As I work on the second book (I’ll try not to drop too many spoilers), I found myself thinking about time craft or timeships. Not the ubiquitous blue police box type but something more steampunk, with the Vernian (is that even a word?) extravagance of the Nautilus from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
Timeships and time machines
The challenge with timeships in my story world has to be that as an object in their own right they have a fixed path through history, they cannot (as members of the Oblivion Order can) move outside of their own timelines. It would require them to have some kind of technology that would bring us into the realms of a time machine, and I think that has been done to death.
It was frustrating to have to shelve the idea of creating such beautiful craft until I started working on the Maelstrom (the space beyond the time continuum that is not bound by the laws of linear time – a great plot device for breaking all of your own rules!), and realised that this would be the perfect point to develop the ship concept. In fact, I could reverse the whole idea of a Time machine, as in a timeless environment it could be the only place where the laws of time still persisted.
The Maelstrom is a chaotic system of forgotten times, objects and places — a vast junkyard of lost things and therefore a perfect environment for an engineer with a lot of time on their hands (literally) to create the most unusual and unique machine. Built from reclaimed salvage, the timeship would have to be a Heath-Robinson-like design that would resemble a cross between a submarine and airship — all brass and valves, with random flourishes of the baroque.
Of course, the timeship would have to have some kind of internal gravity field, one that enforces a normal state of time within its walls. I like to borrow from the real world for this kind of detail — so the Reissner–Nordström field generator was born, and with it the basic concept for the ship was complete (the quantum science behind this is a subject from a whole other article and one that is not something I intend to let get in the way of a good story).
So now I have my ship — I just need a crew and some backstories of there adventures, but that would be too big a spoiler to go into now… guess you’ll have to wait and find out.