Many of you have asked how much of the world of the Flying Cloud is real. This is a fair question, which most certainly deserves an answer! The airships are as real as I could possibly make them. I compiled reams of specifications and design notes as background for a novel, and much of this material – along with some of the ships – serves as a background for the story. The Flying Cloud herself may lie near the upper limit of performance that could be achieved with the technology of the time, but with smaller 12-cylinder counterparts of the big 16-cylinder Daimler Benz LOF6 diesels aboard the Hindenberg, streamlining comparable to the R100, and high-efficiency four-bladed propellers, her speed and fuel consumption figures are possible. Most of the other technology is real as well, though some gets developed a few years sooner than it did in our world, and it’s possible that the Alice Springs-Darwin narrow-gauge rail line was not quite as slow as I suggest
For the most part, the major public figures are the same as they were in our world. The points of departure between Captain Everett’s 1926 and ours are small, so there was little chance of someone like Winston Churchill forsaking a career in politics to became a soccer player for Balgownie. Some differences are part of the historical background (“Actung, Herr Zimmerman! Passen sie vom bus auf!” CRASH! “Oops”). Others were unavoidable. Since the War ended in 1916, the Germans had neither reason nor opportunity to smuggle Lenin into Russia in 1917, and he remained an obscure bookseller in Geneva. But the October Revolution still happened, and the Communists took power under Trotsky instead.
The places are also real. I even visited a few to make sure. One possible exception is Sarah’s island. At the time of Captain Everett’s visit, this was a sizable body of land, with and area and population comparable to that of a small English county. If you examine Google Earth today, you will find an island at the same location, but this is a barren windswept rock less than a mile across with no permanent inhabitants. What is the relationship between the two, you wonder?
Life is full of mysteries…