Thursday, November 29, 2012

Spinning the plates


For someone who is only a casual writer, and who only writes short stories, I'm amazed how busy I get sometimes. Yesterday I was dealing with four different editors and publications.

As previously noted, I finished "Riders of the Red Shift" and sent it to an anthology that deadlines Dec. 1.

I still have to proof the short story I wrote in collaboration with Edward Morris, "Uncle Gumball Saves the World," which Shelby Vick is planning to publish in his mag "Pulp Spirit".

I had to review and approve some terms for an kickstarter agreement with the anthology, "Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For A New Age" which is being edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt. It is a collection of best of stories from Ray Gun Revival’s multi-year run combined with new stories from headliners who include Mike Resnick, Ann Crispin, Dean Wesley Smith, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Sarah A. Hoyt, Robin Wayne Bailey, Brenda Cooper, Allen Steele, and Seanan McGuire.

It will also include reprints by Milo James Fowler, Michael S. Roberts, Michael Merriam, TM Hunter, Robert Mancebo, Alice M. Roelke, Paula R. Stiles, Jenny Schwartz, A.M. Stickel, Shaun Farrell
and Jennifer Campbell-Hicks.

I'm part of it because it will include a reprint of my story "The Silver Dollar Saucer" that was published by Ray Gun Revival in 2009.

"Raygun Chronicles" will be having a Kickstarter campaign January 14 through February 22 to fund the anthology. It will be published November 2013 by Every Day Publishing with a launch at OryCon in Portland, Oregon.

Finally, I got an email from Bruce Bethke at Stupefying Stories. He said that, as they are preparing the December edition, they can't figure out where to place my story, "The Relic", in the TOC.

He said he came up with a "crazy idea" - since the story has four vignettes (which are widely separated in time) - to space them at the beginning, early middle, late middle, and end of this edition as "The Relic (Part One)" (Part Two, Three, etc.)

"I think it would put a really cool arc on the book as a whole," he wrote.

I told him I love crazy ideas and I loved his idea, go right ahead.

Like I said, I'm amazed how busy I get sometimes.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"Riders of the Red Shift"



Banged out an estimated 3,600 word (I used a typewriter, so the word count is approximate) first draft of a short story Sunday, working towards a Dec. 1 submission deadline. The story is called "Riders of the Red Shift". I started at 2:30 p.m., finished five hours later.

I put my typewriter on a table outdoors, the fall weather was so nice. I moved inside for the last two hours as the light grew dim.

Monday night I took the 12 typewritten pages of the first draft of "Riders of the Red Shift", photographed them, then ran them through OCR software to make a Word file. I also started editing and revisions, I'm maybe one-third of the way through.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Stupefying Stories

Just finished checking out my proof from Editor Bruce Bethke of my story "The Relic" slated to run in the December issue of Stupefying Stories. Looks great. I'm looking forward to seeing it published. This is the first time I sold a story to Stupefying Stories. It looks like, based on the publication date, this will be my 12th story published this year, which is a new record. It will be my 73rd story published since I first broke in, back in 2003.

If 4 Star Stories comes out with its winter issue before the end of the year, "Racing with the Sunset" will be my 13th story of the year.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Comprehensive survey explains all things “Steampunk”


By LOU ANTONELLI
All books are either fiction or non-fiction. When you read fiction, you are faced with a wide array of categories, or “genres”.
Romance – the largest genre – has all types of variations – Christian Romance, Historical Romance, Supernatural Romance, and so forth. In the same way, science fiction and fantasy has its sub-divisions. “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” are both Space Opera – far-ranging stories set in Outer Space. “Total Recall” and “Bladerunner” are Dystopias – visions of a future gone wrong.
One popular sub-category of science fiction and fantasy is Steampunk, stories with a sensibility derived from the 19th Century work of Jules Verne, but written in the present day. It is very popular, for a number of reasons which are intelligently explained and laid forth in a book just published called “Steampunk: An Illustrated History of Fantastical Fiction, Fanciful Film and Other Victorian Visions.”
A month ago I received an email from a publisher based in Minneapolis about the British author Brian J. Robb’s Steampunk book. I used the internet to check out the publisher, Voyageur Press, and saw it is reputable and in fact doesn’t publish fiction, but is a non-fiction publisher.
Robb is a best-selling author who written non-fiction books on science fiction and fantasy topics such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Dr. Who, films adapted from Phillip K. Dick stories, and the horror films of Wes Craven.
I did something I haven’t done in years, and said I would be willing to read and review the book, which arrived two weeks later. I read it this past weekend, and I’m pleased to say I didn’t regret it.
An extra prod to my decision to read and review the book was that I’m a little more knowledgeable than most people about the genre.  As some of you may know, I am a professional member of the Science Fiction Writers of America, and my breakout story sale to Asimov’s Science Fiction in 2005 was a story about a secret rocket development program for the Republic of Texas in 1844. So I know a little about Steampunk.
The touchstone book on the genre, “The Steampunk Bible”, was written by Jeff Vandermeer in 2011. I’ve read it, and when I opened Robb’s “Steampunk” my first question to myself was, what could he add to the field?
Well, in terms of actual information, not much, but in terms of clarity and organization, a great deal. I didn’t realize until I turned the last page that Robb – being a non-fiction writer – had a way of explicating the history and trends of the genre that makes for easy reading.
Vandermeer is an author and editor (I once participated in a writing workshop he led) and his “Bible” really gets into the authors more (it blurbed itself as a “veritable Who’s Who of key players”). Robb has some distance which allows him to look at the subject more objectively. Vandermeer’s book is indeed a “Bible” while Robb’s is more of a history and reference work. I think it is more accessible to people who are not hard-core fans of the genre,
My heart goes with Robb’s book, then, because – strange as it may seem – I have never been a Steampunk fan, or a fan of science fiction and fantasy in general. In the continuum of Reader to Fan to Author, I went straight from Reader to Author, probably because I didn’t need to be a fan and learn how to write – I learned to write as a journalist. I attended my first fiction writers workshop after selling a story to Asimov’s Science Fiction.
Because of what I do know, I can judge whether Robb did his research and knows his stuff. He did and he does. 
In his first chapter,  “The Gilded Age”, he lays out the ancestry of the genre during the Industrial Revolution – an era which used to loom larger in our collective historical consciousness until the present technological age sped off – and how Jules Verne and dime novels for young men implanted so many of the ideas we recognize today.
He also makes an appropriate nod to the fact that the 19th Century Industrial Revolution came at a time when Great Britain’s economy and imperialism were at their peak, which is why so much of Steampunk smacks of the Victorian Era (Queen Victoria reigned from 1837 to 1901).
One of the strengths of Steampunk is that can draw from other popular strains of speculative fiction and fantasy, such as alternate history and fantasy. One of the best examples of Steampunk we’ve seen, the “Wild, Wild West” television franchise, did just that.
Robb does an excellent job of explaining the role of the various influences that went into the formation of Steampunk.
Just as 19th Century science fiction owed its form to Jules Verne, modern Steampunk owes to current form to some crucial authors. Despite not being a fiction editor or author himself, Robb nails the literary nail on the head with the steam-powered nail gun in giving credit to K.W. Jeter, James Blaylock and Tim Powers as having produced seminal work in the late 1970s and the 1980s.
The trio of authors were, strangely enough, all living in Orange, California, at the same and met regularly at the same pub, where their idea all went into the same stew that produced some defining works.
Although they ultimately went off in some different tangents – sometimes more towards fantasy, sometimes more towards steam and clockwork technology – Blaylock (who wrote the foreword to this book), Jeter and Powers all made critical contributions towards the development of the genre, just a few years after a British author, Michael Moorcock (currently a Texas resident) wrote some early defining work.
Moorcock’s stories, starting in 1971 with “The Warlord of the Air”, provided what Robb describes as the “toolbox” of Steampunk images and styles which was opened up by Blaylock, Jeter and Powers. A London native, Moorcock mined the rich vein of the Victorian Era for his alternate histories.
I don’t want to mention the Vandermeer “Bible” too much in this article, but one thing I have to note is that in comparison Robb is British and I’m sure that contributes to the objectivity of his work. Most Steampunk culture is based in the U.S., where it has more of a fantastical following because of its foreignness. There are people in Britain whose great-great-grandparents actually lived that way, when we were still in a frontier culture.
On the other hand, Robb is also very balanced in not hammering us over the head with the Victorian underpinning of the genre.
One of his great strengths in the book is the clear way he explains what Steampunk is – not an easy task. The geo-political background with the British Empire is obvious, but a lot of what defines Steampunk is its “look” and he points to the fact that during the Industrial Revolution people were proud of their craftsmanship and didn’t mind if you saw how things work – as opposed to today’s technology, which for all most people know could be magic boxes filled with pixie dust.
The downside of that is the slam that some people “slap cogs on it and call it Steampunk.” Real Steampunk understands the tech basis of the culture. It its day, steam and mechanical power was cutting edge.
All fiction is read by people in the present living in the modern world. Robb notes that Steampunk is especially amenable to enjoyment by everyone today because it is a genre with a lot of female fans and top notch woman writers
This is not true historically for science fiction; which has been a notoriously male-dominated field. Steampunk is helping to change that. As a newly-emergent field, Steampunk is taking advantage of the gender equality that is creeping into the numbers of both science fiction authors and readers.
That’s because the many strong female characters found in Steampunk today are not an anachronism – there were many groundbreaking women leaders in that era, from women’s rights activist Susan B. Anthony in the U.S. to suffragette leader Emmeline  Pankhurst in Great Britain.
This strain is explored in his chapter “A Young Lady’s Primer”, where he notes authors such as Gail Carriger, Cherie Priest and Ekaterina Sedia “are at the forefront of the current wave of female-driven steampunk.”
I’ve served on literary panels with both Carriger and Priest, and I’ve seen how they follow the two different ways authors live in the Steampunk world. Robb devotes a chapter to role of Steampunk as a lifestyle and fashion scene; in fact, there are “Steampunks” who don’t even know it’s a literary genre. Carriger role plays and if you meet her, you know her persona as an author is a Steampunk character. In her case, it may be useful in that, for personal professional reasons she uses a pen name; since she made up a pen name, she also made up a character. Priest, on the other hand, when I met her, wasn’t wearing a bustle or waving a parasol.
Carriger has the style, feel and meaning of alternate history down, and her books – collectively called the “Parasol Protectorate” – are among the most popular Steampunk offerings.
Women are well-represented in the latest crop of emerging speculative fiction authors, and Steampunk seems to be a very useful “sandbox” for them to play in a myriad of aspects of the genre – not only literary styles, but also fashion, art, music and lifestyles. It’s fun and exciting to watch
I’ve also served on panels with Tim Powers, and through him, I see a strain in Steampunk from an unexpected source – Phillip K. Dick. You wouldn’t think that Dick was an influence on Steampunk – the guy whose movies became “Blade Runner”, “Total Recall” and “Minority Report” – but he was a paranoid character who always questioned the official history and what was the truth.
Powers, Jeter and Blaylock all knew Dick –who was prominent in the California speculative fiction scene in the 1960s and 1970s – and Robb correctly traces Dick’s influence through the California trio on the development of Steampunk. When set in the past, good Steampunk is often “Secret History”, and when set in alternate worlds, it calls into question what is reality. It’s easy to see Dick’s influence once it’s pointed out, as Robb does.
Another reason why Robb’s book is more accessible to the public is that he casts a broad net that still coincides with the public mind. For example, stories set in alternate worlds between WW I and WW II aren’t Steampunk – the term “Dieselpunk” has sometimes been used – but the public feels movies such as “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” are still in the field.  Another term that’s been used is Valvepunk (the British call vacuum tubes ‘valves’), for technology before transistors and microchips.
Robb also acknowledges Steampunk influences in places where its visual style is readily seen by the public. “Doctor Who” is an example from Britain; closer to home we have “Warehouse 13”, the most popular show on the SyFy Channel.
The Steampunk “toolbox” that Moorcock crafted together in the 1970s shows its influence in places such as this. There are also relatively new authors – Britain’s China Mieville is a well-known example – who write fantasy with such a Steampunk “feel” you almost forget it’s fantasy, or perhaps fabulist alternate history.
After reading the book, I see Steampunk influence all over. Have you seen a Heineken beer commercial called “The Switch” where three guts walk into a dingy, drab bar that transforms into a hip social scene as the beer is poured? The way everything unfolds, rolls out, or turns over –with an array of switches, slides, chains and cogs – is pure Steampunk: Visible, obvious, fun and perhaps slightly unreliable – but percussive maintenance can be fun, too.
As a professional non-fiction author who’s written on genre topics before, Robb shows his skill in the way the books flows and holds together logically. It’s a good read. Because visual elements are so important to Steampunk, the book is heavily illustrated; it had 300 color images in its 192 pages.
The only thing I would note by way or warning is that as a Brit, Robb occasionally drops words and terms in British English that Americans might not get, such as “spanner” for wrench.  One reference to “Passchendaele” left me flat-footed; I had to look it up. It was a brutal World War I battle, infamous for its carnage that apparently became a byword for the British.
Overall, I was very impressed, and if you have the slightest interest in the genre, I recommend the book. Being it’s coming out so soon before Christmas, it would make a great present for anyone you know who likes the kind of science fiction and fantasy that harkens back to Jules Verne and/or “The Wild Wild West”.
(“Steampunk: An Illustrated History of Fantastical Fiction, Fanciful Film and Other Victorian Visions” by Brian J. Robb, Foreword by James P. Blaylock. Hardcover, 192 Pages. ISBN: 9780760343760. Publisher: Voyageur Press. Price: $35.00.)

Monday, November 19, 2012

"Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age"


Some information worth republishing, from Bryan Thomas Schmidt's web site, that was posted Sunday:

 --

Here’s the scoop on my latest anthology project:

Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age

Edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt

A collection of best of stories from Ray Gun Revival’s multi-year run combined with new stories from headliners.

Ray Gun Revival is all about space opera and golden age science fiction.  A Kickstarter will be running in January and February 2013 to help fund this project. It will be published November 2013 by Every Day Publishing with a launch at OryCon in Portland, Oregon.

Along with classic Raygun Revival reprints, we’ll have new stories from the following headliners: Dean Wesley Smith, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Sarah A. Hoyt, Robin Wayne Bailey, Brenda Cooper and Allen Steele.

We’ll also have new stories from up and comers Peter J. Wacks and Keanan Brand along with reprints from headliners Mike Resnick and A.C. Crispin, a story which has never appeared in short form before.

Expected Reprint contents are as follows (depending on space):
[Table of Contents Order To Be Determined]

* Mike Resnick – Catastrophe Baker & The Ship Who Purred
* A.C. Crispin – STARBRIDGE: Twlight World
* Milo James Fowler – Captain Quasar & The Insurmountable Barrier of Space Junk
* Michael S. Roberts – Sword of Saladin
* Michael Merriam – Nor To The Strong
* TM Hunter – Ever Dark, An Aston West Tale
* Robert Mancebo – Slavers of Ruhn
* Alice M. Roelke – The Last, Full Measure
* Lou Antonelli – The Silver Dollar Saucer
* Paula R. Stiles – Spider On A Sidewalk (Writer’s Of The Future Winner)
* Jenny Schwartz – Can Giraffes Change Their Spots?
* A.M. Stickel – To The Shores Of Triple, Lee!
* Shaun Farrell – Conversion
* Jennifer Campbell-Hicks – Malfunction

Friday, November 16, 2012

"The Silver Dollar Saucer" flies again


Bryan Thomas Schmidt with Ray Gun Revival contacted me two days ago and said Ray Gun's publisher, Every Day Press, is planning a "Best of" anthology. He asked me to send him a copy of "The Silver Dollar Saucer", which RGR published in January 2009. I quickly did so, and I'm honored to be a part of the project.

Schmidt posted on Facebook today that "My space opera anthology, coming from Every Day Publishing next November, has the following headliners committed, with one more to come: Dean Wesley Smith, AC Ann Crispin, Mike Resnick, Sarah A. Hoyt, Robin Wayne Bailey, Brenda Cooper, and Allen Steele. With stories from Shaun Farrell, Author Lou Antonelli, Michael Merriam and more. Kickstarter and full expected TOC coming soon."

Sounds great.

I always liked RGR, but I write very little space opera, so I never really had a chance to send them much. I appreciated that  they published "The Silver Dollar Saucer". I thought it was a neat little story. A year or so earlier it was actually bought by Amazon singles, but I hadn't read the contract carefully and missed the part that said an author featured on Amazon Singles also had to have a book available on Amazon. I didn't at the time, so the deal fell through.

In 2009, when Fantastic Books published "Fantastic Texas",  I was able to include a reprint of "The Silver Dollar Saucer".

In the process of learning about the anthology, I learned that RGR is going on hiatus. I've cut and pasted a post from the web web site last month. It's a very lucid and explains a lot.

---

OVERLORDS’ LAIR: ONE LAST STORY

These is the message where We inform you that the economy is bad, readership (while strong for us) isn’t quite making the bills, and Decisions Have To Be Made. In short, with tomorrow morning’s story, the experiment known as RGR 2.0 will be complete. To quote Dave Grohl, “Without making a big deal out of it, we don’t have any (stories) after this. This is it, man. Honestly I don’t know when we’re gonna do it again…and this is the perfect place to do it.”

The Overlords started Ray Gun Revival magazine in 2006 in a wave of post-Firefly enthusiasm. We’re still in love with Space Opera and Golden Age Sci-Fi, and there’s still room for stories like these. We’re simply run out of resources to share more of them just right now.

So what’s the story? I wish it was something glamorous like juicy Overlord in-fighting or stepping aside to resume our recurring feud with that hack Ming the Merciless, but the truth is far more pedestrian: we’re losing money. Our gracious publisher, Every Day Publishing,  has been exceedingly supportive but has been taking a loss since we started a year ago February. Grand expansion plans never quite coalesced, and while we did publish some exciting content by some up-and-coming stars and some established heavyweights, the traffic never grew enough to put us in the black and we never quite achieved the critical success which might have changed enough of these components to stay closure. We had grand plans of selling merch and compiling books for Kindle and Nook, however, time and events conspired against us. Lee has been dealing with a life-threatening illness in her family (among other things), and Paul and I have both seen a marked increase in responsibility and required time / effort for our day jobs. Utterly pedestrian, but there it is.

In short, we’re running on empty, and despite bringing in some really solid support in the form of our first Overseer (Keanan Brand), phenomenal big-name interviews and serial novel publication from Bryan Thomas Schmidt, and the services of more slushpile editors (Slushmasters), we couldn’t get enough things going to increase our readership enough to keep paying authors at the rates to which we have become accustomed. While we could have returned to more modest token payments, I wouldn’t do that to our Slushmasters nor our readers.

That’s not for lack of trying. Slushmaster Anton Gully, in particular, really carried this publication for the longest time with the sort of truly devoted service which one wouldn’t normally expect from the wisecracking undead. And when Lee and I were frankly burned out, Paul Glenn and Keanan Brand stepped in to propel us forward.

However, it wasn’t enough, and that’s the bottom line.

So the final story for RGR 2.0 will run tomorrow morning. I’m very proud of Mike Roberts. We’ve had any number of friends who have threatened to ‘send us something,’ and as you may suspect, most of them never panned out. But Mike has chops and grit and this is, I believe, the second story of his which has won a sale. Well done.

We do have some ideas to do before we go radio silent. During this our last week, I thought it would be fun to get as many RGR staff and readers together over in a Google+ RGR hangout to field questions, tell stories, talk about space opera, and hatch new schemes for the future. I’m looking at Friday night as a possibility. Stay tuned here and to the usual social networking sources for further information.

This is where I’d like to thank Jordan Ellinger, Camille Gooderham Campbell, and Steven Smethurst from Every Day Fiction / Every Day Publishing. They believed in us when we were looking for a home, and put up real money and much time to fund and host and operate Ray Gun Revival 2.0. I mean, who can forget the masterful teaser trailer they wrote and produced? I still want to see what happens next!

Thanks to Anton Gully, Steven Wilson, James King, Walter Rosenfeld, and all our other Slushmasters. Steven has been with us since a year ago February serving faithfully as his busy schedule permitted, and Anton practically carried the slushpile for many months. I am convinced there is nothing Anton does not know (‘nothing he does not know? I feel there’s a double-negative there…).  Anton’s knowledge of the genre is encyclopedic, his love for story is evident, and his wry sense of humor is unmatched. If you ever need a reader – editor, you can’t do better than Steve or Anton.

Special thanks to Keanan Brand for stepping in and acting as a 4th voice of reason when we needed help corresponding with our authors, and to James King for 11th hour Slushmastering. It’s been a real delight to work with both of them.

So let’s talk about what’s happening. RGR won’t be publishing new stories for the foreseeable future, however, that doesn’t mean our stories are going away. Our publisher has expressed interest in keeping the site up and continue host the stories. This is good news and means readers will continue to be able to find and explore and enjoy the many great stories published during the RGR 2.0 tenure.

Technically, the Overlords and Ray Gun Revival are going on hiatus — we’re not going away forever, we’re just going to take a break and watch the digital publishing revolution take shape. For now, we are going to let Real Life™ develop a little. We’ll still be available via the usual social networking options. While we’re on hiatus, if you have any ideas for RGR 3.0, please hatch them up good and proper. At this time, we do intend to return in a year or three, and we want to take it up a notch when we do and take a run at the big time. Maybe we can form a kickstarter to fund the first year of pro-rate stories and come out of the gate with new content and paid cover art for Amazon / B&N sales. (I’m not actually allergic to making money for the publication, I’m just not very practiced at it.)

So that’s it for now. Again, many thanks to Jordan and Camille and EDF – they have been staunch supporters and great peers and I recommend them without reservation. If you have any questions we can answer, feel free to contact us on our Facebook page or get us at usual e-mail address, or privately at Johne Cook  / L. S. King / Paul Christian Glenn.

Finally, we’re hatching an idea to take RGR 2.0 out with a literal bang with a Google+ hangout later this week – more on that as plans coalesce. So for now, one last mwahahahaha!

Thanks seems so thin a sentiment to describe the deep and abiding appreciation we feel for you all and our readers, but there it is. Thanks, from the bottom of our dark and twisted genre-loving hearts.

The Ray Gun Revival Overlords,
Johne Cook / L. S. King / Paul Christian Glenn

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fantastical/absurdist issue of Sein und Werden

More on the next issue of Sein und Werden (which, if you don't know any Deutsch, is German for "being and becoming"; Guest editor Rhys Hughes it will feature fantastical/absurdist 'comedies' of 1000 words or less. and should be published early in January.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Three editors

I was contacted by three different editors yesterday. The first says his ezine is coming out with a "Best of" anthology and said a story they published in January 2009 is being considered, so I sent him a copy of the story as he requested.

David Gray with 4 Star Stories says my short story "Racing with the Sunset" will be published in the winter issue, which should come out in December. If it does, it will be my 12th story published in 2012 - the most ever in a single year for me.

Rhys Hughes, who is guest editing the winter issue of Sein und Werden, says they plan an extended version of the issue to be created as a free ebook, and he asked if I minded being also included in the ebook as well as the print edition. Of course, I have no objections, I'm honored.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The news is, there is no news

Nothing doing on the fiction front since last Tuesday - which was election day. I was up until 3 a.m. Wednesday morning because of all the extra work election coverage entailed. Hometown and home county went heavily Republican, but it wasn't a party purge - one local Democratic county commissioner won re-election.

Got a couple of stories back from magazine, but I think I still have maybe eight out there. I still need to write some fresh ones, though, because off the ones that have been published this year and have already been accepted.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

"Steampunk" the book


"STEAMPUNK: An Illustrated History of Fantastical Fiction, Fanciful Film and Other Victorian Visions by Brian J. Robb | Published November 17 by Voyageur Press"

I received a review copy of this book at my office yesterday. Working at a newspaper as I do, I get many opportunities to review books, but I turn almost all of them down because:

1. It's a POD and probably not very good.

2. I'm not qualified to judge the subject.

3. I don't have time.

4. I'm just not interested.

BUT when I received a news release about this book, my ears pricked up. Here is a subject I'm interested in, and I'm qualified to render an opinion on. So I said sure, send the book along.

It looks very impressive, at first glance. Obviously I'm not going to be able to start reading it today - being Election Day an all that - but I should be able to schedule it for the paper the weekend of its official release.

Meanwhile, here is the publisher's own news release:

---

STEAMPUNK is simultaneously a literary movement, ultra-hip subculture and burgeoning cottage industry and has become the most influential new genre to emerge from the late 20th century. It influences the look and aesthetic in multiple media and genres, be it movies, literature and music, from rock to dance to alternative music . Steampunk’s influence is fast-growing, alive in fantasy novels, films, arts and crafts, fashion, comic books, music, computer games, even architecture.

STEAMPUNK: An Illustrated History of Fantastical Fiction, Fanciful Film and Other Victorian Visions is the definitive book on the writers, film-makers, artisans and aesthetes who created the extraordinary genre. The book is spectacularly illustrated and international in scope, telling the comprehensive history of the movement, from its melding of Victorian, Edwardian and science-fiction influences to Lady Gaga and Alexander McQueen incorporating Steampunk into their art.

The author and contributors represent a ‘who’s who’ of the Steampunk, Victorians, Edwardians and science fiction genres the history of Steampunk is explored in-depth. Starting with its roots in literature to its ongoing evolution involving visual media and informing craft and DIY traditions, author Brian J. Robb, along with James P. Blaylock, Jonathan Clements (among others) not only chart Steampunk’s history but also its influence on culture today and its future.

STEAMPUNK: An Illustrated History of Fantastical Fiction, Fanciful Film and Other Victorian Visions is the first large, illustrated history-in a book, fittingly stylish in its design, package, and artwork. With 192 pages and 300 color images, the book will be a permanent part of any fans/lovers/creators of the genre.

About the Authors and Contributors:

Brian J. Robb is a New York Times/Sunday Times best-selling author. Among his works are Timeless Adventures: How Doctor Who Conquered TV, a critical and cultural history of the TV series (Kamera, 2009), A Brief History of Star Trek and A Brief History of Star Wars. He has also written Silent Cinema and Counterfeit Worlds: Philip K. Dick on Film.(Titan, 2005), and Screams and Nightmares: The Films of Wes Craven.

James Blaylock is one of the originators of Steampunk science fiction. He is the author of The Narbondo Series, including The Digging Leviathan, Homunculus, Lord Kelvin’s Machine, The Adventures of Langdon St. Ives, The Ebb Tide, The Affair of the Chalk Cliffs, Zeuglodon, and The Aylesford Skull.

Jonathan Clements is the author of several works on eminent Victorians and Edwardians, including Darwin’s Notebook; Mannerheim: President, Soldier, Spy; and Admiral Togo: Nelson of the East. He also wrote Red Devils, the first of the Space: 1889 audio plays for Noise Monster Productions, and numerous Doctor Who audio adventures.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Some creds for Daily Science Fiction

After the world science fiction convention is held, the actual tally of nominations is released. I read that in the Best Best Semiprozine category - with 362 ballots cast -  Daily Science Fiction  got 5.25% of the nominations with 19 votes. That ranked it 12th (the cutoff for the actual ballot is the top five). The cutoff was at 44 nominations. I expect it will do better next year. I am a member of Lone Star Con and I will certainly be voting for them.

In a kind of related observation, on the SFWA web site, on the forum where stories are posted for embers to read, my two Daily Science Fiction stories - "Great White Ship" and "Double Exposure" - rank 8th and 12, respectively, in most views.

Latest reviews

In a spare, swift, convincing narrative style, conveying in a deadpan voice a wide array of sometimes Paranoid suppositions about the world, Antonelli juxtaposes realities with very considerable skill, creating a variety of Alternate Worlds, some of them somewhat resembling the constructions of Howard Waldrop, and making some sharp points about American history, race relations, dreams, and occasional nightmares in which the twentieth century goes wrong. [JC]

---From the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

A better path develops for a distraught man in “Double Exposure” by Lou Antonelli (debut 6/11 and reviewed by Frank D). Jake is about to end it all. He has been trying to keep his high maintenance wife happy for decades and has needed to embezzle to satisfy her spending habits. Now, on the verge of indictment and abandoned by his spouse, he buys a gun. Before he pulls the trigger, he spies a Kodak one-day photo hut. Curious, he pulls up to the window. They are holding pictures of him and his last girlfriend from 30 years before. The package is a lot thicker than it should be.

Double Exposure” is listed as an Alternative History story but I would classify it as a Magical Realism tale. It is set as a second chance tale, a look into a life that should have been. The author is inspired by his memories of the old photo huts (I remember them) and of their disappearance. A cool idea (photos of another life), one that I could imagine would make for a great anthology.

- Frank Dutkiewicz, Diabolical Plots

Great White Ship”: A traveler stuck waiting for a flight strikes up a conversation with an old airline employee. The Old Timer tells him a story of a Great White Airship that arrives from a most unusual destination. The story of a craft from an alternate reality and how it got there is only the precursor to the final act.

This is one of my favorite stories from this site. I have a great passion for lighter-than-air craft and their potential as a future means of transport, which opens the story. The author uses this speculation to launch into an engaging tale. As fascinating as the main story line is, the alternate history premise that accompanies it is just as worthwhile. This story was well written and very well thought out. It is well worth the read.

Recommended.

- James Hanzelka, Diabolical Plots

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