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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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Reflecting on Like Clockwork: Steampunk Pasts, Presents, and Futures

like-clockwork

Click to purchase from the publisher’s website

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.


Like Clockwork: Steampunk Pasts, Presents, and Futures, edited by Rachel A Bowser and Brian Croxall

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.

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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.

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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.

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A Land without Leaders: A Country of Ghosts by Margaret Killjoy on Tor.com

The most fantastical aspect of A Country of Ghosts is how it’s an earnest tale about an alternative society when dystopias fill today’s bookshelves. Full disclosure here:the author has written for Tor.com, and I did hold interest in reading his book once he described it to me as an “anarchist utopia.”

With that seed in mind, I couldn’t help but view A Country of Ghosts as the latest in a long tradition of utopian novels, starting with Thomas More’s as the most well-known early example (and a fantastic open source annotated edition can be read here).

Of course, utopias and speculative fiction go hand in hand. In the 19thcentury, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland envisioned a society of women. Alexander Bogdanov wrote about communist utopia on Mars in his 1908 book Red Star. Later utopian novels include Ursula K. Le Guin’s take on anarchism in The Dispossessed, Arthur C. Clark’s peaceful alien invasion inChildhood’s End, Aldous Huxley’s utopian counterpart to Brave New World in Island, and the fulfillment of the radical movements of the 1960s in Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time, along with many others.

In A Country of Ghosts a regional collective known as Hron (they’re only kinda, sorta a country) fights against a colonial empire, and Killjoy’s mix of politics and storytelling is at times intellectually engaging and at times winsome, though it’s also a curiosity to behold in the field today.

Read the rest of the review here: [“The rules don’t really matter. It’s the spirit that matters, I think.”]

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Exclusive! Jay Noel’s THE DRAGONFLY WARRIOR Excerpt

DragonflyWarrior ebook

Savage Machines Are Afoot…

At the age of twenty, Kanze Zenjiro’s bloody footprints mark the bodies of those who stood in his way to protect the throne of Nihon. Now, the tyrannical Iberian Empire is bent on destroying his kingdom, and they send their steam-powered giants and iron spiders against him.

Zen, affectionately called the Dragonfly Warrior, embarks on a quest that takes him on the most dangerous journey of his life. To succeed, Zen must kill all his enemies with only a sword and a pair of six guns and survive a test of faith and loyalty in a world so cruel and merciless, it borders on madness.

Beyond Victoriana is happy to present a preview of Jay Noel’s DRAGONFLY WARRIOR. Take a look at the prologue and first chapter after the jump, and interested readers can find more info to purchase his e-book here.
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Steampunk World Kickstarter–Multicultural Steampunk Fiction Anthology Goes Live!

 

Steampunk world update 12-11-2013
I was going to post this when it went live, but I’m so excited to report that TWO DAYS after the launch of the Steampunk World Kickstarter, and we’re already halfway to our goal! Thank you to our followers on Facebook, Twitter & Tumblr for getting the word out and donating to this wonderful project.

For those who want to read more about the people involves, the prizes, and more crowd-sourcing details, check out the Kickstarter page and boost, boost, boost!

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Mad Max Meets Apache Steampunk in Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac

Killer of Enemies

Link to Killer of Enemies on Lee and Low’s website.

Nowadays, I read so many steampunk-labeled books that very few retain the innovation factor for me. It’s fine to see tropes that establishes the aesthetic as a subgenre, but it takes a lot to make a steampunk book read fresh to me.

Then, comes along Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac: a book that’a steampunk by way of Mad Max rather than gaslamp London. Killer of Enemies is not just a gulp of fresh air, but a hyperventilating-inducing adrenaline rush. Oh, and did I mention that this young adult book was initially pitched to me as “post-apoc Apache steampunk?” Yeah, let that catchphrase sink in a bit.

[Shoot first, ask questions later. Mild spoilers ahead.]

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Le Guide Steampunk by Etienne Barillier and Arthur Morgan

Le Guide Steampunk

Click to order from the French Publisher’s website — International shipping and e-book editions also available!

Want to lean more about the French steampunk community? Friend of the blog  Arthur Morgan, the owner of French Steampunk, contacted me about the publication of his newest book, which pubs today in France!

Book description:

Gigantic machinery driven by steam, heroes in top hats and monocles, heroines in crinolines holding parasols … The imagery of steampunk has been endlessly fascinating since the creation of the genre in the 1980s. But what are its origins? And what are its key works in literature, film or comic book form?

Written by Stephen Barillier, indisputable French expert on the genre, and Arthur Morgan, co-founder of the French Steampunk community and editor in chief of French-steampunk.fr website, this guide provides an inventory of steampunk today, drawing, in particular, on interviews with Tim Powers, K. W. Jeter, James Blaylock, Greg Broadmore or Jess Nevins.

This book is an introductory guide to the steampunk movement. Among the articles on literature, movies, music, comic books, the book gathers interviews of many renown characters of the subculture. Foreword by SJ Chambers. Featuring interviews from Ann Vandermeer, James P. Blaylock, KW Jeter, Tim Powers, Greg Broadmore, Jess Nevins, Mark Hodder, George Mann, Captain Brown of Abney Park, Mike Perschon and artists from the French steampunk community.

Au français

Des machines gigantesques mues par la vapeur, des héros en hauts-de-forme et monocles, des héroïnes en crinolines et ombrelles… L’imagerie du steampunk ne cesse de fasciner depuis la création du genre dans les années 1980. Mais, quelles en sont les origines ? Et quelles sont les oeuvres majeures en littérature, au cinéma ou en bande dessinée ?

Rédigé par Étienne Barillier, spécialiste incontournable du genre, et Arthur Morgan, cofondateur de la communauté French Steampunk, ce guide dresse un état des lieux du steampunk aujourd’hui autour, notamment, de rencontres avec Tim Powers, K. W. Jeter, James Blaylock, Greg Broadmore ou Mathieu Gaborit.

Bonus

Etienne Barillier et Arthur Morgan en interview sur le site d’Actusf

A découvrir aussi en papier :
Le Guide Philip K. Dick d’Etienne Barillier (et on vous rappelle que vous recevrez l’anthologie Contrepoint gratuitement si vous achetez les deux guides)

Des nouvelles steampunk en numérique :
Celui qui bave et qui glougloute de Roland C. WAGNER
Muchamor de Christian VILA
La Chose du lac de Laurence SUHNER
L’Assassinat de la Maison du Peuple de Sylvie DENIS

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“Going Native” in Steampunk: James H. Carrott and Brian David Johnson’s Vintage Tomorrows on Tor.com

Recently, everyone and their grandmother are trying to place steampunk in the grander scope of things. Most of pop culture has poked at it at this point. Many in the SF/F community gives the subculture a passing nod (or are slowly edging away, since, being early adapters by nature, quite a few in sci-fi are tired of it already).

Still, questions about steampunk have set people in pursuit of the deeper meanings behind the aesthetic movement. Two years ago, Intel’s futurist Brian David Johnson wanted to answer the biggest one about steampunk’s rise: “Why now?” He was joined by a cultural historian James Carrott and they filmed a documentary, which permutated into a book by the same name: Vintage Tomorrows (or two books, actually. Steampunking Our Future: An Embedded Historian’s Notebook is the free e-book companion you can get online).

I had the pleasure of meeting them at NYCC a couple of years ago to hear their idea first-hand: steampunk has the potential to be a counterculture. I’m actually on the fence about this (surprised, right?). Because, as much as I love the subculture, radical change isn’t a given to participate. Lo and behold, however, when a copy handed on my desk awhile back, I gave their research a gander.

[How to fall in love with a subculture in 10 easy steps — Read the rest of Tor.com]

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