Posts Tagged ‘science fiction’

Diversify! The watch word for business, life, investments – and publishing! Sometimes you don’t know what works until you try a little bit of everything. In the midst of a busy gallery schedule and upcoming Art Walk, a serialized steampunk story is in the works. Why a serial? Perhaps it is a great way to determine whether or not a story is compelling – if the first few installments don’t attract attention, why continue? A novel is a full-time commitment as well as a huge risk. However, that doesn’t mean one shouldn’t experiment with different formats.

Here are two recommended resources for authors in general, and steampunk authors in particular. Get your hands on the February 2014 edition of Writer’s Digest and read the article “Best of Both Worlds” by Chuck Wendig. This no-nonsense article addresses issues that many authors face who find themselves navigating through various publishing format options. There is a statistical insert based on an author survey conducted by Digital Book World in 2012, identifying not only approximate income for three types of writers (self-published, traditionally published and hybrid authors), but show how much work goes into self-marketing. There is also a useful article about outlining and story mapping “7 Steps to Creating a Flexible Outline for Any Story,”  by K.M. Weiland and recommendations about which publishing experts to follow online, “10 Top Publishing Insiders (& Outsiders) to Follow Online,” by Jane Friedman.

The other resource is the book “Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction,” by Orson Scott Card, Philip Athans, Jay Lake, published in 2013. What is great about this book is how it breaks down not only the differences between these genres, but the conversational writing tone. The history, culture, glossary of terms for fantasy and science fiction makes this a nice reference book. In addition, the authors’ first-hand experience with these writing styles is invaluable.

Find steampunk and science fiction books and comic books at Steam at Harper’s Ferry, as well as our soft cover “Guide to Protecting Fictional Characters.”

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Steam was hoping to participate in the Small Press Expo this year, but was an  unsuccessful would-be registrant. The tables are sold out already! But, since the plan was to publish online first, and then put out a print version in time for the event, all is not lost! There will be four SciFi stories released through Steam at Harper’s Ferry Press this year. The first story, while not exactly Steampunk, well, not steampunk at all, is hopefully entertaining to you. It is Monday afterall.

Here is the abstract for The Acme Corporation, a political science fiction fantasy, by V. Edwards Clarke:

“By 2020, the Libertarian Party was renamed the Capitalist Party. The ACME
Corporation dominated the health care, communications and entertainment
industries. ACME’s revolutionary product VisuaClear was invented to manage
perceived mental health costs, and was supported directly by the Capitalist
Party. But when a powerhouse like ACME finances campaigns and sells products
that exploit thought, what remains of a citizen’s free will?”

Thanks to Bot Studios for putting the story in Kindle format and designing the cover.



Our next story, “Of Steam and Spring” illustrated by Kasey Hendricks (whose print “Sleep in Heavenly Timepiece” you may have seen in the gallery) will be out next month.


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Time was I would see a word like “dystopia” look it up, move on and I wouldn’t see the word again for years. This week, I have read the word in almost every media format from newspapers to magazine, online listings, movie and book reviews and tweets. Is the universe giving me a clue? Is dystopia the new black? Or is my usual fare of historical murder mysteries not dystopian, by definition?

It started with a review of The Hunger Games. Then the Smithsonian magazine. Finally, The New York Times Book Review listings for Print/Children’s Best Sellers under Paperback Books and Series the number one book reviews for both categories contained the word dystopia:

“Divergent, by Veronica Rogh … A teenager must prove her mettle in a dystopia split …”
“The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins … In a dystopia, a girl fights”

Egads! Am I a fatalist?

It is interesting that both utopia and dystopia are frequently incorporated into the science fiction genre, i.e., it is not real, people! However, it may be even more interesting that dystopia is also a medical condition where there is a “malposition of an anatomical part” according to Merriam-Webster. But the Smithsonian used the word as if it is a future state of being as in “[l]ately our future seems to have grown more dystopian, worst-case scenarios waiting for us at every turn.” (BTW, I would highly recommend reading this issue. There are articles about or by Richard Clarke, E.O. Wilson, Bruce Sterling, the Futurist art and transhumanist movements, Arthur Radebaugh, and Neal Stephenson, not to mention Casanova, proms, giant snakes, and Libyan women.)

So as I wade more deeply into the steampunk genre, should I wear a life jacket?

Tom Sawyer cross-bows designed and crafted by Pith Helmet Provisions, as well as the new graphic novel version of Soulless by Gail Carriger are available at Steam at Harper’s Ferry.

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