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Science in the Age of Decadence

When nineteenth century scientists Ivan Borganov and Howard Straw travelled to the far away land of the United States to investigate phantom airship sightings in California, they never thought they would uncover a centuries-old invasion plot by a race of intelligent beings from another part of the universe...

...they were most surprised!

Old-fashioned clothing as shown in Gangs of New York



November 1896 to April 1897 - California airship wave goes on during this time.

March 1909 to January 1910 - England's east cost, Wales, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, U.S.

January 1913 to November 1914 - Airship wave from England to Wales, Russia, Poland, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Norway.


Science in the Age of Decadence, or SitAoD, is a series of stories in the Victorian Science Fiction genre by Joel D'amour and Matthew Pacey. The Victorian Era technically consists of the years 1837 to 1901, but the stories usually take place between the American Civil War (1861–1865) and 1912, the last year of the turn-of-the-century phantom airship waves.

The aim of the series is to recreate the atmosphere of fiction (particularly science and adventure fiction) from (or relating to) the Victorian era and the turn of the century and/or pulp adventure, but to keep the science as realistic as possible, given current scientific knowledge. SitAoD is meant to please those who enjoy the works of authors such as Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, Rudyard Kipling, H. Rider Haggard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, and others.

Simply put, the main characters of this story, Doctor Howard Straw and Doctor Ivan Borganov, are two gentlemanly professional scientists and engineers (or reverse engineers) who have the money to go on expeditions, experience all the culture of the time, and go where their professional or personal interests take them. They build fanciful inventions based on little-known true inventions or science fiction inventions of the time. They investigate strange happenings such as phantom airship sightings, paranormal occurrences, and discoveries of unknown cultures or strange ruins. As extreme devotees of science, they try to know as much as possible about all scientific fields, and act as scientific consultants to others in many situations. They obtain income through written works, engineering, consulting, etc., but they are driven by their insatiable curiosity.

The SitAoD universe does not currently contain any supernatural or magical elements. However, if added in the future, they will most likely be based on true ghost stories or follow the template laid down by H. P. Lovecraft, the Indiana Jones novels, etc., and the main characters would be very sceptical of the assertion that there are events unexplainable by science.

The stories will contain several sections showcasing the popular culture of the time. For example, a planned scene in the second story has Borganov and Straw watching the 50-second 1895 Louis Lumière film "La charcuterie mécanique," sometimes called the first science fiction film (Phil Hardy's The Overlook Film Encyclopedia: Science Fiction).

Joel and Matt plan produce three graphic novels and/or films each based on one of the phantom airship waves, with additional graphic novels taking place between the waves or showing additional stories.

The main story is separated into three waves:

There could be a later instalment which could take place in Norway during the fall of 1914 during which there were many 'airship' sightings (or during the 1920s when sporadic sightings of UFOs occurred, though perhaps this would be taking things a bit too far.

References to look up:

Bullard, Thomas E. 1982. The airship file. A collection of texts concerning phantom airships and other UFOs, gathered from newspapers and periodicals mostly during the hundred years prior to Kenneth Arnold.

Wallace .O. Chariton. The Great Texas Airship Mystery

The Great Airship Mystery: A UFO of the 1890s by Daniel Cohen (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1981)

Gross, Loren E.. The UFO wave of 1896.

Allyn, Madge Brosius. 1971. The Flying Cucumber of 1903. Fate. 23(3): 45-47.

Brunt, Tony. 1967. The New Zealand UFO wave of 1909,

The Phantom Airship of 1913", article by Jerome Clark and Lucius Farish, in Saga's UFO Report, USA, Volume 1, #6, page 36, Summer 1974.

Welsch, Roger L. 1979. "This Mysterious Light Called an Airship," Nebraska "Saucer" Sightings. Nebraska History 60(1): 92-113.

Neeley, Robert G. Jr.. 1979. 1897: The Airship in Illinois. Journal of UFO Studies 1(1): 49-69.

Clark, Jerome. 1966. The Strange Case of the 1897 Airship. Flying Saucer Review 12(4): 10-17.

Casey's Infantry Tactics

J. Allen Hynek association for ufo research

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