A Collection of Wonderful, Whimsical Flying Machines

by Josiah Bancroft


I recently received this collection of dirigible diagrams from one Master Weston Early, age 11. I was so impressed by the ingenuity and diversity of his imaginary fleet that I could not help but share it with you.

I appreciate the attention Master Early has given to the manner and means of flight. Fantastical engineering requires a special sort of creative thinking, one which embraces physical laws while imagining fantastical exceptions. The flourishes here are also excellent; not only do I believe these machines are capable of flight, I'm sure they'd be aesthetically pleasing to sail upon. And one should not discount the military might of these crafts. Well placed batteries of ten and twenty pound guns await any foes who might be foolish enough to challenge them.

I suspect that Master Early has a long career ahead of him as a designer of dirigibles. We'd all do well to keep one eye on the sky for his creations.


The Winners of the Doodle a Dirigible Contest

by Josiah Bancroft


Before I announce the winners of the contest, I would first like to thank everyone who entered for their incredible artistic efforts. Your doodles brightened my day! The Grand Prize and Runner Up winners were chosen using a random number generator. I selected the third winner myself. I'd ask all the winners to please email me their address so that I can send the prizes on their merry way.

The Grand Prize winner of my Doodle a Dirigible Contest is Charlie Hopkins, who doodled The Disco.

Congratulations Charlie! You will receive an original drawing of the Stone Cloud in addition to both book cover posters.

The Runner Up, who will receive a poster of their choosing, is Khiem, who submitted the Cetcaelum. Well done, Khiem! 

It was difficult to choose a favorite entry because there were so many worthy airships. In the end, I chose the entry that I personally found the most evocative. Congratulations Marc Rasp for your splendid craft, the Postale. And thank you again to all who took a moment to share their vision of ships that never were and never flew except upon a paper sky.


Doodle a Dirigible, Win Some Art!

by Josiah Bancroft


It's time for a contest, my friends! This time, I'm giving away an original, signed drawing of the Stone Cloud and posters of the book covers (10"x13"). The winner will receive the original art in addition to both posters. A runner-up will receive the poster of their choosing.

To enter, all you have to do is DOODLE A DIRIGIBLE. Draw an airship and email it to me at thebooksofbabel@gmail.com, or Tweet it to @thebooksofbabel, or upload it to my Facebook page. The winner and runner-up will be drawn at random, so don't fret if you're not an artist! I will also send a poster to whoever's drawing is my favorite. So, you have three chances to win. Not bad for a doodle!

Anyone can enter, but only one entry per person, please.

CONTEST EXTENDED: Several of you have asked for a little more time to create your art, so I have extended the deadline for entries to March 15th (Noon, GMT).

"The HMS SENDMETHEPRIZENOWDAMMIT" by Mark Lawrence

"The HMS SENDMETHEPRIZENOWDAMMIT" by Mark Lawrence

"The Gallant Wind" by Nick Welsh

"The Gallant Wind" by Nick Welsh

"The United Free States Airship Las Vegas" by Phil Norris

"The United Free States Airship Las Vegas" by Phil Norris

"The Observer" by Kristel

"The Observer" by Kristel

"The SS Probable-Brick" by Kristen

"The SS Probable-Brick" by Kristen

"The Cetcaelum" by Khiem

"The Cetcaelum" by Khiem

"Valiant Skyguard by Lucy

"Valiant Skyguard by Lucy

"The Postale"by Marc Rasp

"The Postale"by Marc Rasp

"The Crayonemnon" by J.P. Ashman

"The Crayonemnon" by J.P. Ashman

"The Disco" by Charlie Hopkins

"The Disco" by Charlie Hopkins

"The Indefatigable Gambler " by James Ode (and friends!)

"The Indefatigable Gambler " by James Ode (and friends!)

"The Ark Kent" by Mia

"The Ark Kent" by Mia

"The RNZ Nona" by Fiona Sambrook

"The RNZ Nona" by Fiona Sambrook

"The SS How Does It Even Fly" by Paul Shepherd

"The SS How Does It Even Fly" by Paul Shepherd

"The HMS Led Hed" by Jonathan Dearman

"The HMS Led Hed" by Jonathan Dearman

"The Ascendant Valkyr" by Evan Kelly

"The Ascendant Valkyr" by Evan Kelly

"The Royal Airship Pericles" by Eamonn Wilson

"The Royal Airship Pericles" by Eamonn Wilson

"The Noontime" by Leo Traub

"The Noontime" by Leo Traub

"The SS MS Painted Falcon" by Shvaugn

"The SS MS Painted Falcon" by Shvaugn

"Ablearm's Hammer" by Brian Decker

"Ablearm's Hammer" by Brian Decker

"The SS Target Practice" by Mike (OfThePalace)

"The SS Target Practice" by Mike (OfThePalace)


The Hardcover of Senlin Ascends is Out

by Josiah Bancroft


After many months of searching for the right printer, I'm happy to announce that the hardback of Senlin Ascends is now available! You can purchase it from Amazon, have your local bookstore order it, or buy a signed copy directly from me (which will take a little longer because I have to order the books and then ship them out again). 

If you'd like a signed copy, please message me or email me at thebooksofbabel@gmail.com so I can get a sense of how many books to order. 

Happy New Year, everyone!


Time for Another Contest!

by Josiah Bancroft


Last time I asked you to help me name a dandy. (I got so many excellent responses. I'm never in danger of running out of foppish monikers again!) This time, I need your help naming an airship. Two winners will receive a signed copy of Arm of the Sphinx.

Christening airships has turned out to be one of the funnest parts of writing the series. The Stone Cloud, the Ararat, and the State of Art are some of the names I came up with. Now it's your turn! To enter the contest, just put your ship name in the comments below.

The contest closes this Friday at noon (GMT). I'll select two winners. I'll choose my favorite name, which will be included in the next book in the series, and I'll randomly draw a second winner from a hat. That gives you two chances to win!

One entry per person. There is no restriction on region. If you can receive post where you are, I will mail a book to you! Good luck!


Contest: Name a Dandy, Win a Book

by Josiah Bancroft


Naming characters is one of the great pleasures of writing fiction. It's so much fun, in fact, that I want to give you a chance to join in. What would you name a dandy, a fop, a man about town? 

This to-be-named character is the sort of person whose wardrobe is fuller than his library, whose snuff box is always empty (might he have some of yours?), and whose version of "wit" relies upon the liberal application of winks and brandy. In short, he is an irritating, pompous, garrulous nitwit who plagues parties and chases ladies. (For further inspiration, refer to Lord Percy Percy of Blackadder fame.)

How this is going to work:

1. There are two ways to enter. You can Tweet your best name for a dandy to me @thebooksofbabel, #nameadandy, or you can post a comment below. Names should include a first and a surname; titles are optional.

2. The contest will close at noon (GMT) on Monday, September 26th.

3. There will be two winners. One will be selected at random, via a process that will likely involve slips of paper and a hat. The other winner will be selected by me for inclusion in the next book. That's right: you have a chance to name a character in the next installation of <i>the Books of Babel!</i> I will choose the winning name based on the entirely subjective criteria of personal preference. (I don't want to end up with a character named Foppy McFopperface.) By entering, you are agreeing to the possibility of having your entry appear in my books.

4. Winners will receive a signed copy of Senlin Ascends. (I'm not restricting the contest by region. Anyone, anywhere may enter. That said, if you reside on the other side of our fair planet, it may take a little while for the book to reach you!) Winners will be announced on Tuesday, September 27th.

5. One entry per person.

That's it! Help me spread the word!