I’ve harboured a secret desire to be a zeppelin pilot for a good while now. I’m not the only one, I’m sure, considering the way zeppelins have wormed their way into the public imagination. Science fiction and fantasy are full of zeppelins. Find an alternate history scenario, and you’re likely to find a zeppelin hovering in the air somewhere. There’s something undeniably elegant about a rigid airship that an airplane just doesn’t have, not just stateliness, but style. Kenneth Oppel’s Airborn captured that appeal in a delightful way.
Meanwhile, in the Canadian north it seems collective dreams of zeppelin-filled skies might come true. Thanks to global warming, the ice roads are becoming less and less a reliable way to supply remote northern communities, so the obvious solution is to build a few zeppelins, right? Actually, by 2014 Canada might actually have a zeppelin fleet crossing the ice-filled tundra. I could hardly suppress my squeal of excitement the first time I heard about this idea. Screw plans for graduate studies in history, once they open up training for zeppelin pilots, I’m signing up. I just hope no one notices when a zeppelin goes missing from the fleet, and then a mysterious airship with a skull-and-crossbones painted on the rear fin starts hovering (weighty with menace, mind you) over Magadan.