Islam and Science Fiction has been a resource in the SFF community for 10 years, and it’s with great pleasure that I got in touch with its founding editor, Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad. Since 2005, Islam and Science Fiction‘s goal has been to gather depictions of Islam and Islamic themes in science fiction and spotlight science fiction written by Muslims. Muhammad has even co-edited an anthology about the topic, A Mosque Among the Stars,with Ahmed A. Khan. In our interview we talk about the state of Islam in sci-fi, its global reach in speculative fiction, and much more.
According to her website, the type of work she’s looking for:
Your story should take place in a non-Western culture. I’d love to have a variety of stories that take place in the diverse cultures of Central/South America, Asia, and Africa.
Your story should contain a character with at least one exceptionality. It should be a major element of the story, providing the character with extra challenges but maybe also special insight or abilities. I want to explore how steampunk technology changes the lives of people with exceptionalities, for better or for worse. I’d love to see characters who are also members of other marginalized groups (such as LGBTQ characters).
Your story should contain steampunk elements. I get a lot of submissions with steampunk exoskeletons and dirigibles, but not many with spaceships or submarines. I’d really like authors to stretch themselves and instead of just writing alternate history, set the story in a parallel universe or on another planet. Read Tobias Buckell’s excellent story “Love Comes to Abyssal City” for an example.
All submissions are due June 1, 2016. More info can be found here.
For the latter half of April, I’m doing back-to-back conventions (wheeee!) Check out my schedule for both below.
And, as always, if you are an author/agent looking to have a meeting, please contact me.
5:30 PM Madison
Description: A discussion over what to include in your query letter and how to approaching publishers and agents as a newer author in general.
Panelists: Diana Pho, Michael Livingston
The Maharaja of Sweden hosts Sci-fi Mashups
10:00 PM Washington
Description: Join the Maharaja of Sweden as he serves chai and discusses the great stories that blend cultures. Explorers, subjects taken out of context, subversions of culture, misplacement of values, subjegation, historical inaccuracies, and twists of time. Confederates with atom bombs? Musketeers with airships? Amish Zombies? Where does it end?! And should it…
Panelists: Diana Pho, Peter B. Slayer, Emilie P. Bush
JordanCon Annual Pitch Critique
2:30 PM Madison
Description: Get practice on those first crucial moments with an agent or editor. No stakes, just honest feedback.
Panelists: Diana Pho, Saladin Ahmed, Harriett McDougal
Turning Feedback into useful Critique
11:30 AM Madison
Description: So people have read your work and told you what they thought. Now what?
Panelists: Diana Pho, Saladin Ahmed, Jim Hodgson, Anthony Taylor
2:30 PM Madison
Description: Prophecy, Thematic Hints, Ominous Portents, and everything in between. Come here some great ways and reasons to Foreshadow.
Panelists: Todd McCaffrey, Anthony Taylor, Diana Pho
Writer’s Workshop Part 1–Hemingway Happy Hour
6 PM in the Pompeii Room
Description: Mingle with fellow writers and other publishing folk. Hosted by Emilie P Bush
Safer Spaces for Steampunks: Addressing Harassment in Fandom
8pm in the Naples Room
Description: Join us in an upfront and forward-thinking conversation lead by Ay-leen the Peacemaker (Diana M. Pho) on how to create safer spaces in fandom against harassment, with a particular focus on sexual harassment awareness, reporting, and prevention tactics. All genders and orientations are encouraged to attend.
Writer’s Workshop Part 2–The Boiler Room
10:00 am in the Pompeii Room
Description: Discussion of the craft of writing with Emilie P Bush & Ay-leen the Peacemaker (Diana M. Pho).
Beyond Victoriana: Multicultural Steampunk
7 pm in the Naples Room
Description: How does multicultural steampunk look Beyond Victoriana? Updated & expanded since its previous presentation at the Steampunk Symposium.
Just around the corner is my first convention of 2015 AnomalyCon. I’ve never been to Colorado before, so I’m looking forward to escape the NY cold a bit for some Rocky Mountain air. Below is my programming line-up. If anyone can bring me a coffee or brownie (no, not *that* kind) during one of my 4-hour paneling stints, you will earn a gold star for the weekend.
Developing Character through Costuming
Fri 5pm Fashion
A discussion of the Who behind your costume and developing character through design. M. Unruh, Ay-leen the Peacemaker.
Sexuality and Gender Identity in Fiction
Fri 6pm Safety/Sexuality (Fiction)
A discussion of the good and bad ways that mainstream fiction is exploring gender identity and sexuality, and how we can do better.
Panelists: K. Seibert (M), Ay-leen the Peacemaker, A. Rogers, M. Tanzer
Closing the Loop
Fri 7pm Writing
Editing and re-editing and outlining and reviewing and getting your book out to an agent…you have so much to do now that you’ve finished your first novel draft. Where do you go from here?
Panelists: B. Dornbusch, S. Chambers, J. Brawner, Ay-leen the Peacemaker
Fri 8pm Fiction
What’s out there? What good could Steampunk do in theater?
Panelists: Ay-leen the Peacemaker, A. Rogers, S. Rahmsdorff
Sat 10am Safety/Sexuality
Brilliant authors talk about breaking out of the stereotypes to be successful in art and fiction. Panelists: Ay-leen the Peacemaker, A. Rogers, J. Koyanagi, M. Mohanraj
With All Due Respect: Multicultural Fashion
Sat 11am Fashion
Steampunk isn’t just about Victorian England! Dive into costuming from every angle and discuss cultural respect without appropriation.
Panelists: Ay-leen the Peacemaker, A. Rogers, M. Unruh
Sat 1pm Main Events
Don’t miss this wild answer to every question you never thought to ask your favorite authors! Twitter meets steroids.
Fellow authors: S. Chambers, C. Doctorow, K. Seibert (M), J. Nye, S. Litore, G. DeMarco, J. A. Owen, M. Tanzer, M. Mohanraj, J. Koyanagi, Ay-leen the Peacemaker, L.J. Hachmeister, T. Heermann
Coming Out in The Geek Community
Sat 2pm Safety/Sexuality
Sometimes we forget that not everyone is accepting, or that the community is there to support us. We’ll talk about our coming out stories, and about the help available to you if you need support.
Panelists: K. Seibert, L.J. Hachmeister, Ay-leen the Peacemaker, A. Rogers, M. Fowler
The -Gater Phenomenon
Sat 3pm Safety/Sexuality
What does it mean to be a gatekeeper? What does Gamergate even mean? Why do things like Gamergate happen, and how can people not caught in the crossfire help with these problems?
Panelists: Ay-leen the Peacemaker, A. Rogers, J. Koyanagi, A. Peter, S. Schafer
Cosplay is Not Consent
Sat 5pm Safety/Sexuality
What does this tagline mean? What kinds of expectations are we overlaying on male versus female cosplayers, and what is appropriate at a convention?
Panelists: Ay-leen the Peacemaker, A. Rogers, G. Feiner, C. Rose (M)
Sun 12pm Safety/Sexuality
Encouraging diversity through fandom and consuming problematic media responsibly.
Panelists: J. Koyanagi, Ay-leen the Peacemaker, M. Fowler (M), C. Rose
Sun 2pm Sexuality/Safety
Difficult Conversations to expand our understanding of community. Being willing to ask–and answer–the hard questions.
Panelists: T.A. Fowler, L.J. Hachmeister, Ay-leen the Peacemaker, A. Rogers, M. Mohanraj, C. Rose (M)
Attendees can check out their full schedule here.
Lady Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama—better known as “Rue” to her friends and quite deservingly so—is causing havoc all over London society. It doesn’t help matters that she’s related to the three most powerful supernaturals in the British Empire: daughter of the werewolf dewan Lord Conall Maccon and preternatural Lady Alexia Maccon, and adopted daughter of vampire potentate Lord Akeldama. On top of that, Rue possesses her own unique abilities; she is a metanatural (or “skin-stealer”), who can temporarily take the powers of any supernatural she touches.
Lady Alexia thinks its high time for Rue to put a stopper on her wild behavior, and Lord Akeldama wants to send her on a mission to acquire a new variety of tea leaf. Thus begins plans to send Rue off to India in a dirigible of her own naming—The Spotted Custard—along with a slapdash crew of the best and brightest (though some members are also the most irksome to Rue). What awaits in India, however, is a revelation that could possibly change the geopolitical balance of the entire Empire.
Many thanks to Jim for letting me participate in his “Representation in SF/F series”. All posts in this series will be collected as part of Invisible 2, and all proceeds from the sale of this collection will go toward Con or Bust and other diversity initiatives in fandom.
Junot Diaz—rightly so—gets quoted often in the representation convo. One of his truth bombs stuck with me:
“You know, vampires have no reflections in a mirror? And what I’ve always thought isn’t that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. It’s that if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves. And growing up, I felt like a monster in some ways. I didn’t see myself reflected at all.”
But here’s another truth valid in my life: when I didn’t see myself in a mirror, I smashed it and saw myself in the pieces.
March 8th marks International Women’s Day; this year’s theme is “Make it Happen!” What does it mean to “make it happen?” There are various examples cropping up today. Google created a doodle to emphasize jobs that had discriminated against women in the past (and present) and our need to recognize equality in all industries.
For me, the theme resonates with the song “Bread and Roses”, best known as the anthem during the Bread and Roses textile strike in Lawrence , MA in 1912. The lyrics are especially inspiring because it is more than personal self-determination and will that can make something positive “happen”. Greater equality is linked to solidarity across all genders. It is not just women fighting for women, but a call for everyone to fight for each other, because in the end, we are all affected by oppression. International Women’s Day I also associate with the motto: “lifting as we climb”– that individual success is only as impactful as the amount of support and success you give to others in turn.
I first heard “Bread and Roses” in undergrad, for it’s my alma mater’s official song and sung during commencement as graduates and alumna carry a laurel wreath through the campus grounds. There is something particularly uplifting to see a line of women across all backgrounds united in song (and inevitably, drawing a chorus from the watching crowd as well). You can listen to a rendition of “Bread and Roses” and read the lyrics below.
As we come marching, marching in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray,
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing: “Bread and roses! Bread and roses!”
As we come marching, marching, we battle too for men,
For they are women’s children, and we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses!
As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient cry for bread.
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for—but we fight for roses, too!
As we come marching, marching, we bring the greater days.
The rising of the women means the rising of the race.
No more the drudge and idler—ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life’s glories: Bread and roses! Bread and roses!
This year, we’re also celebrating IWD with a giveaway sponsored by Corset Story. Readers have a chance to win a prize package containing a pair of their Black Lace Ribbon Arm Warmers and their Steampunk Feather Fascinator. We have two sets we are giving away.
Here are the rules for entering.
1) The giveaway will be open to all followers of Beyond Victoriana worldwide. Participants can enter between now and midnight, EST (-5 UTC) on Saturday, March 14th by commenting on this post with the name of a woman from history that inspires you and why.
2) Participants MUST leave their email address in the comment form.
3) Two (2) winners will be selected on Sunday, March 15th via the Random Number Generator and contacted via email. Those selected will have 24 hours to reply with their mailing address and contact info or else a new pair of winners will be selected.
And that’s it. Have fun folks!
UPDATE: Many congrats to Andrew Aulenback and dinenwen for being the winners of this giveaway!
1) What was your motivating factor behind assembling the Best of Spanish Steampunk?
Steampunk is currently a very popular genre within speculative fiction, especially in Spain, and so I thought that one of the ways in which I could carry out my more general project, which is to make people in the English-speaking world more aware of what is happening in Spanish writing, would be to create an anthology that was both popular, but also focussed, not simply a general introduction to Spanish speculative fiction (Where would you begin? Where would you end?), but a more focussed, more directed anthology that was in some senses able to give a view of speculative fiction in general as it is being written in Spain, but from a particular perspective. Also, one of my initial intentions, right from the start of the project, has been to interpret the term ‘steampunk’ as widely as possible.
2) You had previously edited a steampunk anthology STEAMPUNK: ANTOLOGÍA RETROFUTURISTA. Is there anything you wanted to focus on or change when working on this new anthology project?
The concept of STEAMPUNK: ANTOLOGÍA RETROFUTURISTA was slightly different. It was a project that came into existence at a time when steampunk was really quite little-known in Spain, and so the editor of the book (I was just the publisher), Félix J. Palma, commissioned stories from contemporary well-known authors (and a couple of debut writers) who were not necessarily people who dedicated themselves to ‘genre’ writing, but who were being hired to write in this genre. This book functioned quite well, and showed that there was a lot of interest in the topic. What I did next was to edit a second volume in which I invited writers who were known for their speculative fiction to write slipstream steampunk stories, approaching their normal material from perhaps a slightly ‘higher’ literary perspective (I hate these terms, but they work if you don’t think of them as evaluative). This book, RETROFUTURSIMOS: ANTOLOGÍA STEAMPUNK, was the flipside to the original anthology, and both books ended up meeting somewhere in the middle of the literary continuum. The material contained in these two anthologies formed the core material for THE BEST OF SPANISH STEAMPUNK. Internationalising steampunk and making it more multicultural was also a part of my approach, but more about this later…
3) Many authors included in this book are still young in their writing careers. What was your process for finding them?
We had the two anthologies to work with, which gave us some clear examples of texts that in some sense had to be in the anthology, but we also very clearly wanted to have as wide a range of authors as possible, to be as inclusive as possible, so we sent out an open call for submissions and worked our way through whatever was sent us. Of course, we asked for information about previous publications and so on, but essentially we allowed the stories that were sent to us to guide us in making our choices. And some very good things appeared in this way: one of the stories, one of my favourites, is Rocío Rincon’s ‘The Lady of the Soler Colony’, which is the author’s first publication in any medium: she’s in the rather odd position of having a story published in English before publishing anything in Spanish. Finding diamonds in the slushpile was one of the great joys of this project.
4) Do you think Spanish culture has any particular preconceived notions about the 19th century that you hope steampunk breaks down?
The Spanish are very aware that the nineteenth century was one which they did not ‘win’, if you can put it that way. The nineteenth century was a time in which a previously great empire was in its death throes, in which the general level of education and culture was, except for the few, fairly low. The nineteenth century in Spain is now in some senses being repurposed as a time of resistance and rebellion: consider for example the elaborate celebrations, books and public events that took place for the two hundredth anniversary of the failed Dos de Mayo uprising in Madrid in 2008. I think steampunk is used by quite a lot of the authors in the anthology as a way of addressing this new understanding of the nineteenth century: lots of the stories, for example the ones by Rafael Marín or (although this is approaching the twentieth century now) Jesús Cañadas repurpose and redevelop key moments in modern Spanish history, making them a little more defiant, a little more aggressive. History being rewritten by the losers, perhaps.
5) Why do you think the steampunk genre is becoming more popular in the Spanish-speaking countries?
Steampunk is everywhere, it’s in the air. It is popular in e.g. France, and starting to be more popular in places like Russia as well. What I would say is that most English-language steampunk starts from what might broadly be identified as a post-colonial perspective: works such as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series use the figures and characters of straightforward jingoistic Victorian writing in order to poke sly fun at their own assumptions and ideas. In some ways, it is less surprising, obvious perhaps, that steampunk should find a home in countries such as Mexico and Venezuela where the assumptions of a long-standing master / subaltern relationship are being challenged far more directly. Spanish-language steampunk, particularly the stuff that comes from places outside Peninsular Spain, is able to use this new and responsive genre to speak in some ways slightly more directly to historical injustice.
6) What is the most exciting part of the anthology that readers can look forward to?
My hope personally, and my hope as a publisher, is that people will discover new writers working at a high level whom they are then tempted to keep an eye on, go and discover more writing by and so on. The anthology is a wedge, a wedge many hundreds of pages thick, designed to in some senses break into an environment that has not been very welcoming in the past to translated literature (although the speculative-fiction-reading public is much broader-minded that certain other cohorts of readers, of course). The excitement in compiling the anthology was in discovering these new voices, and knowing that they would be sent into a new environment where, if there is any justice, they will find a welcoming home. And I hope that’s the part that appears most exciting to the reading public too.
Thanks for your time! Readers interested in purchasing The Best of Spanish Steampunk & Ediciones Nevsky’s other steampunk anthologies can see the links below.
- Buy this book on AMAZON (Kindle format)
- Buy this book on BARNES & NOBLE (Nook format)
- Buy this book on EDICIONES NEVSKY web (Epub format)
Check Ediciones Nevsky’s Steampunk Collection.
Last year, I bowed out of the nominations for Steampunk Chronicle’s Readers Choice Awards (having won two years in a row) but hadn’t had a chance to create my own suggested list. I’m catching the nomination period earlier this time around to throw in some two cents into the change bucket of suggestions. I’m basing my suggestions on the steampunk media that I’ve seen in 2014. Anything earlier, though I may have loved it, would have to be excluded from the list. I am also excluding convention nominations since I don’t feel as comfortable highlighting some while I hadn’t had a chance to attend as many steampunk ones in 2014. My suggestions are only for categories that I’m confident enough to speak about, and while I tend to linger in my reasoning for selecting some more than others, but it doesn’t mean I feel any less about anyone / anything I mention on this list. That being said… ~insert drumroll~
Best Solo Musician
Paul Shapera for The New Albion Trilogy. The whole trilogy is pure genius in concept and execution. An Atompunk Opera, the New Albion Guide to Analogue Consciousness and the bonus The Room Beneath New Albion came out in 2014. I’m nominating Shapera under Best Solo Musician, however, from the strength and vision of the entire project. Each opera is distinct in musical style, but follows the progression of the fantasy city of New Albion and its denizens to create one of the strongest storytelling pieces I’ve ever listened to in speculative music. I only wish he got more recognition for his work!
Best Young Adult Steampunk Fiction
Two recommendations for this category:
Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger Her trademark droll wit is not lacking in any of her books, including this prequel series to the Parasol Protectorate series.
Dragonfly Warrior by Jay Noel His work caught my eye early last year when he reached out about his take of Asian steampunk. It’s a fun ride, and I look forward to picking up the rest of his trilogy.
Best Children’s Steampunk Fiction or Picture Book
The Jupiter Chronicles by Leonardo Ramirez
Ramirez has a ton of heart and it really shows in his storytelling about a pair of siblings who go on a steampunk space adventure in search of their father.
Steampunk World, edited by Sarah Hans
(Full disclosure: I wrote the introduction for this book). This projects stemmed from a conversation in early 2013 about how steampunk would function in different cultures across the globe and in 2014, Hans and Alliteration Ink launched their Kickstarter to get this project running. Featuring several well-known and up-and-coming names in SF/F, Steampunk World also got great support from io9 and BoingBoing. I was pretty impressed the the selection on the list and the range of geographic places they cover.
Best Non- fiction and Best Maker Book
The Steampunk User’s Manual by Jeff VanderMeer and Desirina Boskovich (Full disclosure: I contributed an article for this book.)
The follow-up to The Steampunk Bible, VanderMeer and Boskovich explore the worlds of creativity and making. It reads one-part inspirational guidebook, two-parts DIY lovefest for the steampunk set.
Best Graphic Novel
Clockwork Watch Currently ongoing transmedia project, but I wanted to highlight the compact and beautifully-drawn graphic novels.
Best Steampunk Periodical (print or blog)
The Airship Ambassador
(Full disclosure: Until this year, Kevin Steil and I worked together for the Tor.com steampunk monthly event round-up). I rarely have time to follow many blogs consistently anymore, but the Airship Ambassador is one of them, and I have endless admiration for his stalwart dedication over the years.
Also tied with that is P. Djeli Clark’s The Musings of a Disgruntled Haradrim . . . (Full disclosure: I first found his blog years ago and had him as a contributor for Beyond Victoriana). His blog is speculative fiction in general as well as steampunk, but his writing is always consistently smart, articulate and on-point.
Best Themed Cafe or Bar
The Way Station This is my neighborhood bar, actually so I really have a bias there XD
Best TV Series
The Legend of Korra, Book 4 Despite the flaws I have with its pacing early in the series, Book 4 really pulled all the disparate threads of its previous seasons and gave a satisfying and television-moment changing of an ending. Bravo.
Best Politically-Minded Steampunk
I have several for this category, in no particular order:
Bruce & Melanie Rosenbaum of ModVic While not “typically” defined as political, ModVic’s charity work in disability communities has truly been an inspiration.
Jaymee Goh, for her years of tireless work analyzing steampunk from a postcolonial perspective and supporting steampunks of color at Silver Goggles
Lisa Hager, for her LGBTQQAI advocacy in the genre, especially being one of the first to introduce queer-focused panels a couple of years ago at TeslaCon
Margaret “Magpie” Killjoy, one of the first radical steampunks on the scene almost ten years ago at this point and founder of Steampunk Magazine. What more can I say?
Best Multicultural Steampunk
There’s some overlap with “Best-Political” given my inclinations, but again, in no particular order:
The Airship Ashanti They are a relatively new group, but seeing them give me hope to see other PoC-dominant groups arrive on the scene. Plus, they have done a ton of local work for outreach in their community to get more fans of color involved.
Balogun Ojetade & The Chronicles of Harriet A long time friend of the bog, I have seen Balogun grow by leaps and bounds as a writer and general creator.
Jaymee Goh & Silver Goggles. She continues to be awesome, plus, I should also add that she is the co-editor of the upcoming Southeast Asian steampunk anthology The SEA is Ours and is currently running a month-long round table featuring the international list of authors involved!
Suna Dasi of Steampunk India Suna’s online presence is always a delight – full of grace, poise, and welcoming to steampunks from all walks of life while always enthusiastically pursuing Indian steampunk.
Best Crowdfunded Project
The League of Steam, Season 3 or Steampunk World Criteria for both is that they got an overwhelmingly positive response, became fully-funded, and produced their final products that year or by this date & time (which is something that not all crowd-sourced funded projects actually achieve).
What do you folks think? I’m also open to hearing your thoughts about these nominations and ones for categories I didn’t list here.
This is one of the rare occasions where I’m using the re-blog feature for Beyond Victoriana, but this is for a great friend and contributor to the blog, P. Djeli Clark, who addresses some important talking points about Black History Month in the United States. I highly encourage folks to also visit his blog for more great commentary about race, sci-fi/ fantasy, and pop media.
Originally posted on Phenderson Djèlí Clark:
It’s that time of year again, Black History Month. Beginning every February in the United States, the country sets aside 28 (or 29 in a leap year) days to celebrate, discuss and engage Black History. Innocuous enough. And yet what seems to happen every Feb. 1st, is the beginning of a 28-days long ritual of whining (how come they get their own month?), misconceptions and endless micro-aggressive racial faux-pas. And this isn’t just from the usual sky boxes of white privilege; there are black people (some of them noteworthy) who wade into…well…the stupid. So here are a few tips to better understand the month, both for those who have to endure the stupid and for those who might be enticed to engage in the stupid.
This is just an updated list from an identical post I did last year. But guess what? It never gets old because the stupid never…
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