Category Archives: Beyond Victoriana Odds and Ends

Beyond Victoriana Special Edition Linkspams

“Breaking Mirrors” — Guest post on Jim C. Hines’s Blog

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.


Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill, Andalite Prince from the Animorphs series, and one of my childhood book buddies. Taken from the ceiling of my childhood bedroom wall.

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.

Read the rest of the piece here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Beyond Victoriana Odds and Ends

Steampunk Chronicle’s 2015 Readers Choice Awards — My Nomination Recommendations

Steampunk Reader's Choice Awards - Click to Nominate

Steampunk Reader’s Choice Awards – Click to Nominate

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.

Best Fiction
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.

1 Comment

Filed under Announcement, Beyond Victoriana Odds and Ends

Happy Launch Day for Steampunk Hands Around the World!

steampunkhands_2015_xpk1

This February, the steampunk community gathers together to share individual and community achievements with the rest of the world. Kevin Steil, the Airship Ambassador takes the helm once again for Year Two of this online blogging event. People can follow on their Facebook page or the Twitter hashtag #SteampunkHands for more details– the Airship Ambassador will also host a list of all articles on their blog, updated daily.

As for Beyond Victoriana, watch this space for upcoming features & interviews throughout the month.

2 Comments

Filed under Announcement, Beyond Victoriana Odds and Ends

Audio Recordings from TeslaCon & SE Wisconsin Festival of Books! Plus, Announcing THE BEST OF SPANISH STEAMPUNK

Before 2014 comes to a close, a couple of brief updates!

Back in November, I attended TeslaCon and the Southeastern Wisconsin Festival of Books as a guest. Below are the audio recordings of some of the panels I did at both, for your listening pleasure. If you’d like a copy of the audio file, contact me and I can email this to you.

Steampunk: A Genre Discussion (audio)
A panel discussion at the Southeastern Wisconsin Festival of Books at University of Wisconsin – Waukesha
Featuring Professor Lisa Hagar of University of Wisconsin-Waukesha

How to Publish Your Steampunk Novel (audio)
Featuring Kevin Steil, the Airship Ambassador & blogger at TeslaCon V in November 2014.

The Best of Spanish Steampunk cover

Additionally, The Best of Spanish Steampunk is coming out in early 2015. I’m thrilled to have been asked by editor Marian Womack to contribute an introduction to this new anthology of compelling steampunk fiction.

A brief description:

The Best of Spanish Steampunk will be the first English-language anthology to showcase the talented Spanish writers working in the Steampunk genre. It will be available in January 2015.

We are living a time of fast-paced change, in a decadent society in serious need of a rethink of its ethical and social principles. The values of our way of life, the system we uphold, are reaching their natural exhaustion point. The Steampunk sensibility has found fertile ground within the community of Spanish SF authors, who, in order to understand the problems of a country ravaged by the economic crisis, huge unemployment levels and frustration with the political and social system, are turning towards two major literary currents : the dystopian novel and Steampunk.

As Bruce Sterling has suggested, “Steampunk’s lessons are not about the past, but about the instability of our own times … Steampunk is popular now because we are unconsciously realising that the way we live has already died”. This is a succinct description of Spain’s approach to the genre. By engaging with a writing that focuses on the “glorious past” of an idealized Victorian age, Spanish authors are trying to highlight their disenchantment with their future. These are the inheritors of the first “wave” of English-language Steampunk.

Other trends are even more critical, connecting directly to the social and political commentary inspired by Steampunk’s forefather H.G. Wells. This second trend focuses on a conscious reimagining of our history as a direct literary comment on our present, in order to find in the past answers for the current situation, and in our present possible ways forward. Spanish writers are “critically” reimagining key moments of our modern history, such as the Spanish-American Cuban war, or the Anarchist revolts of the 1930s in Andalusia.

Steampunk’s engagement with these topics offers an invaluable opportunity to reevaluate our world, the choices which have brought us to the situations we are facing today. In its key position between the present, the future, and the past, together with its critical heritage, Steampunk becomes one of the key cultural movements for going forwards into the XXI century.

Find more info on the publisher’s website.

Leave a comment

Filed under Announcement, Beyond Victoriana Odds and Ends, Conventions, Interviews

FanBros: Sex, Lies & Steampunk

Fanbros_Diana

A quick plug for FanBros podcast:

Sex, Lies, & Steampunk. We actually talk about two of these things on the latest episode, and you know we never lie to you. We welcome Diana Pho the celebrated author, blogger and steampunker genius to speak on all things steampunk, steamfunk and steamsex. No wait I’m lying. We do discuss sexual and street harassment in the cosplay and geek worlds, and why cosplay is not consent. Stay with us as we continue to cover all of the topics and news that you need to know about. It’s the award winning FanBrosShow.

Check out the show here!

And while in the mood for plugging, this Sunday, I’ll be speaking on a panel for The Steampunk User’s Manual in NYC

SUM- Nov 23

Leave a comment

Filed under Announcement, Beyond Victoriana Odds and Ends, Interviews

ROSE EAGLE Cover Reveal

Last year, I reviewed Joseph Bruchac’s pulse-racing KILLER OF ENEMIES. There is more to this post-apoc steampunk world in the prequel ROSE EAGLE, coming from Tu Books as an original e-novella. In the Black Hills of South Dakota, we are introduced to seventeen-year-old Rose Eagle of the Lakota tribe who is trying to find her place in a world in turmoil after a mysterious Cloud has destroyed all electronic technology.

Before the Silver Cloud, the Lakota were forced to work in the Deeps, mining for ore so that the Ones, the overlords, could continue their wars. But when the Cloud came and enveloped Earth, all electronics were shut off. Some miners were trapped in the deepest Deeps and suffocated, but the Lakota were warned to escape, and the upper Deeps became a place of refuge for them in a post-Cloud world.

In the midst of this chaos, Rose Eagle’s aunt has a dream: Rose will become a medicine woman, a healer. She sends Rose into the Black Hills on a quest to find healing for their people.

Gangly and soft-spoken, Rose is no warrior. She seeks medicine, not danger. Nevertheless, danger finds her, but love and healing soon follow. When Rose Eagle completes her quest, she may return with more than she ever thought she was looking for.

Check out the cover after the jump.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Beyond Victoriana Odds and Ends

Help out The Jupiter Chronicles Create an Animated Short

Juniper Chronicles

Leonardo Ramirez, young adult author, has a dream: to create an animated short of his young adult steampunk series The Jupiter Chronicles. With the cooperation of Magnetic Dreams Studios — and readers like yourselves interested in diversity in children’s entertainment — he hopes to make that dream come true.

Ramirez plans to launch a crowd-funding campaign to help fund his goal. Interested in learning more about The Jupiter Chronicles? From his website is the series premise:

Ian Castillo is a young boy who, together with his sister Callie, discover their secret; they are the son and daughter of a Jovian king whose world had been subjugated by the evil Lord Phobos of Mars. After a great battle was fought they returned to the steam-powered world of Jupiter where Fireflights and Skyrockets rule the air. Now, as part of the newly reborn Chrono Legion, Ian struggles to find his place in a world powered by steam. The fate of the Jovian Realms are in his hands as he fights against the Martian Doomslayers and seeks to protect Earth from what is to come. A much deeper struggle lies within him. With no father to guide him, Ian desperately searches for the answer to the question he’s been asking himself all of his life:

Why did my father leave me?

Readers can check out his website for more information, including details about the talented creative team behind The Jupiter Chronicles, and watch that space for details about their upcoming crowd-funding venture. You can also sign up for their mailing list here.

1 Comment

Filed under Beyond Victoriana Odds and Ends

Power Plays and Indian Steampunk in Eric Brown’s Jani and the Greater Game

image

Janisha Chatterjee is a woman tangled up in layered identities. She lives during the heyday of British imperial rule, which is powered by mysterious technology known as Annapurnite. The privileged daughter of an Indian government official, Jani is an accomplished citizen of Empire—modern, secular, and studying medicine at Cambridge. She feels increasingly at odds, however, with the world around her: not fully fitting in as a mixed-race woman on the streets of London or in the market squares of Delhi. She also has growing reservations about the Raj, despite her father’s accomplishments as Minister of Security.

When her father falls gravely ill, she takes the first dirigible back east. The Rudyard Kipling’s journey, unfortunately, is cut short by a Russian attack that kills nearly everyone on board. One of the few survivors amongst the wreckage, Jani discovers that the airship had been transporting a most unusual prisoner. This stranger bestows a dangerous gift to Jani that reveals the British Empire’s source of military might…. and a dire warning about a threat which endangers the entire world.

Read the review on Tor.com

1 Comment

Filed under Beyond Victoriana Odds and Ends, Review

Pre-order STEAMPUNK WORLD from Alliteration Ink

Steampunk World

Steampunk World_Kickstarter

 

The day has come. STEAMPUNK WORLD is now available for pre-order!  The top image is the regular cover, and our special Kickstarter supporters will receive a limited-edition version with that epic new cover designed by James Ng.

I strongly recommend folks pre-order the books if they are planning to purchase for two reasons. One–it guarantees that you get this awesome book ASAP for your immediate enjoyment. And Two–from a publishing standpoint, books that have strong pre-orders look good in the eyes of distributors and will help keep the book in stock in the long run.

Need more convincing? See the official description after the jump.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Announcement, Beyond Victoriana Odds and Ends

Signal-boost: Uncanny Magazine Year One

Uncanny Magazine

Click on image to see their Kickstarter

New project alert! Recently, I was contacted by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas, former editors-in-chief of Apex Magazine to be a contributor for their latest project: UNCANNY, whose Kickstarter just launched today. Managing Editor Michi Trota already posted about all of the wonderful things about this new mag, so I’m handing over the soapbox, below:

Ok, folks, you’ve waited patiently, so here it is: In addition to the number of projects I’m involved in (and the FT day job), I’m now MANAGING EDITOR of the new professional online magazine, UNCANNY: A MAGAZINE OF SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY! I’m unbelievably excited and honored that Lynne Marie Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas asked me to join this fantastic new project of theirs. I’ve been a fan of their work ever since picking up Chicks Dig Time Lords on a whim a few years ago, and it’s been an absolute pleasure getting to know them as friends and colleagues.

We have an award-winning line up of contributing authors, poets and artists who have committed to providing stories, essays, poems and art for the first six issues of Uncanny Magazine, which will run on a bimonthly basis. Contributors include Neil Gaiman, Mary Robinette Kowal, Jim C. Hines, Liz Argall, Carrie Ann Baade, Galen Dara, Emily Jiang, Diana Pho, Kameron Hurley, Charlie Jane Anders, Ken Liu, Amal El-Mohtar, and so many more.

You all know how much I love SF/F and the geek community, and getting to be managing editor for a publication like this is a dream come true. I can’t wait to put my stamp on what promises to be a stellar publication.

But this can’t happen without your help – we’re raising funds for the first year of operations through Kickstarter and we have until Aug. 28th to meet our goal of $26K. Please feel free to share our Kickstarter and help spread the word. We have nifty backer rewards, including a copy of the first issue, postcards of cover art by Tran Nguyen and Julie Dillon, shinies by Rachel Swirky (one of our authors for year one!), manuscript critiques by select authors, and even dinner with the editors and Uncanny contributing authors!

Thanks for all your support and for helping us bring the Uncanny to life!

There are many awesome people on board with this project beyond those listed above. PLUS great prize offerings for supporters (I’m offering a manuscript critique, blog post, Google Hangout or even an awesome dinner at a convention where you can pick my brain in person.)

Find out more info & contribute to their Kickstarter here.

2 Comments

Filed under Announcement, Beyond Victoriana Odds and Ends, Linkspams