Wandering Spirits Update: August

Wandering Spirits:  Traveling Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN  has been out in the world for a few months, and I’m happy to report that, not only is it alive, but doing well! I have been getting thrills from seeing Book Selfies on Facebook (scrapbooked below), and getting cool shout-out on various Frankenstein related content like Orrin Grey‘s piece on the “9 Best Frankenstein Movies” for The Lineup.com. I was especially honored to be interviewed by Nate Pedersen over at the Fine Books and Collectibles blog. If you want some “behind the music”* access to this project, you’ll certainly find it here.

Wandering Spirits selfies
Before you think I’m super creepy, I asked and obtained permission from all above. Many thanks to Nick Mamtas, Molly Tanzer, Larva Jane Parker, Travis Neisler (who won the Frankenstein 200 giveaway), and Anya Martin!

It’s also garnered some 5-star reviews at Amazon and on GoodReads:

Ross Lockhart wrote on both venues:

“A stunning presentation of Selena Chambers’ epistolary travelogue exploring the locales of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this Tallhat Press chapbook includes breathtaking illustrations by Yves Tourigny, an afterword providing larger context and history of the travelogue, and extensive notes. Fans of Frankenstein would do themselves a favor to pick this up before it goes out of print in early 2017.”

Jake Marley wrote on Amazon:

“I am dearly hoping that Wandering Spirits will tutn out to be the first in a series of literary travel books. Selena Chambers brings us along for an unforgettable journey through the world of Frankenstein, offering up charming insight into the past, and into her subject.

The book felt like a really great escape, and with the beautiful artwork by Yves Tourigny it all came together is a perfect package.”

And over at Goodreads, Adam Gorman said that it was:

“A short but enjoyable investigation in epistolary form. I highly recommend this chapbook for anybody who works with or enjoyed Shelley’s Frankenstein.”

Reviews and social buzz are critical to writers and indie projects like this, so an infinite amount of thanks to the gentlemen above who took the time to review Wandering Spirits, and also to my friends and colleagues who have bought the book, posted awesome pics of it online, and helped me share the news, and spread the word! If you, dear reader, would like to help with further word-spreading, I am available for interviews or guest posts about this, or anything else, really. Just shoot me an email at: LeFilleHST@gmail.com.

As you may recall, Wandering Spirits: Traveling Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN is a bicentennial, special-limited edition designed and annotated by Yves Tourigny and Tallhat Press. Only 200 copies will be made, and only then available for 9 months (as of last June). So, current stats are:  152 copies are left, with 7 more months to go. If you would like to purchase a copy, you can do so at the below links:

Order now on Amazon.com
Order now on Amazon.ca
Order now on Amazon.co.uk

*Quoting friend J. T. Glover, who described it as thus, and I’m stealing because it makes me sound much cooler than I am.

 

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.

Steampunk Paris authors
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.

Vintage Scenes and Stuckism in Mungbeing 54: New Directions

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The bottle that inspired my new story “Vintage Scenes #1: Bandol, Chateau La Rouvière, 2002” appearing in Mungbeing magazine.

After ten years of keeping the fringe and avant-garde alive and well, Mungbeing magazine has launched its final year with Issue 54: New Directions.  Editor Mark Givens has launched Pelekinesis, a small press that is specializing on promoting independent artists and writers across the myriad publishing platforms, and will be hanging the Mungbeing hat up to focus more on that.  But, Mungebeing has had an incredible history tackling many topical themes, and helping to bring to light underground and unclassifiable work under one roof.

I actually discovered Mungbeing through  Stuckism, when the magazine ran a Stuckist and Outsider Art Issue.  Throughout college, I was obsessed with movements like Stuckism and Kitsch, and even tried to start a Florida Stuckist group with a one-time issue online zine. Alas, it didn’t stick. However, I believe my interest in Stuckism and Remodernism shaped much of my sensibilities that have allowed me to appreciate, enjoy, and participate in retro movements like Steampunk.

Stuckism is now 15 years old, and this issue has an impressive amount of material covering the movement including exclusive art, interviews, and footage from people who have championed and observed the movement.

This issue also happens to have the first of my new series Vintage Scenes that involve pairings of a specific bottle of wine with a happening. Some of the stories are fictional memoir, others not so much, but one thing you can count on, the centerpiece of these stories have been or will be enjoyed by yours truly. This story focuses on the changing wine industry, and the best damn wine I’ve ever had, a 2002 Bandol which I actually drunk with my husband in a Genevan hotel after visiting Mont Blanc. God, memories in a bottle! You can read them here.