Category Archives: Beyond Victoriana Odds and Ends

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Boosting Fleet of Fleece!

 

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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.

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Steampunk Retrospective: Airship Ambassador’s 100th Milestone Interview Series

Kevin Steil, Airship Ambassador

Photo Credit: Allison Stock Photography

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!

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What I wrote and edited in 2016

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. 🙂

Things I Wrote

The Airship Ashanti in the 2015 Internationa Steampunk Symposium. They were that year's winners of the Airship Games.

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.

like-clockwork“Punking the Other: On the Performance of Racial and National Identities in Steampunk” in Like Clockwork: Steampunk Past, Presents and Futures.


Things I Edited

Short Story

9780765390509Everything 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.

 


 

Novelettes

9780765389442A 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.

9780765392022“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.

9780765391964“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.


Novels

9780765383426Steeplejack 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-stakesHigh 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.

9780765376565Chapel 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.


Miscellany

9780765392824Patterns 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.

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Boosting: Airship Ashanti Multicultural Steampunk Calendar

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The Airship Ashanti sent over this missive about a great project they are doing to support representation in steampunk, and also goes to a good cause. I’m happy to support their efforts in our community. Ofeibea Loveless of the Airship Ashanti writes:

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.

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Announcing Steampunk Universe Kickstarter!

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 Alliteration Ink, who I had the joy of working with on Steampunk World, returns with another crowdfunding project for their next anthology STEAMPUNK UNIVERSE. Moe info below, and please spread the word!


Steampunk Universe: A diverse steampunk anthology featuring aneurotypical and disabled characters.

We keep getting told that steampunk is not diverse.

We want to keep proving them wrong.

Two and a half years ago, we brought you the award-winning anthology Steampunk World, a diverse collection of steampunk fiction. Since then, there have been a number of other prominent anthologies and works of diverse steampunk fiction. That is exactly what we hoped would happen.

But it is not enough.

We want to see even more diversity. We want to see characters like all our friends and all the members of our families. We want fully developed characters in steampunk – and all fiction – who are disabled or aneurotypical. We want more than “token” characters, and clichéd plots.

We were told it was too hard – especially in a genre like steampunk.

We are going to prove them wrong again…and we want you to join us.

Join editor Sarah Hans, our cover artist James Ng, and contributors Ken Liu, Jody Lynn Nye, Maurice Broaddus, Malon Edwards, Emily Cataneo, Pip Ballantine, Victor Ocampo, Suna Dasi, Lyndsay E. Gilbert, Kate Coe, Liam Hogan, Zach Chapman, Andrew Knighton, Matthew Bright, Candida Spillard, and Diana Pho today.

Steampunk can be diverse. And if steampunk can be diverse, it can be done anywhere.

Support here on Kickstarter

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Boosting: The Islamicate Science Fiction Short Story Writing Contest

This is a boost for a new contest organized by friend of the blog Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad of Islam and Science Fiction


The Islam and Science Fiction project has been running since 2005, we just entered our second decade. While the depiction of Muslims in Science Fiction and Islamic cultures has improved we still have a lot way to go, as is the case with many other minority groups. To kickstart things in this genre we have decided to start a contest centered around Science Fiction with Muslim characters or Islamic cultures (Islam in the cultural sense and not necessarily in the religious sense). We are pleased to announce the Islamicate Science Fiction short story writing contest. The contest is open from today (April 8, 2016) to the beginning of Ramadan/Ramzan/Ramjan (June 8, 2016). The winner will be announced on the day of Eid – July 6, 2016. If you already have a story then be sure to submit it soon, if not then start typing.

Scope:

Islamicate refers to the cultural output of predominantly Islamic culture or polity. Thus while the culture has its foundation and inspiration from the religion of Islam, it need not be produced by someone who is Muslim. The term Islamicate is thus similar to the term West as it encompasses a whole range of cultures, ethnicities and schools of thought with shared historical experience. The contest is open to all people regardless of their religious affiliation or lack there of. Thus a person of any religion, nationality, ethnicity race, gender, sexual orientation can submit. A collection of the best stories from the submissions will be released as an epub and available to download for free.

Prizes:

The following prizes will be awarded:

First Prize: $100
Second Prize: $75
Third Prize: $50

Submission rules:

  • The stories must be either set in a predominantly Muslim culture AND/OR have Muslim protagonist(s).
  • Short stories in almost any variant of Science Fiction (space opera, time-travel, apocalyptic, reimaging classic themes, techno-thrillers, bio-punk, science mystery, alternate history, steampunk, utopian, dystopian etc) is encouraged.
  • No reprints: No simultaneous submissions: No multiple submissions.
  • Submission are limited to one per person.
  • Since we are talking about short stories, any story with less than 8,000 words will be accepted.

How to submit: Please submit your short story to islam.scifi@gmail.com with the subject line Short Story Contest

Judges (Alphabetical):

  • Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad: Founder and editor of Islam and Science Fiction, Senior Data Scientist at Groupon.
  • Ahmed Naumaan: Dean of College of Engineering, DeVry University.
  • Noura Al-Nouman: Science Fiction author from the Gulf.
  • Muhammad Handara Hankins: Science Fiction Critic.
  • Rebecca Hankins: Associate Professor, Archivist/Librarian, Texas A&M University.

Questions:

If you have questions about the contest then you can either leave your questions as comments to this thread or email me atmahmad@cs.umn.edu Be sure to spread and the word far and wide, we are looking forward to your submissions!

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Help Create a Musical Spectacle with “Dark Victorian Dystopian Cyber/Steampunk” Band Psyche Corporation


Psyche Corporation (who we interviewed a few years ago) is looking for support to create a music video for the latest song “Dance For Me.”

From their press release:

Psyche Corporation is a fairytale cyber/steampunk band fronted by a former Ladies of Steampunk model and programmer who combines dance with a powerhouse vocal range. The band is named after a dream manufacture group from a future where neural implants allow people to download dreams from the Internet. Songs deal in dystopian themes as well as more lighthearted filk works, such as “Perl-Operated Boy”. The musical style spans genres of trip-hop, electro-rock, and world music.

After releasing her 5th album last October, Psyche Corp. is hoping to make a music video for a special song from the new album, called Dance for Me. The music video will showcase a decadent gothic fairytale visual narrative about a ballet dancer, who finds herself becoming a marionette for a sinister cosmic power. The set is already partially built with archways shaped like stylized vertebral columns (“spinal arches”).

Support their Kickstarter here.

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Leap Day Sale – Anatomy of Steampunk

anatomy-steampunk-cover

A special sale is going on for Katherine Gleason’s wonderful book on the diverse avenues of steampunk fashion Anatomy of Steampunk (which you can catch a sneak preview excerpt of here).

Now on-sale for only $21 USD using the code LEAP16

Order info!

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#SteampunkHands My Favorite Things Giveaway: Clockwork Canada, edited by Dominik Parisien

Clockwork Canada book

 

Our third giveaway for Steampunk Hands Around the World, is an advanced reader’s copy of the upcoming anthology Clockwork Canada, edited by Dominik Parisien and featuring fresh new stories from fifteen Canuck authors. This anthology’s description is after the jump with details on how readers can enter.

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Link Round-up: Beyoncé’s “Formation” Of Cultural Perseverance and Historical Trauma

Still from "Formation", a reference to Storyville, the red light district in New Orleans.

Still from “Formation”, a reference to Storyville, the red light district in New Orleans.

One week after Beyoncé ‘s newest single and music video “Formation” was dropped, voices from across the aethernets are still buzzing. The video collapses historical linear time,  unapologetic and demanding in its visual college of the complicated history of southern US black culture. It is not steampunk, but engages in the historical narrative in the tradition of other African diasporic art movements I admire, such as afrofuturism and steamfunk, and deserves to be highlighted.

“Formation”‘s launch is deliberately-timed for powerful political, commercial, and mainstream impact: released on Trayvon Martin’s birthday and two days before Sandra Bland’s, and also before Beyoncé’s planned performance at the SuperBowl. Many commentators, black and non-black alike, have taken to the task of analyzing and critiquing the levels of meaning behind it. Below are some of the many insightful, dynamic viewpoints from the black community written over the past week.

But first, check this video out:

If You Ain’t Got In-“Formation” by Tiffany Lee from Black Girl Dangerous

If these aren’t your experiences, references or reactions, that’s okay. And if this video didn’t give you life, that’s okay too. But if these aren’t your experiences and you’re out here saying any variation of “this video makes no sense/is dumb/kinda scary,” “she’s not even singing,” “Beyoncé fans are stupid,” “what’s she even saying?” or anything that has anything to do with a politics of respectability, then you need to stop.

We know that Beyoncé isn’t necessarily our Black Feminist Hero – there are way too many activists and folk who are out there fighting, supporting, and holding together Black communities for us to be under the simplistic illusion that Beyoncé does all of that for us. And I look forward to all the juicy Black folk critiques  – because nothing is Blacker than reading and being read.

Getting in Line: Working Through Beyonce’s “Formation” from Red Clay Scholar

Beyoncé said “I’ma make me a world.” She conjured New Orleans’ past, present, and future, calling upon the memories and sounds of New Orleans pre- and post Hurricane Katrina. Because rule number 1 in the south is that the past is always present and the past and present is always future. Still shots of preaching reverends, half-drowned buildings, the weave shop, and plantation houses against a sparse synthesizer that sounds like a tweaked electronic banjo from the Bayou sonically position Beyoncé squarely in the middle of a messy Black South. Katrina is not just a historical event. It is a springboard for re-rendering southern trauma and its association with blackness. Trauma is the spring board of southern blackness. But its foundation is resilience and creativity. Beyoncé’s New Orleans – because there are multiple New Orleans and this one is undeniably hers and her sister Solange’s rendering/conjuring – doubly signifies resurrection and the city of the dead.

Dear Beyoncé, Katrina is Not Your Story by Maris Jones from Black Girl Dangerous

This could have all been different, Beyoncé. The disconnect between what is being said in “Formation” and what is being shown cannot be ignored. You inspire while you slay, but know that all of the glorious Blackness in this video is really just a film reel for a sound bite espousing Western capitalist ideology with lines like, and “Earned all this money but they never take the country out me.” Even in showing me how down with the struggle you might be, you are still dredging up images of Black suffering without forewarning an audience that continues to be marginalized in both their city and country or following through by critically engaging with those images. Your anthem doesn’t match your outfit. You might get me to turn up at a party, but you’ll only find me in formation when your words and actions line up.

Hot Sauce in Her Bag: Southern Black identity, Beyoncé, Jim Crow, and the pleasure of well-seasoned food by Mikki Kendall from Eater

During Jim Crow, Black people could pick up food at establishments that served white people, but they often could not eat in them. When custom demanded that Black people be served separately from whites, they were often required to have their own utensils, serving dishes, and condiments. So it was customary for Black families who were traveling to carry everything they might possibly need so that (with the help of the Green Book, the guide that helped Black travelers eat, sleep, and move as safely as possible) they could navigate America in relative comfort.

On ‘Jackson Five Nostrils,’ Creole vs. ‘Negro’ and Beefing Over Beyoncé’s ‘Formation’ by Yaba Blay from Colorlines

I cheer Bey on as she sings, “I like my Negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils.” But I cringe when I hear her chant, “You mix that Negro with that Creole make a Texas bamma” about her Alabama-born dad and her mom from Louisiana. This is the same reason I cringed at the L’Oreal ad that identified Beyonce as African-American, Native American and French and why I don’t appreciate her largely unknown song “Creole.”

Having grown up black-Black (read: dark-skinned) in colorstruck New Awlins, hearing someone, particularly a woman, make a distinction between Creole and “Negro” is deeply triggering. This isn’t just for me but for many New Orleanians.

For generations, Creoles—people descended from a cultural/racial mixture of African, French, Spanish and/or Native American people—have distinguished themselves racially from “regular Negroes.” In New Orleans, phenotype—namely “pretty color and good hair”—translates to (relative) power.

Slay Trick: Queer Solidarity (?) in Formation from Queer Black Feminist

But, this movement is all about self-identified Black queer women, transwomen and genderqueer folks leading this movement. So, in some ways this call ignores that, a movement already established. I know folks say it calls attention to it, but it feels just the opposite to me when we have a full fledged movement happening that is full of leaders, actually, predominately led by Black queer women, transfolk and our allies. Just look at the leadership in almost every BLM chapter: Chicago (BYP), Minneapolis, Oakland, Los Angeles. The “ladies” are already in formation, leading the work. So, though this may be a “nod,” a recognition as many are suggesting, the explicit acknowledgement of the queer work in this movement–the queerness of strategy, tactic, and focus–is muddied by the safe position that Beyonce continues to occupy. And while she is being targeted in some ways (I’ll say more when endorsements/collaborations start to fall), can we put that into context of the everyday targeting that Black Lives Matter activists face on the front lines? That Black queer (cis and trans) women and transmen face everyday?

We Slay, Part 1 by zandria from New South Negress

“Formation” is an homage to and recognition of the werk of the “punks, bulldaggers, and welfare queens” in these southern streets and parking lots, in these second lines, in these chocolate cities and neighborhoods, in front of these bands and drumlines. Movements for black liberation are led by black folks at the margins who know we must all get free to sink that car. Folks who know that we must be coordinated, and we must slay. And because I recognize black southern country fence-jumping feminism as a birthright and imperative, I have no tolerance for the uncoordinated–those who cannot dance and move for black queer liberation, black trans liberation, black women’s liberation, at all intersections.

Black Lives Matter Co-Founder to Beyonce: ‘Welcome to the Movement by Alicia Garza on Rolling Stone

Black Lives Matter is rooted in some of these fundamental principles. We have come together to fight back against anti-black racism and state-sanctioned violence, in all forms. We are complex, multi-faceted, and led by what are still unfortunately considered to be non-traditional leaders: folks who are women, queer, trans, disabled, immigrant, incarcerated and formerly incarcerated, poor and working class, Southern and rural, urban and coastal. We are comprised of the complexity of who black people are, not just in the U.S., but around the world.

Response to Formation in List Form by rad fag on Radical Faggot
(The whole list is worth reading for some pithy points of critique)

21. Beyoncé is a logo. Beyoncé is a commodity. Beyoncé is a production. Beyoncé is a distraction. Beyoncé is a ruse. Beyoncé does not actually exist.

22. You–not her–are the Black visionary, the budding potential for revolution.

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