Appearance: Tattered Cover Colfax, Denver, CO, Wednesday, Dec. 5th

I’m packing on up for my flight to Denver tomorrow. I’m really excited to be visiting the area again, and finally visiting the famous Tattered Cover bookstore in Colfax, Denver.

I will be there Wednesday, December 5th celebrating the release of MECHANICAL ANIMALS: TALES AT THE CRUX OF CREATURE AND TECH with my co-editor Jason Heller, and contributors Stephen Graham-Jones, Molly Tanzer, and Carrie Vaughn. It’s going to be a really great reading with signings to follow, and if you are in the Denver area I hope you will come by and say hi!

Event page with details: https://www.tatteredcover.com/events#event-id-144273

 

BOOK RELEASE: MECHANICAL ANIMALS

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Out November 27th. Cover art: Aaron Lovett

While it is true Marilyn Manson’s MECHANICAL ANIMALS has turned 20 years old, another MECHANICAL ANIMALS has been just born, and I hope will grow up to be as long-lasting and epic.

This is the anthology I co-edited with the brilliant Jason Heller (whose STRANGE STARS came out earlier this year, and needs to be on your gift list, if not already). While I haven’t talked about it too much, this project has been 5 years in the making, and it’s hard to believe it is finally out and about in the wild.

This has been a dream project, and I am thankful to Jason for being an ideal collaborator (not to mention friend), to Josh Viola, Dean Wyant, and the team at HEX Publishing for putting their faith into the book, and, most of all, to our contributors who turned this antho’s theme into a conversation about biomimcry, automata, and our complex relationship with nature and technology. Needless to say, Jason and I couldn’t do this with out their wonderful words and worlds.

We will be celebrating the book’s release at Tattered Cover (Colfax location) in Denver, on December 5th. Joining us will be Stephen Graham-Jones, Molly Tanzer, and Carrie Vaughn. It’s going to be a lot of fun, and if you are in the area, please stop by and say hi!

So, to the nitty gritty details, then:

MECHANICAL ANIMALS: TALES AT THE CRUX OF CREATURE AND TECH is a speculative fiction safari that riffs on the traditional ideals of automata to explore our strange and competitive relationship with the natural world. Biomimicry is no stranger to literature, with canonical authors like Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hans Christian Anderson, and Jules Verne setting the tone for a trope that has expounded and expanded upon what exactly separates humans from the animal kingdom as well as the boundary between machines and living beings. Featuring 15 original stories by today’s top science fiction and fantasy authors and contextual mecha-fauna essays by artist and Insect Lab Studio maker, Mike Libby, and SF encyclopedist and author Jess Nevins, Mechanical Animals presents a biomimicry menagerie of animalistic machines that will blur the lines between what is and isn’t nature’s design.

Contributor’s Include: Mike Libby, Jess Nevins, Tessa Kum, Delia Sherman, Maurice Broaddus, Sarah Hans, Lauren Beukes, Jesse Bullington, An Owomoyela, Stephen Graham Jones, Hans Christian Andersen, Molly Tanzer, Aliette de Bodard, Nick Mamatas, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Kat Howard, Michael Cisco, Adrian Van Young, Robert T. Toombs, Joseph S. Pulver, Jr., Alistair Rennie, Jules Verne, Caroline Yoachim, Carrie Vaughn

It has been called “Mind-stretching tales of synthetic fauna….” by Kirkus.

ORDERING (If you c

HEX Publishing

Amazon

Indiebound

 

Barnes & Noble

Ann VanderMeer on CALLS FOR SUBMISSION

17917211_1494939143881552_7421868425875040407_oSo, this one is going to get a bit personal, so bare with me.

I am very lucky to live in the same town as Ann VanderMeer. She lit a torch with her lit zine, Silver Web, that illuminated experimental and weird writing here in Tallahassee (and everywhere) that counteracted the academic literary presence that looms from the local universities. For years, she was a mystery to me. I’d see issues of Silver Web on the racks of my favorite used bookstore Paperback Rack (R.I.P.) and marvel that this was all happening in my proverbial backyard…way out in the dark beyond. Who was this Ann Kennedy? What was she like?

Tallahassee being Tallahassee, I eventually got to meet Ann, now VanderMeer, and better yet, got to learn and work with her when I started collaborating with her husband Jeff  on The Steampunk Bible. Even though her torch had exploded into the sun-like body of work with her editorship at Weird Tales, and seminal anthologies The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, The Time Traveler’s Almanac, and Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology, Ann took the time to talk to me like a neighbor and a friend who just happened to be into the same bizarre stuff. She talked to me like a peer and made me feel like a real writer.

I learned a lot from her during that time, and felt bolstered to pursue my fiction and be more public with it. Thanks to the encouragement of both she and Jeff, I was honored to have my first professional sale with them for “Dr. Lambshead’s Dark Room,” which appeared in their Dr. Lambshead’s Cabinet of Curiosities. (Jeff is taking his Lambshead history into the YA world with a newly sold trilogy The Adventures of Jonathan Lambshead).

So…perhaps this is way more personal than a professional thing about a book should be…but I can’t help it. When I met Ann, not only did I gain a mentor, but a friend, someone who embodies everything I ever wanted in a cool, older sister. That is why I am blabbering on because it meant the world to me that she approved of this work, because she knows what is off these pages as much as on them.

Thank you, Ann!

SPEAKING OF BACKYARD:  Tonight in Tallahassee, Jeff will be appearing at an event from Midtown Reader and The Tallahassee Democrat celebrating his new, tour de force, Borne. Ann will be joining him to interview him and help present the book. It should be a great night, and if you are in the area, definitely check it out.

Here’s info about the event, if you are in the area:  Jeff VanderMeer-Borne!

Signal Boosts: Steampunk Universe, Pseudopod, and Tiki cryptids

There are a few Kickstarters underway that I wanted to share–a little something for everyone:

7523c5a56c2c302b16ead8ac5545141a_originalSteampunk Universe is the long-anticipated follow-up to Sarah Hans‘ award-winning Steampunk World from Alliteration Ink. Like with World, this anthology is “a diverse steampunk anthology from your favorite award-winning authors featuring disabled and aneurotypical characters.” As far as I know, there isn’t anything like this out there, and I am eager to see what the Universes depicted in each story.

While this Kickstarter was fully funded yesterday, there are still 3 days to go, and we all know more $$$ means a better product as well as better pay for the writers. As the publisher outlined:

OUR GOALS

$6000 – Once we hit this fundraising goal, the project will be able to pay all the creative folks for their work. All authors will get at least the current SFWA professional rate.

$7000 – Once we reach this fundraising goal, it will add value to all backers by adding interior line artwork to half the stories!

$8000 – Once we reach this fundraising goal, it will add value to all backers by adding interior line artwork to (the other) half of the stories!

$9000 – Once we reach this fundraising goal, we will be able to give all the authors a pay increase for their stories!

There are still plenty of great Rewards to grab up, but if you are light on the pockets like yours truly, there are more frugal options as well. Every little bit helps.

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If horror is more your thing:  “Pseudopod, the world’s longest running free short horror fiction podcast, is celebrating its 10th Halloween and wants to raise funds to pay their narrators.”

I’ve been a long-time listener of Pseudopod, and while I have yet to crack their market, I have enjoyed their cinematic readings of some of my favorite writers like Thomas Ligotti and Orrin Grey, who has written an essay about the experience here. The goal is about $30,000, which sounds high, but this is actually to ensure professional payment for their narrators for the next several years. In other words, these funds go to ensuring the stability needed to continue to hire and create quality podcasts like they do.

As Rewards go–they’ve got some doozies like the Tiki Pseudopod Tower mugs designed by Horror in Clay:

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Currently, the Pseudopod Kickstarter is a little over half way funded, with 19 days left to go. For more information about Rewards and intentions, visit here.

And speaking of Tiki…

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Holy crap, would you look at Crazy Al Evans‘ Big Sea Serpent!!!!!  Can one be in love with a ceramic mug set? What will society think?

This Kickstarter has been fully funded with 28 more days to go. It is hella expensive compared to the others I have shared, and more than likely I won’t be able to participate because I have a black hole budget, but this is something worth sharing, and the images of process and inspiration make for wonderful virtual window shopping.

The BBZ Ist Quarterly Report: Publishing News, Nick Mamatas’ LAST WEEKEND, & more!

Welp, so it’s May, huh? I haven’t posted much here, other than maybe to don a mustache for a bit of fun tribute. So, that can mean one thing, and one thing only:  MASSIVE UPDATES!

Ah, but updates on what? For the most part, existence at the Bas Bleu Zombie headquarters has been like this:

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Despite 2016 trying to be more of a royal fucker than 2015, or 2013, I have been writing like a fiend. A lot of it has been freelance stuff to supplement my Lush Bath Bomb habit, most of it has been for STEAMPUNK PARIS, and the rest of it is miscellany slowly trickling into the world.

Read More

Steampunk Hands Around the World 2016: Reflections on my favorite aspect of Steampunk

 

One of my favorite things about Steampunk is how it has persevered and evolved since I entered its realm five years ago, when The Steampunk Bible came out May 2011. Immediately after that book came out, there were fears that the movement was about to jump the shark as it swam towards mainstream acceptance, but here we are in 2016, in the third year of Steampunk Hands Around the World celebrating everything but that mythical shark. Sure, there was that show with Kato last year, a fall season or two of cinched vests, corset belts, military coats, cogs and fobs, and tiny top hat fascinators in stores like Forever 21, and a few experiments within Hollywood (Sherlock Holmes series and The Three Musketeers), but Steampunk has survived all of that. None of it has diminished what makes Steampunk tick—relationships, reinvention, and revelation.

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Steampunk Hands Around the World, now in its third year, has been a great way to highlight and celebrate Steampunk’s international (r)evolution. Read more posts at Airship Ambassador‘s wonderful blog.

 

For me, personally, I have seen these three “r’s” constantly reinforced over the years, even in my own projects. I always have a bit of poseur syndrome when it comes to the Steampunk community, because I approached the movement as a journalist—an outsider documenting this interesting phenomenon that evolved from computer mods and three California guys flirting with romantic science fiction. My interest and love for nineteenth century art and literature was what drew me to it, and like many journalists who get too close to their subject, I fell in love. But I didn’t know how to really be involved. I didn’t cosplay, or have a steamsona, can’t craft things for shit, and while I aspired to write historical, gothic fiction, I lacked a true sci-fi bent. What I was into was travel, being a lit/art-nerd, and the people and histories that fell through the cracks of the 19th century and early 20th century, especially as it pertained to Romanticism, Symbolism, and Modernism. Enter Arthur Morgan.

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My co-author, Arthur Morgan and I celebrate the good news at Dr. Lupin in Pigalle, Paris. Photo courtesy of Chris Bonnefoy (http://www.eclatsdevie.com)

He contacted us in 2010 regarding French Steampunk for SB, and as I interviewed him and read the interviews he graciously translated for us, things finally started to click for me. Within the work of French Steampunk artists like Etienne BarillerFuturavapeur, Annliz Bonin, and Sam van Olffen, I saw reinvented those movements I had studied and loved:  Dada, Surrealism, Symbolism, and Romanticism.

So, yeah, Arthur and I became fast friends, and when I told him I would be abroad promoting The Steampunk Bible, he told me he had been working on a tour of Steampunk Paris he’d like to show me. Here was an angle to Steampunk that had never occurred to me. The year before, I indulged in some literary travel in Europe visiting a few sites found within Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, but Steampunk as a mode of travel, galvanic machines aside, never occurred to me. I asked Morgan if he’d write about this with me, and he agreed. The rest is history—we wrote these essays in 2012 and had the amazingly talented fashion photographer Nicolas Meunier illustrate it for us, and now we are writing a travel book about Steampunk Paris, coming out this fall from Pelekenisis press.

Through this writing, through my love of France and its literature, art, and culture, through my love of travel, I finally feel like I am participating and contributing in a way that only I can—and this is what I love most about Steampunk. No matter your interests, your expertise, your background, your goals, there is something for you, and everyone, here, and that “something” is guaranteed to reveal things you’ve never seen, things lost through the cracks of history, and the past, present, and the future becomes far more connected and diverse than how you had previously known it, making the world a much more fun and interesting place to inhabit.

Victor Sierra: Steampunk Paris Music

The Paris-based Steampunk band Victor Sierra is currently crowdfunding for their third album DARK PASSENGER at Indiegogo. I’m not very good at describing music, but If you can imagine taking the world of Sam van Olffen, orchestrating it with strains of Abney Park, Concrete Blonde, and some Rockabilly/Bluegrass Americana–that may come close to describing their sound. They are a really interesting project, and a great presence on the French Steampunk/Steampunk Paris scene.

You can find out more about the band, the fundraiser (which is 1k away with 12 days to go), and their latest project here.

Fermentation Lounge Reading: Featuring Molly Tanzer with Jesse Bullington & Selena Chambers

So Molly Tanzer has written this AMAZING weird-western called VERMILION (Word Horde Press). It was released last April and has been blazing trails of both the critical and selling-like-hotcakes paths. If you don’t believe me, check out NPR’s review here.

Anyway, it just so happens Molly Tanzer will be in Tallahassee (if you didn’t know, she’s got roots here, y’all!) this week and is having a book-release bash at Fermentation Lounge, May 12, at 7 pm. She’ll be reading from the book, while giving Jesse Bullington and I a tiny-bit of limelight with short readings of our own.

If you happen to be in the area, we’d love for you to come by, experience some weird lit, drink some brews, and help us toast Molly and Lou Merriwether into the glory hours. Details and updates can be found at our Facebook event page here.

Fermentation Lounge is located at 415 All Saints Street #113., Tallahassee, FL  32301
Fermentation Lounge is located at 415 All Saints Street #113., Tallahassee, FL 32301

Appearance: Anomalycon, March 27-March 29, 2015 in Denver, CO

I am very excited to be returning to my second Anomalycon as a guest along side such Steampunk/SF luminaries like Cory Doctorow, Ay-Leen the Peacemaker (a/k/a Diana Pho), Madeline Foxtrot (a/k/a Ashley Rogers), Christine Rose (formerly a/k/a O.M. Grey), Carrie Vaughn, Jason Heller and Molly Tanzer to just name a few of the awesome line-up, which you can see here.

The programmingphoto looks great, and I submit my own schedule below as just a sampling as to what con-goers can expect this coming weekend.

FRIDAY

Fri 5pm–The Future of Steampunk:  Steampunk isn’t dead, or even plateauing. New fiction, exciting ideas and where the genre is going beyond the world of written words. S. Chambers, M. Tanzer, S. Ficklin, S. West. Fiction

Fri 7pm–Closing the Loop:  Editing and re-editing and outlining and reviewing and getting your book out to an agent…you have so much to do now that you’ve finished your first novel draft. Where do you go from here? B. Dornbusch, S. Chambers, J. Brawner, Ay-leen the Peacemaker

Fri 8pm–Why Are We Still Talking About This?:  No, seriously. Aren’t you tired of hearing about angry minorities? Why are we still talking about feminism and equality? Isn’t it here yet? C. Doctorow, S. Chambers, M. Fowler, J. Heller, C. Rose (M)
SATURDAY

Sat 10am–Tropes and the Victorians:  Did they really all wear corsets? And what’s with the layers? S. Holl, S. Schafer, S. Chambers

Sat 11am–Steampunk, Anarchy, and Socio-political Activism:  Steampunk is on the rise and fans of the genre enjoy more than just the aesthetic. But what about using the core of a movement to bring about positive change in the political or socio-economical climate? C. Doctorow, S. Chambers, J. Heller, A. Rogers.

Sat 1pm–Author Free-For-All:  Don’t miss this wild answer to every question you never thought to ask your favorite authors! Twitter meets steroids. S. Chambers, C. Doctorow, K. Seibert (M), J. Nye, S. Litore, G. DeMarco, J. A. Owen, M. Tanzer, M. Mohanraj, J. Koyanagi, Ay-leen the Peacemaker, L.J. Hachmeister, T. Heermann

Sat 3pm–Steampunk Paris:  Travel Paris in real style. Only Steampunk will do. S. Chambers

Sat 5pm–Steampunk World Interview with S.J. Chambers and Molly Tanzer:  Beyond the Tropes talks Steampunk with S.J. Chambers and Molly Tanzer

Sat 6pm–Steampunk is Taking Over The World!:  When people think “Steampunk” Jules Verne and Wild Wild West often come to mind. But the last 50 years of media have been full of hints of Steampunk. It’s everywhere, and there are things you need to see and read.  J. Heller, S. Chambers, M. Acevedo

 

SUNDAY

Sun 12pm–The Grand Tea Hosted by Psyche Corporation and S.J. Chambers, featuring a special painting demo by Aria. Tickets are only available ahead of time (before pre-registration closes). Featuring glorious afternoon tea fare and hours of wonderful company and entertainment. An AnomalyCon special event! S. Chambers, Aria, Psyche Corporation, C. Rose 12th Floor Ballroom

Sun 2pm–Beyond the 19th Century Steampunk Fiction is often categorized as analyzing the future by looking to the past. Explore works that go beyond this past concept and apply Steampunk ideals to other timelines. S. Litore, S. Chambers, M. Tanzer History (Or Fiction)

Sun 3pm–New Fiction Now Writers Reading Cool Stuff that just came out. Pick up a new favorite. M. Tanzer, S. Chambers, S. West, S. Ficklin Fiction

Sun 4pm
COLLAPSE!

Steampunk Hands Around the World 2015

Kevin D. Steil’s brilliant Valentine initiative to Steampunk’s legacy and future rides again. I will be participating–still brainstorming on the how there–so I will blog more about this as it gets underway. Meanwhile, for details on what you can expect and how you can participate in this year’s STEAMPUNK HANDS AROUND THE WORLD, check out the deets at Kevin’s awesome blog, AIRSHIP AMBASSADOR, here.

https://airshipambassador.wordpress.com/2015/01/17/announce-hands-2015/