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The Flying Cloud, R-505 by Paul Gazis


Set in a world of the 1920’s that might have been, this is a tale of airships, adventure, gallant gentlemen, and sultry island maidens.

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Editorial Reviews

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Adventures in a Dirigible

By Linda Schoales, editor

Oct 8, 2009: “The Flying Cloud, R-505” is the story of the surviving members of the crew of His Majesty’s Airship “Flying Lady”. It’s 1926, but in this alternate reality dirigibles were developed instead of airplanes. After the “Flying Lady” is attacked over the Pacific by an airship flying false colours, the gallant crew work together to keep the remains of their airship aloft long enough to reach land.

The story jumps right in with the crew clinging to the wreckage as it falls towards the ocean surface. Captain Everett, the consummate English officer, calmly issues orders to his men. By dropping ballast and non-essentials they manage to keep the hull of their airship floating as they look for an island to land on. Once there, they’ll worry about the next step. In the meantime, best to keep busy.

The narrative moves quickly, with lots of nautical/airship terms thrown around. The overall tone is light with little tension or real sense of danger. Everything works out quickly and no one seems really worried for very long. There’s a definite feeling of being in an earlier, more formal, and more sporting time. This could be at least partially due to the lack of swearing and the use of complete sentences by most of the characters.

The dialogue varies between the “stiff upper lip” tone of the officers and the various regional accents of the enlisted men. There’s even an Australian who says “fair dinkum”. Much of the humour comes from the captain’s very serious pronouncements and the constant bickering between an Irishman and a Scotsman. As new characters were introduced I got the impression of an anime series with a colourful cast, short action sequences, and lots of pictures of airships. Each episode includes a brief recap of the story so far.

“Flying Cloud” is a light, fun story about the gallant young Brits who fly airships in an alternate version of 1926 Earth. The story moves quickly but it’s well-written, with a touch of humour and action. If you like adventure stories, stories about alternate histories, or stories about airships, you’ll probably enjoy this one.

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Most Helpful Member Reviews

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Fun times, straight ahead!

By capriox, member

Feb 11, 2010: This is an engaging, quick paced action-adventure tale set in an alt-history just post WWI. The major difference in this alt-history is that dirigibles and other forms of flying (one character keeps a hang glider handy) were never replaced by the airplane. Airship fans, eat your hearts out.

The story follows the crew of a British military airship after their original dirigible is wrecked over the South Pacific. Light, humorous adventure follows non-stop as they navigate the hazards of the Polynesian [more . . .]

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Light, fun, and definitely worth a look

By Von, member

Nov 26, 2009: I have just read a few chapters of this story, and am finding it a fun read; without a hint of vampires, werewolves, or any other such modern fascinations.

I enjoy the Wodehouseque British humor, and the light characterization of the various minor characters.

I vastly enjoy the way he keeps various minor humor elements going throughout . . . two men who bet over anything, a propensity to characterize foreign nationals in interesting [more . . .]

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A Gem of a Story

By Frances Gonzalez, member

Sep 19, 2009: I was drawn to this listing because of the title . . . and because, let’s face it, airships are awesome. I kept reading (currently up to ch.18) because, while the airships continued to be awesome, the writing is equally excellent.

In yet another example of a great hook, the story opens with an airship crew (our protagonists), struggling to stay alive as their decimated airship begins to lose altitude over the ocean. The action rarely stops from there, moving on to exotic islands and [more . . .]

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