Posts Tagged ‘Races’

A Real Steampunk Car and Motorcycle

February 19, 2021

Steampunk is a form of Science Fiction which speculates on what the world would have been like if they’d managed to invent cars, computers, aircraft and space and time travel. It follows Bruce Sterling’s and William Gibson’s novel, The Difference Engine, set in an alternative past where Charles Babbage’s pioneering computer, the difference engine of the title, has been built and Britain is ruled by Lord Byron. It’s heavily influenced by early SF writers such as H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. But some of the machines and inventions in the genre are very close to reality. In fact there was a history book published the other year with the title The Real Victorian Steampunk, or something like that. George Cayley in Britain invented a glider, while a Frenchman, Giffard, developed a dirigible airship in the 1850s and successfully demonstrated it by flying around the Eiffel Tower. And from the first years of the 19th century onwards, inventors were busy developing the first antecedents of the modern car and motorcycle, driven by steam, of course.

I found these two videos on Wildlyfunny’s channel on YouTube. They look like they’re from a steam rally somewhere in eastern Europe, though the blurbs for them doesn’t say where and I’m afraid I don’t recognise the language. This one below is of the 1886 Baffrey Steam Car.

Steam car Baffrey 1886 / Parní vůz Baffrey – YouTube

This second video looks like it’s from the same rally, and is of the 1869 Roper steam motorcycle, invented by Sylvester Howard Roper and demonstrated at fairs and circuses across the US. According to a couple of the commenters, Roper became the first motorcycle casualty when he was killed in a race against seven, ordinary human-powered bicycles.

The FIRST Steam Motorcycle in the world, ROPER 1869 year! – YouTube

The sheer inventiveness of the Victorians never ceases to amaze me, and you do wonder what would have happened had these machines taken off before the invention of the modern internal combustion engine. One of the reasons why they didn’t, and it was only until the invention of the modern petrol/ diesel driven automobile in the later 19th century that cars became an effective rival to horse-drawn transport, is because steam engines weren’t a sufficiently effective power source. It’s also why they were unable to develop steam-driven airplanes. Nevertheless, these machines are still awesome in their ingenuity and a fascinating episode in the history of the automobile.

Mutants from a Post-Holocaust Future: The Hunt Lobby and the British Aristocracy

December 28, 2015

Boxing Day is traditionally the day when fox hunters up and down Britain ride out to satisfy their bloodlust. Since 2004 it’s been illegal to hunt them with hounds, but this hasn’t stopped the Countryside Alliance from continuing to campaign for the repeal of the law. Mike reported over at Vox Political that a quarter of a million fox hunters were expected to ride to hounds on that day. And David Cameron wanted to see parliament repeal the law. You shouldn’t be surprised at that. He is, after all, a blue-blooded aristo, so the hunt’s almost certainly in his primal nature. Along with snobbery and an absolute contempt for those he regards as merely human animals, like the poor, disabled and working class.

Cameron was to be disappointed. The general public don’t want the ban lifted. Mike reported the findings of a poll, which said that 83 per cent of people don’t want a return to hunting with dogs. There’s also very strong support for the ban inside Cameron’s own party, with 70 Tories MPs stating they would vote against lifting the ban.

See the following articles on his blog: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/12/26/opposition-to-fox-hunting-hits-all-time-high-with-even-most-tory-voters-opposed/

http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/12/26/fox-hunting-david-camerons-desire-to-reverse-ban-doomed-in-face-of-tory-opposition/

Mike also quotes the BBC News, where Tracey Crouch stated that Parliament has far better things to do than debate fox hunting.

http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/12/26/fox-hunting-parliament-has-better-things-to-do-than-repeal-act/

So who are the proud supports of fox hunting? Well, from the experience of a group of my friends in Cheltenham, aristocratic Tory grotesques. I was up visiting them once, when they’d gone out for the day to enjoy themselves at the races. They’d had a good time watching the horses, and had even won a bit a money gambling, but came back in a foul mood.

What had spoiled their day? The fox hunting crew.

They’d been drinking in one of the beer tents, when a group of the local Tory aristocracy came in along with a squad of very loud supporters of fox hunting. These two groups were horrendously snobbish and condescending towards their social inferiors, as well as physically repulsive. One of my friends wailed in support of this observation that ‘They had no chins!’

So it’s true. The British aristocracy really are chinless wonders.

One of the women was so annoyed with the crew that she immediately sat down to play a particularly violent computer game. It was set in a post-Holocaust future, so presumably she was getting the urge to beat horribly deformed mutants to death out of her system.

It all rather reminded me of one of Robert Rankin’s fantasy novels: Armageddon – the Musical. This is an SF tale in which Elvis Presley and Barry the Time Sprout combat the forces of the Anti-Christ in a Britain devastated by a nuclear holocaust. Among the book’s villains are a sect of cannibals, the Devianti. Whereas other cannibals in SF books set in a post-Apocalyptic future tend to be an extrapolation of the poor White trash in the American Deep South, or violent urban subcultures, like the Bikers in the Mad Max films, the Devianti are true blue aristos. As an indication of their exalted social status, they wear their Barbour waxed jackets outside their anti-nuclear survival suits.

Going by what my friends said that day, I don’t think you have to travel into a future devastated by nuclear war to encounter mutants like them. They’re already here, deformed through generations of inbreeding, and with an insatiable thirst for blood and violence. This is shown in foxhunting, and in the massive bullying that goes on at the elite Public Schools. And they aren’t leaving it for a nuclear war to destroy Britain. Their policies are already doing that, as they seek to vent their hatred of Britain’s poor, sick and unemployed.

This ain’t Science Fiction any more. The mutants are here, and called Tories.