Friday, February 08, 2008


Extraordinary Engines

As I've mentioned before, I'm eagerly anticipating Nick Gevers's forthcoming steampunk anthology, Extraordinary Engines. And now it has cover and solicitation copy, even!

From The Golden Compass to online communities like Brass Goggles, Steampunk’s mix of retro Victoriana and modern technology is the hottest trend in science fiction.

Extraordinary Engines: The Definitive Steampunk Anthology brings together original stories by the foremost writers of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Edited by Nick Gevers, this collection includes Stephen Baxter, Eric Brown, Paul Di Filippo, Hal Duncan, Jeffrey Ford, Jay Lake, Ian R Macleod, Michael Moorcock, Robert Reed, Lucius Shepard, Brian Stableford, Jeff VanderMeer and more.
I'm very, very much hoping to be "...and puppet show" in this one. I'm right now elbow-deep in my own submission, "Edison's Frankenstein," which has occupied my every waking thought the last week or so, and has been tickling at the back of my head for a couple of years now. As much as I love the steampunk subgenre, I've realized that I've actually written in it only rarely, and this story and "Death on the Crosstime Express" (which will be in Lou Anders's Sideways in Crime) are the only two that fit squarely into the category (though an argument could be made that a great many of the Celestial Empire stories are steampunk, however much they lack the "flavor" one normally associated with the subgenre).

So cool.

I've been ruminating a lot lately on the prevalence of anthologies in my formative reading years. I even ran a survey about science fiction short stories over at Bookseller By Night.

I'm trying to push anthologies onto many of my teen readers, and EXTRAORDINARY ENGINES might just do the trick. Thanks, Chris!
The Last Man on Earth, edited by Isaac Asimov, Martin Greenberg, and Charles Waugh, was a huge influence on me, growing up. I still think about some of those stories at least once every couple of months.
I remember that anthology, Chris, with its blue cover and the man looking up and to the left sitting alone on a sand dune.

Great stories. Hard to pick a favorite out of it, although I did like "Flight to Forever" quite a bit, even if I don't think time could or would work that way. The story did drive home to me the idea that the political units existing now will not last forever.
Yep, that's the one, Paul. "Flight to Forever" was a terrific story. I think I mention it in the afterword to Here, There & Everywhere, or if I didn't I meant to do so, and subsequently mentioned it in interviews. The idea of linguistic shift was one that stuck with me.

The ones I'm always thinking about are "The Underdweller," "the New Reality," and "Continuous Performance," mostly. Honestly, I don't think three months go by that I don't think about all three of those stories, in one way or another. And the rest of the anthology burbles up from my unconscious at least once a year. I haven't reread the thing in at least twenty years, though, so maybe I need to go back and revisit it.

A couple of years ago, when I wrote "Last", which ended up in the John Scalzi-edited issue of Subterranean Magazine (pdf link), that anthology was foremost in my thoughts. The theme of the issue was "cliches," so you can imagine which one I went with...
Great cover. Looking forward to it...
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