found very few instances of airships used in Science Fiction. Perhaps this is because when people think of airships, they think of the past. The Golden Era of airship aviation that stretched from WWI to WWII is over, and the subject evokes memories more suitable for Steampunk and Fantasy rather than Science Fiction. Typically, Science Fiction stories involve spaceships, not airships, and there are many memorable spaceships such as the USS Enterprise, the Millennium Falcon, and the Serenity from Firefly. Then along comes Jim Butcher’s merchant airship, the AMS Predator, piloted by the disgraced privateer Captain Francis Grimm...


What makes this novel Science Fiction is that it takes place on another planet where humans live in spires that extend above the clouds, while the mist and forest-covered surface is practically uninhabitable. Because of the geographic peculiarities of the planet, the aristocratic families that inhabit the spires rely on fleets of airships the navigate trade routes, maintain peace through complex alliances, and when all else fails, wage war. The planet is populated with strange technology, dangerous monsters, political intrigue, and fantastic aerial combat scenes. Butcher also introduces a species of intelligent cats that play a pivotal role.


The Aeronaut’s Windlass is an excellent example of Science Fiction world-building, and it leaves the reader hungry for the next book in the series. Alas, many of us have been waiting for the next book, The Olympian Affair, since 2015. I’m hooked, and I’ll keep an eye out for it. If you sign up below, I’ll be sure to notify you if and when The Olympian Affair hits the shelves.


The Cinder Spires Series

Book 1 - The Aeronaut's Windlass

We're all still waiting on Book 2 - The Olympian Affair. Sign up below and I'll let you know when it comes out.


Book Review - Airship Science Fiction

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