Monday, April 16, 2012


Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that takes many Victorian/Industrial Age technologies, and then thrusts it into a futuristic world. In a steampunk world, there might be flying machines, computers, and ray guns - but built from copper, wood, brass, and using steam as a power source. It's a unique blend of the future and the present that makes steampunk unique.

The Nautilus is the amazing submarine created by Captain Nemo of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and The Mysterious Island. Jules Verne was incredibly creative in imagining this underwater craft, and is a prime example of steampunk technology becoming somewhat prophetic.

Verne was one of my first introductions to the world of steampunk literature when I was a kid. And I love the idea of a steampunk submarine, that I had to include one in my forthcoming novel, Dragonfly Warrior.

Here are some specifications of this marvel, based on Verne's books:

1) The Nautilus measures 70 meters long, and 8 meters wide. It's tapered on both ends (like a cigar)
The Gallery

2) Its powered by sodium - mercury batteries, and the submarine gathered the sodium straight from the seawater.

3) The cabin behind Captain Nemo's room was called the salon. It contained an organ, a rare art collection, a fountain, and two large oblong windows

4) The library, directly behind the salon, contained 12,000 books

5) It comes up for air like a whale, and its dive time is about 5 days

The library
6) The Nautilus uses a four blades propeller located at the stern (rear) of the ship

7) The dinghy is a kind of skiff, or small boat that could be launched from the Nautilus to be used as an escape boat

8) The Nautilus didn't shoot torpedoes from tubes, but it did have a power ramming prow


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

No torpedoes? Need to go back and read the books again.

Vero said...

Definitely better than a submarine. It's got a library in it, for heaven's sake! Count me in, I want aboard.

Pk Hrezo said...

More great pics! And yep, Verne was just a flat out amazing guy. Wow, what an imagination!!

Tiyana, aka 'Yoyo' said...

Now that is a submarine.

Wouldn't it be awesome if they actually built 'em like that? Made a museum out of it or something...

Kelly Barnes said...

I'll be in the salon. Call me if the calamari attacks. I'm feeling a bit peckish.

Jay Noel said...

Alex: There is some dispute as to the nature the Nautilus used it's sharp prow. Did it puncture the enemy vessel, then pull out? Or did it just cut straight through and through since it was tapered at both ends?

Vero: I know. I'd never leave such a library!

PK: Yeah. It is amazing how imaginative he and HG Wells were...yet the inventions weren't that far off reality to be.

Tiyana: I know. I think morale in those subs would be higher.

Kelly: Don't forget about the Octobot!

Christine Rains said...

Very cool. I didn't know the Nautilus was powered by sodium. How clever!

The Golden Eagle said...

I loved reading this book! Jules Verne wrote some amazing stories.

The Golden Eagle
The Eagle's Aerial Perspective

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

Jules Verne is one of the sci-fi grand daddy's. Boy did he ever have an imagination. I loved it in Tron: Legacy when Olivia Wilde's character asks Sam, "Do you know Jules Verne?" He replies, "Yeah, of course." And she says, "What's he like?"

Emily R. King said...

Jules Verne blows my mind. It's neat that you've figured out a way to incorporate his genius into your own. Fascinating stuff!

Cynthia said...

Thanks for the guided tour of the Nautilus. I wonder if there'd ever be underwater vacation "cruises" in vehicles such as this.

M Pax said...

The nautilus is a fine ship. Looks cozy. Look forward to reading Dragonfly Warrior and finding out what you have us discover under the sea.

Jay Noel said...

Christine: I know...and from the ocean!

Eagle: It's one of those books I'd like to reread.

Michael: That is a great line! Forgot about that one.

Emily: I decided to just go and be obvious about some of the authors that have inspired me. Why hide it?
Cynthia: You're welcome! I couldn't stay underwater like that for very long. I'd go crazy.

Mary: Great. Still working on revisions before sending it to the publisher.

Lydia Kang said...

IT's not as big as I thought it was. Then again, my vision was kind of ruined by the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie. Cool N post though!

Jenny S. Morris said...

This is awesome. I have my girl on a submarine in my WIP, but I haven't figure out the logistics of it. I will steer clear of any of these details. ;0) But this pics are really cool.

Kelley Lynn said...

The only one I've ever 'seen' was in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Thanks for laying all this out for us!

Nick Wilford said...

Truly legendary. I need to read these - can't believe I haven't.

Brinda said...

I love steampunk! I have a YA steampunk WIP. Last month, I read Ganymede by Cherie Priest. There is an abandoned submarine as part of the quest. I haven't read any Jules Verne in a long time.

Jay Noel said...

Lydia: I had high hopes for that movie, but they were dashed about 15 minutes in.

Jenny: I did research on how submarines - particularly speed and how they submerge. I stayed pretty clear of actual mechanics beyond that.

Kelley: Yeah, that made the Nautilus gigantic in that movie.

Nick: I don't think teachers and librarians are suggesting these classics.

Brinda: Very cool! I read the first book in her series, Boneshaker. It was pretty good. Zombies and steampunk made for a great story.

farawayeyes said...

Love the Nautilus. The 'old' 20,000 Leagues with Kirk Douglas is still a great flic.

Just so you know...trying to recover from the flu, so I've been feeding the DVD player the last few days. Yesterday I watched 'Stardust'. Thanks for the reminder.

Ashley Nixon said...

My teacher read 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to us in 3rd grade. I can't remember what I thought of it, but I don't think I liked it. lol. On the other hand, I love steampunk!! My friends wedding is themed steampunk. That submarine is awesome!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jay, I'm visiting from the A-Z Challenge, and I'm also doing a Steampunk theme, great minds think alike! :)

Anonymous said...

The Nautilus was an amazing machine. The book was great and the movie very good. I should re-read it as its such a classic.

Ciara said...

I LOVE that library. I could live in there.

Rusty Webb said...

It's a fine ship. It is quite impressive given when it was conceived. I think there was a civil war era submarine or two, but I seem to recall that it was more akin to a torture device than a real vessel.

Jay Noel said...

faraway: I'm still sick with the flu as well.

Ashley: 3rd grade? I don't blame you at all! Steampunk wedding? Can I come!

AW: I will check it out. Welcome!

Stephen: I know, me too. It's been awhile for me.

Ciara: The library is pretty amazing. Nemo was a renaissance man.

Rusty: Verne must have really done tons of scientific research, as the Nautilus has so much more going on inside of it than I wrote about here. And yeah, those Civil War subs were horrible. Some were even powered by peddling.

Michael Ignacio said...

In our previous conversations, you mentioned that your novel is an asian steam punk novel. Have you heard of other novels that use this same set of themes, or do you see yourself as a trail blazer and fore runner for something that could become very big? Also, if you had your own Nautilus, what would you call it? :) I think i would call mine Alice. That way, when people on opposite ships would laugh at me, I would ravage their vessels and word would spread of the dreadful Alice! :) Not that I think Alice is a dreadful name. I find it very calming.

DL Hammons said...

20,000 leagues is one of my favorite all-time books! Loved this post! :)

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