Art of Keith Thompson

The pupal stage in the developmental cycle of a siren, the pit sylph often inhabits old wells and mine shafts. Luring victims with a highly adaptable range of pheromones, the Pit Sylph will pull people into a sudden, sheer fall down into the water table below, often completely pulverizing the bones of the victim. While the pit sylph will eat most of her catches, she is required by the Imperial Piscines to regularly pay a pole tax of seven live men and seven live women a cycle. While not officially allied with the Imperial Piscines, sirens often work closely with them for posterity’s sake despite their occasional forays of involvement with the Vodyanoi (from whom they’ve collectively acquired a taste for horse meat.)
Its sides were planked with pine, its hollowness stuffed with iron bowels. The siege had ended and an empty gesture lay in its blasted place. Bring it in! Bring it in the walls! Celebrate first, and tonight we may finally sleep like the dead.
The civilised world lies on its knees, a sickness wracking its body. The affliction causes a necrotising of tissues so perfectly uniform in distribution that victims take on the appearance of corpses long before death occurs due to organ failure or secondary infections. The crumbling remnants of academia swing from fatalistic resignation to maddened optimism in their addressment of what could be done to fight the sickness. The vast numbers of doctors attempting to stem the tide of infection, invariably falling victim to the malady they treat, have begun to form fanatical extermination squads whose policies are condoned by authority. A notion forms, twisting the tenets of the Hippocratic oath to say that when the oath taker is subject to the half-death of infection they are obliged to spend their lasting days attempting to destroy the source of the contagion. The paramilitary forces formed from the infected medical practicioners find themselves deigned to mete out persecution to the sufferers they were formally treating. Equipped with the leftovers of dissolved military forces, the Doctors' Militia are organised to burn all infected areas and sufferers; a campaign which stalks across blasted lands, mirroring the wave of infection in an addled attempt at backtracking all the way to some imaginary source.
Blood flooded the dusty foreign streets and beaded upon the sword of the crusading knight. As years passed the knight's armour grew crisscrossed and his face wizened, leaving him satiated to return to civilized lands. Turning home he saw a fellow countryman fallen on hard times, swaddled in rags. Hefting him up onto the back of his horse, the knight told him "Come, we return to the warmth of our own hearths." The thin man stared, saying nothing as a weakened flicker of joy seemed to wash across his gaunt face. The two rode across the continent, backtracking the knight's scorched and blasted path.
Son of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and heir to the Hapsburg throne, standing in front of a palace guard war machine. Illustration from Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld.
The Clanker Powers: Germany is a massive military machine with weapons aimed outwards to all surrounding countries. It points threateningly at Britain, not so much as a sign of direct aggression, but more as an indicator that it was now Germany’s turn to start a grand global Empire to challenge the world’s current one. Austria Hungary is an aggressive armoured giant, teetering on shoddy foundations. It is also the primary aggressor in a land grab against Serbia, with two bayonets piercing the border. The Ottoman empire is a teetering automaton, collapsing under the weight of a paranoid and ungainly spying network that gazes at Europe through many lenses and spy glasses. Istanbul is labeled Constantinople following the period's English naming conventions. The Swiss watch ticks away the time, comfortable to wait it all out. The Darwinist Powers: Britain is an militaristic lion with a Roman Imperial italic-type helmet. It sits upon a mound of riches gathered from its Empire. France’s elephant beast (wearing the French kepi they started the war with before adapting their firefighter helmets) is influenced by the Elephantine Collossus built for the Universal Exhibition of 1889 in Paris (later it ended up going to the Moulin Rouge.) Russia is a huge imperialist bear, rotting and filled with maggots. Serbia’s imagery is an indicator of the huge amounts of civilian deaths and suffering they’ll find themselves subject to. Norway and Sweden are both Scandinavian trolls in the style of John Bauer, an inspirational illustrator from the era who produced a lot of phenomenal work during the war. Portugal is a parrot for the Entente trying to goad a slumbering Spain into the war. Ireland looks askance to Britain and brandishes a shillelagh. An indicator of their very rough relationship at the time, and of their upcoming involvement with the Central powers. Italy is a clutch of snakes with intents on the Central powers despite existing agreements. A foreshadowing of their arrangements at the secret 1915 Treaty of London where they were promised land in exchange for involvement. It was heavily influenced by Italian Prime Minister, Antonio Salandra’s open policy of serving Italy’s "divine self-interest." Illustration from Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld.
IMPERIAL GERMAN PROPAGANDA POSTER Illustration from Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld.. TESLA'S DEATHRAY Illustration from Goliath by Scott Westerfeld.. THE FOUR HORSEMEN
And I saw when the uniformed man opened one of the files, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four monitors saying "Come and see." I saw, and behold on the screen was a white horse: and he that sat on him had a rifle; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. And when he had opened the second file, I heard the second monitor say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great missile. And when he had opened the third file, I heard the third monitor say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four screens say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of rice for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the coal. And when he had opened the fourth file, I heard the voice of the fourth monitor say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and nuclear fire followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with bullet, and with hunger, and with death, and with the infernal machines of man.
more wonderful artworks you can find on his website
Art of Keith Thompson
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