Author, decopunk, dieselpunk, retrofuture, science fiction, speculative fiction, Uncategorized, Writer

14 Days of “Ruby Descent” Concept Art: #14-Lou Wen’s Noodle House

Day 14, and the grand finale has arrived. A day late, but I spent extra time on this one. Something extra special to finish out the challenge ūüôā This is a scene from the final chapter of the novel. A balmy night in the equatorial city of Malawi in Indolasia, where the Ruby lift’s massive anchor platform floats a mile offshore. The laser charging beams still burn into the sky like bright red pillars, with the moonlight fractured over the sea. After a long and harrowing descent. Walter Marlow and Lily Fairpoole decide to catch a break for greasy noodles and brightly-colored drinks at their favorite restaurant. Lou is the local favorite for more than one reason. He certainly approves of the growing connection between these two, who happen to be some of his favorite regular patrons.

“Heh, Mr. Marlow, good to see you out with the pretty lady again. No more mopin’¬†with the kitty cat, yea? Good, good. How about a special to celebrate? On the house. Just for you and the beautiful Miss Fairpoole!”


Author, decopunk, dieselpunk, retrofuture, science fiction, speculative fiction, Uncategorized, Writer

14 Days of “Ruby Descent” Concept Art: #13-Flappers in the Fountain

Two days of my challenge left! Day 13 is a scene from the festivities at Everblue’s 10th anniversary party. When Mr. Marlow arrives at the Royal Crown, he’s struck with this wanton sight. While thousands of revelers dance and carouse around the hotel lobby, a large tiered fountain dominates the middle of the floor. Arcs of precious water spray in all directions, a wasteful expense which Mr. Marlow finds distasteful. It’s meant to be a show of joy and hope for an abundant future, but some people–like Walter–still remember the days of the War. The terrifying bio-weapon which tainted Earth’s water, poisoning it and driving the worlds into desperate survival.

A group of carefree young women splash and play in the pool, their hair and dresses soaked through, their laughter cascading with the froth of this monument to Everblue’s success. A mermaid queen bedecks the pinnacle and tosses more water into the crowd with abandon. Decadence to excess can only bring corruption in the end. The question in Walter’s mind is, has it already come to pass?


Author, decopunk, dieselpunk, retrofuture, science fiction, speculative fiction, Uncategorized, Writer

14 Days of “Ruby Descent” Concept Art: #12: Martian Insurgents

Day 12 was a little on the rocks for me, so today’s sketch is of some the “sketchier” individuals in the story. This is Lux and his fellow revolutionary Cyan. True names withheld to shade the innocent, of course. Together with their outwardly political gang of dissidents, they decide to enact a shock and awe terror event to deliver an ultimatum to Everblue. And the Royal Crown space lifts are the target for the coup. All of the Blanes will be aboard the Ruby, with the media and huge crowds observing it all. What better way to seize the attention of the worlds and make the message clear: hands off Martian water!

Lux and Cyan and the rest of their squad are all Martian citizens with a vendetta. Everblue has claimed the Red World’s water under a pretense of safe-keeping it from contamination. The Martian youth, restless and territorial, believe the water belongs to the people of Mars, not a private corporation. Enough water has been found to end the harsh rationing Everblue and the Admin enforce on society.

So, a little party crashing is on order. It’ll be tricky to get in, but turns out there’s inside help for hire.What could possibly go wrong? They’ve got the high ground–at least, they think so.


Author, decopunk, dieselpunk, retrofuture, science fiction, speculative fiction, Uncategorized, Writer

14 Days of “Ruby Descent” Concept Art: #11-Lily and the Hard Knocks

On to Day 11! Today we have a special appearance of the Ruby’s signature jazz ensemble, Lily and the Hard Knocks. Miss Lily Fairpoole shimmies to the rhythm of her band while the Agent unit robots she’s modified for her stage performances whirl and shine around her. They’re the opening act for the Everblue festivities, and this is the first time Mr. Marlow has watched Lily sing. She begged him to step away from his duties for just a while because she has a surprise for him–a song she’s written just for him titled “Comin’ Up and Goin’ Down.”

Aside from being a top-notch jazz singer, Lily is also the brilliant Head Engineer and Programmer of the Ruby. Brains, beauty, and talent all swirled into one, her audience can always count on her for an unforgettable show as well as to keep the Ruby’s systems and robots in prime working order.

Mr. Marlow has always admired her dedication and abilities on the job. She’s only worked on the lift for six months, but has already proven her value as a crew member many times. She’s got a positive attitude that never quits and a smile to brighten every crisis. As she sings her way into the spectators’ hearts, she also sings her way into Walter’s. For the first time, he realizes how much he cares for her…as more than just a co-worker and a friend. Could the spark of love begin to kindle in a soul which has long sworn to stand alone?

Walter has had a hard rap when it comes to women. Barely two years previous, he was very much in love and about to be married–but his fiancee jilted him at the altar and left him devastated and bitter. He’s sworn to be a bachelor and has a strict self-vow to never date a co-worker…but the new feelings stirring within him refuse to be pushed aside.


Author, decopunk, dieselpunk, retrofuture, science fiction, speculative fiction, Uncategorized, Writer

14 Days of “Ruby Descent” Concept Art: #10-Ethlyne Blane and Ginger

Day 10’s sketch is a bit late in going up, but here we have the lovely Mrs. Ethlyne Blane performing a feat of bravado with her beloved horse, Ginger. When the Ruby docks at its charging station halfway during the descent. the party will feature a grand event in the Scarlet Ballroom–the infamous Water Globe Drop, a spectacular event anticipated at all Everblue’s annual commemorations. For the Ruby’s descent, Ethlyne will provide us with a most spectacular display. She and Ginger are renowned for their riding abilities in daring equestrian competitions on Mars. Just before the Water Globe drops to shower precious life-giving drops of real, pure water onto the spectators, Ethlyne and Ginger will leap through a ring of simulated¬†fountains and water and dazzle our guests with their death-defying talents.

Mrs. Blane and Ginger have long appeared in advertisements and promotions for Everblue and have become near mascots for the company. How thrilling to watch horse and rider fly over the heads of the audience and herald¬†a new decade of Everblue’s greatness into fruition!


Author, decopunk, dieselpunk, retrofuture, science fiction, speculative fiction, Uncategorized, Writer

14 Days of “Ruby Descent” Concept Art: #9-Mr. Marlow’s Resolve

Day 9 is here, and today I’ve decided to jump forward to a pivotal moment in the story. Here we have Mr. Walter Marlow and the holographic¬†avatar of the Ruby’s AI executive system, ZORA. This is a scene where Walter’s dignified demeanor has finally snapped. He’s lost control of the lift, of the robotic staff, and his patience. Many lives hang in the balance, including his own. The only way to set things right is to draw upon his strength and courage and to revive a fantastic weapon from his past–the cybernetic-enhanced boxing gloves he used to smash his way out of the Pruessian¬†ration camps during the Great War fifteen years ago. He’s kept them for nostalgic reasons, as well as for a last resort in case an emergency might arise–which it has. Now, he must take the chaos into his own hands…literally.

The systems have been hacked, the Ruby hijacked. ZORA continues on as if nothing is wrong, perky and attentive as always, as Mr. Marlow straps on his implements of destruction for the final showdown.


Author, decopunk, dieselpunk, retrofuture, science fiction, speculative fiction, Uncategorized, Writer

14 Days of “Ruby Descent Concept Art: #8-Silas Blane

For Day 8 we have Mr. Silas Blane, the enigmatic CEO,¬†Chairman, and celebrity spokesman of Everblue. Naturally, Mr. Blane is the Master of Ceremonies for his company’s 10th-anniversary party. Always dressed to the nines and with a grin to charm the masses, he’s one of the most influential people in the solar system. He aims to impress in every endeavor, and this party is no exception. Silas always gets what he wants…and rumors lurk among his inner circle that the boss-man possesses strange supernatural powers of persuasion and foresight. Waving to his fans beneath the spotlights and neon glow of Everblue’s famous water drop logo, this is a fellow with the connections to bend things to his whims.

Silas and his younger brother, Castor, are the sons of Richard Blane, the former Executive Officer of the Administration of United Worlds–basically the President of the known worlds. The Blanes are akin to the American Kennedy family in this retro-future series–wealthy, admired, and always in the limelight. After Richard Blane died, Silas expanded the family’s off-world¬†mining business into the mega-corporation known as Everblue through a series of often questionable mergers and acquisitions. Once he owned the patent to the crucial water purification process invented by the former Stonecipher Foundation. Silas tightened his monopoly¬†around the distribution and regulation of humanity’s water supply. He presents himself before the cameras as the loyal steward and protector of water. but many whisper that he’s become a corporate despot not unlike the former Kaezer of the Pruessian¬†Empire. And the comparison may not be far off…as Silas has long been a practitioner of a strange and ancient form of Pruessian¬†shamanism known as the Old Ways.

Castor and Ethlyne Blane are aboard the Ruby for the final hours of the legendary party. And they have a secret plan to expose their brother’s tyrannical methods once and for all. Whether Silas’ occult talents have made him aware of their treason will unfold…as the lift descends to Earth with the party in full swing.


Author, decopunk, dieselpunk, retrofuture, science fiction, speculative fiction, Writer

14 Days of “Ruby Descent” Concept Art: #7-Holographic Party Gown

Day 7, and we’re officially halfway through the¬†challenge! Today brings an example of the wild fashion worn by revelers at the Everblue anniversary party. This little flapper is wearing a holographic frock reflecting the party’s ‘Celebration of Water’ theme. Just one of many fabulous interpretations found at the greatest soiree in the known worlds. Holographic projectors embedded in her accessories create a storm around her, clouds and raindrops swirling at her every move. Each flick of her dainty fan stirs the tempest to roiling fury, lightning and all. It even creates the illusion of puddles at her feet, yet nothing and no one gets wet. Charming, yes?

The party rages aboard the Royal Crown and is ‘unexpectedly’ announced to conclude aboard the Ruby on its descent to Earth. For a decade, Everblue has processed Earth’s tainted water for society, ensuring safe consumption through its patented process. The drawback is that the procedure is tedious and costly, thus water must be rationed to all citizens–and Everblue, as a result, holds incredible power and sway over the well-being of humanity. Whoever controls the water controls the solar system. And those in control won’t give it up easily…


Author, decopunk, dieselpunk, retrofuture, science fiction, speculative fiction, Uncategorized, Writer

14 Days of “Ruby Descent” Concept Art: #6-The Ruby Lift

Day 6 is here, and our sketch for today is the Ruby lift itself. Being the largest of the five gem-themed space elevators owned and operated by the Royal Crown Orbital Plaza and Resort, the Ruby is also the most popular lift. The lifts provide luxurious extensions of the orbital hotel’s famous hospitality for passengers and cargo. Guests can enjoy a more leisurely ride into orbit, complete with full-service restaurants, bars, private cabins, live performances and dancing, marvelous views, and majestic platforms for private events. It’s much more entertaining and comfortable than a cramped, jostled seat on a conventional shuttle.

The Ruby climber vehicle is powered by an ingenious blend of solar and laser generated electricity. Four dense nano-fiber carbon cables provide the track. A floating anchor lies at the base, near the equatorial city of Malawi in Indolasia. At geosynchronous altitude, halfway up the cables, a charging dock ring gives extra power and docking opportunities. Attached to the highest end of the itinerary is a counterweight platform, where the lift connects with shuttles waiting to transport the passengers and payload to their individual destinations. Thrust and leverage are generated by a mix of alternating grav and lev generators, as well as rows of fusion rocket thrusters at key points around its torus-shaped hull. Three guest decks and a maintenance sub-level form the main structure of this innovative and efficient module. The complex systems aboard the lifts (and the hotel as well) are managed by an AI known as ZORA, which projects a holographic interface avatar of itself as a chipper young woman dressed in a snappy red uniform.


Author, decopunk, dieselpunk, retrofuture, science fiction, speculative fiction, Uncategorized, Writer

14 Days of “Ruby Descent” Concept Art: #5-Mr. Vincent

Day 5 reveals one of the three animal characters from “Ruby Descent.” Here we have Mr. Vincent, Walter Marlow’s best friend and the mascot of the Ruby lift. Tyrannical and finicky, he’s a feline connoisseur of character. If Mr. Vincent doesn’t like you, it’s a sign that you’re probably up to no good.

Walter found the cat while a prisoner in one of the Kaezer’s¬†ration camps, during the final days of the War. Mr. Vincent befriended Walter and helped keep spirits up during a very dark time. After the War, Walter kept the cat as a faithful companion.

Mr. Vincent is a gengineered animal, hypoallergenic and possessing a higher cognitive awareness than a ‘real’ cat. At the time of the novel, he’s very old. Well past his intended lifespan. Walter has spent every credit to outfit Mr. Vincent with a state-of-the-art life support robotic exoskeleton, which enhances the cat’s natural agility and keeps his vitals at optimum.

As the novel opens, Mr. Vincent is a demanding yet keen observer, perched near Walter Marlow at the concierge desk, making sure everything runs as it should. When the cat senses trouble, Walter knows it’s best to¬†keep his eyes open. Feline sensibilities have never been wrong before.