For International Women’s Day, I’m pleased to publish the following anthology of short fiction on Tor.com. Below is my introduction, and hope you all enjoy the read today!
For International Women’s Day, I’m pleased to publish the following anthology of short fiction on Tor.com. Below is my introduction, and hope you all enjoy the read today!
For the last week of our Steampunk Hands Around the World book giveaway series, let me introduce you to Robyn Bennis’s The Guns Above, a high-flying adventure full of wit, bravado, fancy clothes, and big explosions. A brief description:
They say it’s not the fall that kills you.
For Josette Dupre, the Corps’ first female airship captain, it might just be a bullet in the back.
On top of patrolling the front lines, she must also contend with a crew who doubts her expertise, a new airship that is an untested deathtrap, and the foppish aristocrat Lord Bernat, a gambler and shameless flirt with the military know-how of a thimble. He’s also been assigned to her ship to catalog her every moment of weakness and indecision.
When the enemy makes an unprecedented move that could turn the tide of the war, can Josette deal with Bernat, rally her crew, and survive long enough to prove herself?
“Steampunky navy-in-the-air military tale full of sass and terrific characters. Great storytelling. Loved it.” —Patricia Briggs
Click after the jump for details on how to enter! Thanks for allowing along, everyone, and hope you enjoy the rest of Steampunk Hands this month.
EDIT: Congrats to Connor Drexler as our winner!
Welcome to Week Two of our Steampunk Hands Around the World book giveaway series!
Next up: enter a world of spies, decadence, and revolution with Lara Elena Donnelly’s Amberlough. A brief description:
Covert agent Cyril DePaul thinks he’s good at keeping secrets, especially from Aristide Makricosta. They suit each other: Aristide turns a blind eye to Cyril’s clandestine affairs, and Cyril keeps his lover’s moonlighting job as a smuggler under wraps.
Cyril participates on a mission that leads to disastrous results, leaving smoke from various political fires smoldering throughout the city. Shielding Aristide from the expected fallout isn’t easy, though, for he refuses to let anything – not the crooked city police or the mounting rage from radical conservatives – dictate his life.
Enter streetwise Cordelia Lehane, a top dancer at the Bumble Bee Cabaret and Aristide’s runner, who could be the key to Cyril’s plans—if she can be trusted. As the twinkling lights of nightclub marquees yield to the rising flames of a fascist revolution, these three will struggle to survive using whatever means — and people — necessary. Including each other.
Combining the espionage thrills of le Carré with the allure of an alternate vintage era, Amberlough will thoroughly seduce and enthrall you.
“James Bond by way of Oscar Wilde.” —Holly Black
“Sparkling with slang, full of riotous characters, and dripping with intrigue, Amberlough is a dazzling romp through a tumultuous, ravishing world.” —Robert Jackson Bennett, winner of the Shirley Jackson Award and the Edgar Award
“An astonishing first novel!” —World Fantasy Award-winning author Ellen Kushner
There is also this incredible book trailer:
EDIT: Congrats to Elias Eells as our winner!
So very pleased to announce that Like Clockwork: Steampunk Pasts, Presents, & Futures, has been selected as a co-winner for the Ray & Pat Browne Award for Best Edited Collection in Popular Culture and American Culture. I’m proud to have the hard work of all the contributors and the editors Rachel Bowser and Brian Croxall honored with this recognition.
Also happy that this collection shares this award with the other co-winners (who have overlapping interests with our followers!): Black Cowboys in the American West: On the Range, On the Stage, Behind the Badge, edited by Bruce A. Glasrud & Michael N. Searles, and The Age of Lovecraft by Carl H. Sederholm & Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock.
Time for Steampunk Hands Around the World, the annual blogging carnival and celebration of the global community! This year’s theme is a very relevant one, and in participation, I’ll be running a series of book giveaways throughout the month (since, of course, reading widely across different cultures and fresh perspectives from marginalized backgrounds is one way we can imagine ways of making life better.)
This week, I’ll be giving away a two books: A.J. Hartley’s Steeplejack in hardcover and a special advanced reader’s copy of its sequel, Firebrand which will publish in June 2017!
Check out details about the giveaway after the jump. You can also check out the Official Link guide to Steampunk Hands to follow what others are doing.
Edit: Congrats to Aaronious01 for being selected our first giveaway winner! Follow along the blog the rest of this month for opportunities for more books. 🙂
This February, the Airship Ashanti is organizing an event with other steampunk organizations to support Project Linus, which provides blankets for charity. Come and help those in need stay warm this winter and join the Fleet of Fleece, either by going to their event on February 11th, or reaching out to host one in your local community.
To close out 2016, I’m boosting my steampunk comrade-in-arms Kevin Steil’s 100th interview on the Airship Ambassador (and here’s great snapshot of him from my wedding this year, where he served as the officiant!). He has been tirelessly tacking the steampunk community for the last six years, and has touched base with people he interviewed in the past (including yours truly) to see how their time in the community has been. Here’s the full ten part series, featuring Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine, Evan Butterfield, Gail Carriger, Jaymee Goh, James Ng, Mike Perschon, Richard Preston, Lev AC Rosen, Arthur Slade, Nick Valentino, and Jean-Christophe Valtat.
Cheers, and see you in 2017!
I haven’t done this in previous years, but since becoming more involved in the SF/F community (and because people have asked — thanks people!), here is a list of things I published & edited in 2016 when nomination season comes around for the Hugos.
I’m saying right off that I do not qualify for Best Editor for Long, simply because I haven’t have enough novels published this year, and I don’t qualify under Short, which applies to anthologies and magazines. But I will add that if you enjoyed any of the works by authors I have worked with, it would certainly not be amiss to support them!
For those curious whether Beyond Victoriana itself qualifies for anything, it could for Best Fanzine or Best Related Work. The blog celebrated 7 years online in October, and I figured that is an accomplishment in itself. 🙂
On Crafting a Subcultural Lifestyle: Objects and the Search for Home in Steampunk – A 4-part series that was my contribution to Steampunk Hands Around the World for this year.
“Punking the Other: On the Performance of Racial and National Identities in Steampunk” in Like Clockwork: Steampunk Past, Presents and Futures.
“Everything that Isn’t Winter” by Margaret Killjoy
Does a renewed world still have a place for those who only know how to destroy? While defending a tea-growing commune in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest, one person seeks an answer.
“A Dead Djinn in Cairo” by P. Djeli Clark
Egypt, 1912. In an alternate Cairo infused with the otherworldly, the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities investigate disturbances between the mortal and the (possibly) divine. What starts off as an odd suicide case for Special Investigator Fatma el-Sha’arawi leads her through the city’s underbelly as she encounters rampaging ghouls, saucy assassins, clockwork angels, and plot that could unravel time itself, in P. Djèlí Clark’s Tor.Com Original, A Dead Djinn in Cairo.
“Chains” by A. J. Hartley
Anglet Sutonga is more realistic than most teenagers, but still dreams of rising above the impoverished streets of Bar-Selehm. When an opportunity comes along, will she take it? And what does she risk in order not to throw away her shot? A novelette set before the events of A.J. Hartley’s Steeplejack.
“The Three Lives of Sonata James” by Lettie Prell
In a cyber-enhanced, futuristic Chicago, Sonata knows near-immortality is achievable through downloading her mind into a cyborg body after death. But this young artist wants to prove that living forever isn’t the same as living a beautiful life. The Three Lives of Sonata James, a Tor.com Original from science fiction author Lettie Prell.
Steeplejack by A. J. Hartley
Thoughtfully imaginative and action-packed, Steeplejack is New York Times bestselling A. J. Hartley’s YA debut set in a 19th-century South African fantasy world
Seventeen-year-old Anglet Sutonga lives repairing the chimneys, towers, and spires of the city of Bar-Selehm. Dramatically different communities live and work alongside each other. The white Feldish command the nation’s higher echelons of society. The native Mahweni are divided between city life and the savannah. And then there’s Ang, part of the Lani community who immigrated over generations ago as servants and now mostly live in poverty on Bar-Selehm’s edges.
When Ang is supposed to meet her new apprentice Berrit, she finds him dead. That same night, the Beacon, an invaluable historical icon, is stolen. The Beacon’s theft commands the headlines, yet no one seems to care about Berrit’s murder—except for Josiah Willinghouse, an enigmatic young politician. When he offers her a job investigating his death, she plunges headlong into new and unexpected dangers.
Meanwhile, crowds gather in protests over the city’s mounting troubles. Rumors surrounding the Beacon’s theft grow. More suspicious deaths occur. With no one to help Ang except Josiah’s haughty younger sister, a savvy newspaper girl, and a kindhearted herder, Ang must rely on her intellect and strength to resolve the mysterious link between Berrit and the missing Beacon before the city descends into chaos.
“A richly realized world, an intensely likable character, and a mystery to die for.” — Cory Doctorow, New York Times-bestselling author
High Stakes, edited by George R. R. Martin & Melinda Snodgrass
(In this case, I was the book’s in-house editor, since obviously GRRM is series editor for Wild Cards.)
Perfect for old fans and new readers alike, High Stakes (Wild Cards) delves deeper into the world of aces, jokers, and the hard-boiled men and women of the Fort Freak police precinct in a pulpy, page-turning novel of superheroics and Lovecraftian horror.
After the concluding events of Lowball, Officer Francis Black of Fort Freak, vigilante joker Marcus “The Infamous Black Tongue” Morgan, and ace thief Mollie “Tesseract” Steunenberg get stuck in Talas, Kazakhstan. There, the coldblooded Baba Yaga forces jokers into an illegal fighting ring, but her hidden agenda is much darker: her fighters’ deaths serve to placate a vicious monster from another dimension. When the last line of defense against this world weakens, all hell breaks loose, literally….
The Committee in New York sends a team of aces to investigate. One by one, each falls victim to evil forces–including the dark impulses within themselves. Only the perseverance of the most unlikely of heroes has a chance of saving the world before utter chaos erupts on Earth.
Edited by #1 New York Times bestselling author George R. R. Martin, High Stakes features the writing talents of Melinda M. Snodgrass, John Jos. Miller, David Anthony Durham, Caroline Spector, Stephen Leigh, and Ian Tregillis.
Chapel of Ease by Alex Bledsoe
The latest installment in Alex Bledsoe’s critically-acclaimed Tufa series that Kirkus Reviews calls “powerful, character-driven drama…a sheer delight.” (starred review)
When Matt Johansson, a young New York actor, auditions for “Chapel of Ease,” an off-Broadway musical, he is instantly charmed by Ray Parrish, the show’s writer and composer. They soon become friends; Matt learns that Ray’s people call themselves the Tufa and that the musical is based on the history of his isolated home town. But there is one question in the show’s script that Ray refuses to answer: what is buried in the ruins of the chapel of ease?
As opening night approaches, strange things begin to happen. A dreadlocked girl follows Ray and spies on him. At the press preview, a strange Tufa woman warns him to stop the show. Then, as the rave reviews arrive, Ray dies in his sleep.
Matt and the cast are distraught, but there’s no question of shutting down: the run quickly sells out. They postpone opening night for a week and Matt volunteers to take Ray’s ashes back to Needsville. He also hopes, while he’s there, to find out more of the real story behind the play and discover the secret that Ray took to his grave.
Matt’s journey into the haunting Appalachian mountains of Cloud County sets him on a dangerous path, where some secrets deserve to stay buried.
Patterns of the Wheel: Coloring Art Based on Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time, Art by Amy Romanczuk
Let the Dragon be drawn again on the winds of time. Patterns of the Wheel is an adult coloring book suitable for all ages featuring original art drawn from The Wheel of Time ®.
Since its debut in 1990, The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan has captivated millions of readers around the globe with its scope, originality, and compelling characters. Over the course of fifteen books and millions of words, the world that Jordan created grew in depth and complexity.Now for the very first time, fans of this astounding saga can color in the hues and vibrant shades of Robert Jordan’s most beloved fantasy world. Adorn the symbols of the Ajah and the patterns on Gleeman’s Cloak.
Experience the peaks of Dragonmount, the depths of the Aryth Ocean, and other parts of the realm. Fill in evocative mandalas, depictions of Old Tongue, and an array of the Wheel of Time’s most well-known symbols and magical items. Designed by officially-licensed Wheel of Time artist Amy Romanczuk, Patterns of the Wheel features 40 drawings inspired by pysanky, a traditional Ukrainian folkart, to provide hours of delight for The Wheel of Time’s legions of fans.
Rounding out this year, University of Minnesota Press came out with a new academic anthology that I’m proud to be a contributor for—Like Clockwork: Steampunk Pasts, Presents, and Futures. This anthology tackles the cultural influences that lead to the rise in popularity of steampunk from the early Naughts onward; as its website description states, “From disability and queerness to ethos and digital humanities, Like Clockwork offers wide-ranging perspectives on steampunk’s history and its place in contemporary culture, all while speaking to the ‛why’ and ‛why now’ of the genre.”
My contribution, “Punking the Other: On the Performance of Racial and National Identities in Steampunk” had a long journey from grad school paper to publication, and finally seeing this in print has made me reflect about how much has changed since the article was first written, and how much of its commentary has become hauntingly relevant today.
The premise of Like Clockwork posits that the traumas of a post-9/11 affected our social and cultural understanding of time, technology, and the individual’s role in the historical narrative. Steampunk is fun and imaginative, but it is also ironic and critical of the past it draws from (and the future it mashes up with). The genre is about humor and pulp storytelling, about fashion and maker culture, about cosplay, satire, and pastiche. “Steampunking” became a cute catchphrase meaning how can one retrofit an object, an idea, or a narrative: a verb to ignite creative re-imagination. But steampunk is also passionate, critical, and serious in its performance.
The Past — What I was interested in back in 2012 was how people constructed their creative identities around imagined retrofuturist self, combined with current pop culture. These identities, made for play and entertainment, also speak about the political self. In the essay, I state that “A postcolonial view of steampunk posits the reexamination of dominant historical narratives in Western canon to embrace cultural hybridity and challenge the traditional power dynamics of national identity. It asks, ‘What groups are seen as part of the ‘nation’?’ and ‘Who gains the rights and privileges of citizenship?’, questions that have been increasingly defined against racial and cultural difference.”
Back then, I was thinking about who was seen as the explorers and who the savages, who had the honor of serving the Queen versus who slaved under Her, who held the power and what did they do with it. It makes for great games of wish-fulfillment and subversion, or wistful explorations of nostalgic superiority. Or a lot of creative works that fall in the gray in-between (good art never asks simple, binary questions). Art can be empowering; it can unintentionally or actively endorse problematic messages; it can be catchy and have great hooks and beautiful aesthetics, and it is never, ever amoral. These were the questions I kept asking when I critiqued the artists and performers I wrote about.
The Present — The anthology, written to address a post-9/11 world, now is out in a post-Brexit, pre-Trump world. It is a darker world, one where a whimsical longing for a “historical past that never was” rubs up against slogans about building walls, registering religious minorities, and Making America Great Again. It is a more nationalistic world in a frightening way, where playacting as fascists comes too close to the swastikas and hate speech I see graffitied on the streets of the city I love.
Many people did not foresee the stuff of our worst imaginations and in our moral selves being brought to light. Society wanted to sanitize our histories for modern consumption, and in doing so, we forgot how easy it is to repeat history’s mistakes.
Are you seen as part of our future nation? Do you deserve the rights and privileges of citizenship? You might, but do they?
And what will you do about that?
The Future — Over the past few weeks, I’ve overheard and participated in conversations all asking the same question, “What is my duty as an artist now?” More questions: Does my art mean anything anymore? Should I be doing something different with my life? What can I do to protect the most vulnerable, the people I love?
I don’t have easy answers to these questions. No one does. But there are many, many acts happening right now that will show what the future holds.
Steampunk has typically been seen as a positivist, optimistic genre, under the premise that we still have the opportunity to make things better as long as there are ways we can put dreams into action. To make things into reality. To question our pasts in order to stop terrible futures looming in our present.
Because, we must remember that steampunk subculture is performative. It is an action and not a static identity. Steampunk is a verb.
Featuring work by: Kathryn Crowther, Perimeter College at Georgia State University; Shaun Duke, University of Florida; Stefania Forlini, University of Calgary (Canada); Lisa Hager, University of Wisconsin–Waukesha; Mike Perschon, MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta; Diana M. Pho; David Pike, American University; Catherine Siemann, New Jersey Institute of Technology; Joseph Weakland, Georgia Institute of Technology; Roger Whitson, Washington State University.
In an effort to showcase the diversity of its local steampunk scene, Airship Ashanti is selling copies of its new 2017 multicultural steampunk calendar this fall. The calendar features members of the Cincinnati/Dayton steampunk community as well as holidays from cultures and religions around the world.
HRA Ashanti Captain Mandisa Njeri says the group created the calendar to be more inclusive of the various beliefs, religions, and backgrounds that make up the world around us.
“For several years, the HRA Ashanti has stood behind its calling to support its local community through multiculturalism,” she adds. “This calendar is a step in the right direction of inclusive society that embraces the different cultures throughout the world.”
You can purchase a calendar for $15 from an Airship Ashanti member in person at the November 5 and December 3 steampunk salons at Molly Malone’s in Cincinnati, at Pandoracon in Blue Ash, Ohio (Nov. 11-13), or at the group’s table at Teslacon in Middleton, Wis. (Nov. 18-20). If you aren’t attending any of these events, you can contact the group via email at HRA.ASHANTI@gmail.com to inquire about purchasing a calendar.
Proceeds go to Airship Ashanti’s future programming and philanthropic initiatives. There are only 50 copies available so get ’em while they’re hot!
A couple more preview images can be seen after the jump.