dmp: Taking a stroll in my finery (Default)
Close up of Danae Stratou's "Desert Breath", which would be an apt illustration for this novelette. Image courtesy of io9. Click for link.

The Xipéhuz were created by “J. H. Rosny (aîné)” and appeared in “Les Xipéhuz” (“The Shapes,” L’Immolation, 1887). “J. H. Rosny (aîné)” was the pen name of Joseph Henri Honoré Böex (1866-1940), a French author. For many years after his death Böex was forgotten, primarily because the majority of his work was written in disrespected genres like science fiction and the prehistoric romance. But in recent years critics and academics have begun paying him more attention and giving him the credit he deserves. Böex produced some remarkable science fiction and is considered (with Jules Verne) to be one of the most influential figures in the development of science fiction in France. “Les Xipéhuz” is one of his most famous, and best, stories.

“Les Xipéhuz” is set in the Middle East, circa 5000 B.C.E. A nomad tribe, the Pjehu, discover a group of “translucent bluish cones, point uppermost, each nearly half the bulk of a man...each one had a dazzling star near its base,” clustered around a spring. When the Pjehu draw close to the cones, or “the Shapes” as the narrator calls them, the Shapes attack them, killing many, although they only target warriors and avoid killing women, children, the sick and the aged. But the Shapes do not pursue the Pjehu beyond a certain distance and ignore them if they leave the Shapes alone. The Pjehu, shaken, consult a group of local priests who decide that the Shapes are gods and that they must be sacrificed to. But the Shapes kill those priests who approach them.

The priests experiment with slaves and determine the distance beyond which the Shapes will not pursue humans, and then the priests set that boundary with stakes and decree that the Shapes are to be left alone. But other tribes are not told about the priests’ decree or ignore it, and members of those tribes cross the boundary and are massacred. Then the Shapes begin expanding their territory. When the tribes try to resist, hundreds of their warriors are killed by the Shapes. All the tribes of Mesopotamia begin fearing for the existence of Man, and some men turn to dark cults.

The tribes’ wise men at last consult the hermit Bakhun. Long ago he had abandoned a nomadic life for a pastoral one, and in so doing flourished. Bakhun believes in odd and unusual things, like the sun, moon, and stars being “luminous masses” rather than gods, and that “men should really believe only in those things tested by measurement.” Bakhun tells the wise men that he will dedicate his life to studying the Shapes. He does so, and draws a number of significant conclusions, most important of which is that the Shapes are living beings rather than spirits or gods.

Read more on BeyondVictoriana.com
dmp: Taking a stroll in my finery (Default)
Outlined routes towards discovering and conversantly addressing Carla Speed McNeil’s graphic series Finder.


Panel from Finder: Sin-Eater, Issue 9: Artist/writer: Carla Speed McNeil, Lightspeed Press, March 1998

One inspired comic maker, Carla Speed McNeil, who began self-publishing Finder through her own imprint of Lightspeed Press in 1996, has been ardently continuing to develop this ongoing graphic series since 2005 as a webcomic. The creative commitment McNeil has applied toward the progressive formation of Finder has been appreciably recognized receiving a Lulu Award in 1997 and numerous Ignatz Awards leading to several Eisner nominations since 2001 1 In transitioning her successive work to a digital domain, McNeil has continued to draw critical accolades while expanding readers’ awareness within this worldly field, and in 2009, Finder was duly awarded an esteemed Eisner for ‘Best Digital Comic’. Topically, McNeil has accepted a representative offer from one of the foremost comic book publishers in the United States, and her prolific graphic saga will soon be widely republished in chronicle volumes by Dark Horse Comics.

Read more on BeyondVictoriana.com
dmp: Taking a stroll in my finery (Default)

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea 1871 title page. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Did Verne create “steampunk” characters in his novels? Though I cannot define Verne as being a steampunk writer, I can say that Verne’s works, while written in a cut and dry cataloguing style, nonetheless emphasizes moral and social qualities as much as it does scientific ones. Given these circumstances, I will consider what are considered important values that a person should have according to the characters in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea 1 and The Mysterious Island. 2 Moreover, by investigating the value systems these characters hold, we can compare how they hold up to the characters in today’s modern steampunk books.

Read More on BeyondVictoriana.com
dmp: Taking a stroll in my finery (Default)
The Almirante Latorre (Chilean Navy), as the HMS Canada by the time this photo was taken. This was one of Chile's first modern battleships, built in the early 1900s. Click for source.

“A Question of Reciprocity” was a serial written by Robert Duncan Milne and appeared in San Francisco Examiner, November 15-22, 1891. Milne (1844-1899) was a San Franciscan journalist and writer whose alcoholism first destroyed his substantial talent and then killed him. During his lifetime Milne was the best of the surprisingly large number of science fiction writers of end-of-the-century San Francisco.

The new Chilean government, brought to power by a revolution, refuses to pay for a huge new battleship that the previous government had ordered. The battleship is instead purchased by a group of Chilean business magnates. They are embittered with the United States because of America’s economic and political policies with Chile, and they have decided to use the battleship to recoup some of their financial losses by holding part of the United States for ransom.

Read more on BeyondVictoriana.com
dmp: Taking a stroll in my finery (Default)
Seems like a while since I've posted something that wasn't mirroring Beyond Victoriana, but guess what? I write for other blogs too! (And I'm not just talking about my gig at Tor.com - Steampunk).

I'm also a reviewer at the SFFPortal, reading up on the latest sci-fi on the market.

Which is what I usually am doing for my job anyways.

My whole life is becoming one giant nerdy publishing intersect.

Anyway, if you're interested, my review for the Feb 2011 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction is up now. Read it here.
dmp: Taking a stroll in my finery (Default)
Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories is a very unique anthology for a variety of reasons. By unique, I'm not stating that this anthology is tailor-made for only a specific target audience (though it may scream "niche" to the average reader.) Still, upon first impression, a reader might wonder: would someone who isn't queer or female or a romance lover still enjoy this book? Torquere Books, known for its queer and alternative literature, may be jumping onto the growing steampunk bandwagon that is gaining speed in the publishing world. And, some people might fear the worst after steampunk Palin-- is Steam-Powered just another trend-hopper?

No, it is not. To think so would do a great disservice to the quality of work contained within this volume, and the literary thoughtfulness from both the contributing authors and Steam-Powered's editor JoSelle Vanderhooft.

These stories feature the work of several prominent and up-and-coming writers in the SF/F world. It starts off strong with N.K. Jeminsin's "The Effluent Engine," previously published on her blog for the A Story for Haiti fund-raising campaign, and also includes the work of Georgina Bruce, D.L. MacInnes, Sara M. Harvey, Beth Wodzinski, Rachel Manija Brown, Shira Lipkin, Matthew Kressel, Meredith Holmes, Teresa Wymore, Tara Sommers, Mikki Kendall, Shweta Narayan, Mike Allen, and Amal El-Mohtar.

Read more on BeyondVictoriana.com
dmp: Taking a stroll in my finery (Default)

In the wake of the Steampunk Kurfluffle that started with Charles Stross' complaint against steampunk, Tobias Buckell wrote an interesting response about fantasy’s tendency to romanticize the past and mentioned his own work:


But ultimately, I share Stross’s discomfort, which is why my steampunk plays have often been about adopting the style and nodding to the history. Crystal Rain, what I called a Caribbean steampunk novel, is about Caribbean peoples and the reconstituted Mexica (Azteca in the book) of old with a Victorian level of technology, using the clothing/symbols of steampunk, but making their artificiers black. Sadly, Crystal Rain, written in 2006, seems to have come out just before all the hotness, as it rarely gets mentioned as a steampunk novel whenever these celebrations happen.

So, now that my curiosity was piqued, I had to go out and get the book to see for myself how he handles steampunk before “the hotness.”


Read on BeyondVictoriana.com

dmp: Taking a stroll in my finery (Default)
This weekend, I'm rockin' it out at New York Comic Con. I'm there mostly doing the Day Job thing, unfortunately (though, if I can, I might wear my steampunk for Sunday.)

For anyone who manages to recognize me in my civvies, though, you'll probably end up being filmed or photographed, if you're looking fabulous and want to flaunt it.

In the meantime, enjoy the linkspam below. This edition features lots of interesting essays, some awesome postcards, and a video of my interview with Cherie Priest.

Read on BeyondVictoriana.com
dmp: Taking a stroll in my finery (Default)
This weekend I'll be at ConnectiCon instigating havoc with my steampunk friends and helping out with several panels. On top of that, "Steam Around the World: Steampunk Beyond Victoriana" is making a comeback! I'm wicked excited to be presenting this panel again. For all attendees, feel free to stop in--

Saturday, July 10th
7:30 - 8:30 PM
Room Location: Check your schedules


And for those of you in the area, I will also be at the Steampunk Bizarre on Sunday for the steampunk meet-up. There should be some nifty artists presenting their work, so I hope to see some of you there.

In the meantime, check out the collection of links for your viewing/reading pleasure.

Read on BeyondVictoriana.com
dmp: (Ay-leen the Peacemaker)
I just mentioned Expanded Horizons in my latest Beyond Victoriana post, but they deserve to be highlighted because their mission statement is pure win. Quoted below:

What We’re About

Speculative fiction is any fiction which asks, at its core, “What if?” Speculative fiction encompasses science fiction (SF), fantasy, horror, slipstream, and other speculative genres.

The mission of this webzine is to increase diversity in the field of speculative fiction, both in the authors who contribute and in the perspectives presented. We feature speculative fiction stories and artwork, as well as essays about speculative fiction and fandom from diverse points of view.

Speculative fiction is an uncomfortable art – it is a tool by which we artists push readers and viewers outside of their comfort zones into the truly alien, and in so doing, help them to face themselves and grow as human beings. Excellent speculative fiction depends upon excellent “perspective shifting” skills- the same “mental muscles” we use when we learn to live, work and play with people from different racial, ethnic, cultural and sub-cultural backgrounds. In forming Expanded Horizons, we aim to push the field of speculative fiction out of its own “comfort zone” toward increased inclusion of, and comfort with, diverse perspectives, backgrounds and points of view.

It is comparatively easy to ask “what if?” about an alien culture that is labeled “fictional” than it is to learn to see through the eyes of those people who are different from us in our own neighborhoods and communities. In the real world, we have to take risks- and we can’t close the book if we don’t like what we see. But the speculative fiction community enjoys a challenge, embraces the “alien” with child-like curiosity. What if the readers and writers of speculative fiction applied their “perspective shifting” skills not just to the story on the page, but also to their own communities? What if speculative fiction itself aimed to push readers, writers and editors alike toward appreciating actual diversity with the same enthusiasm as we approach fictional diversity?

What if?

Our Mission

The mission of Expanded Horizons is to increase diversity in speculative fiction and to create a venue for the authentic expression of under-represented voices in the genre. We do not publish material which does not fit with and further the mission of our magazine.
Our specific objectives include (but are not limited to):
  • Increasing the number of authentically portrayed people of color in speculative fiction
  • Increasing authentic ethnic diversity in speculative fiction
  • Increasing the number of women authors in speculative fiction
  • Increasing the number of authentically portrayed gay, lesbian, bisexual and asexual people in speculative fiction
  • Increasing the number of authentically portrayed transgender, transsexual, intersex and genderqueer⁄fluid people in speculative fiction
  • Increasing the number of authentically portrayed people with disabilities in speculative fiction
  • Publishing essays on speculative fiction and fandom which relate closely to the challenges and importance of diversifying the field
  • Creating a venue so that under-represented minorities who tend to be represented unrealistically or negatively in most speculative fiction may speak out in their own voice
We are expressly welcoming of submissions from esoteric minorities, including Otherkin in the broadest and most inclusive definition of the term, Vampyres, and people with rare, energetic sensitivities and awarenesses.




Their submissions guidelines gave me a fangasm when I read it too.



December 2012

S M T W T F S
      1
2345678
91011 12131415
16171819202122
232425 26272829
3031     

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags