The World SF Blog

Speculative Fiction from Around the World

Trailer: Kung Fu Zero

Cause it’s Wednesday!

New Chinese kung fu steampunk movie Kung Fu Zero.

October 24, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Comments Off

Ekaterina Sedia interviewed at Airship Ambassador

Ekaterina Sedia is interviewed at Airship Ambassador, talking about steampunk, fashion and latest novel Heart of Iron. Part one of the interview is here, and part two here.

AA: The Alchemy of Stone was about feminism, free will, class struggle, and religion, and The House of Discarded Dreams is a place where forgotten dreams fester and take on a life of their own.Heart of Iron released this past summer and I really enjoyed the creative descriptions and imagery while reading it. For those people who haven’t read it yet, what is it about?

ES: Ostensibly, it is about alternate history in which Russia and China (well, the Taipings) allied against Britain and the Ottoman Empire – and the plot involves our heroine, Sasha Trubetskaya, trying to forge this alliance with help from her indomitable aunt, some suspiciously politically acute fur traders, heretical hussars, and some well-known legendary characters, against meddling and resistance from the British Secret Service led by Dame Florence Nightingale. But I guess people will enjoy the book most if they don’t expect a heart-stopping adventure but rather meditation on nature of heroism, national identity, strength, and the role of embarrassment in world history. It’s a very geeky little book, so be warned! I even wrote a historical compendium for it – and you can find it here:

AA: What was the motivation for writing Heart of Iron?

ES: I already spent the advance! Joking aside, I wanted to write alternate history dealing with a place other than the US or Western Europe, and I wanted to address concerns different from the ones Western-focused alternate history explore. Here, we are not looking at manifest destiny, but rather at two countries in the grip of dramatic change (the Taiping Rebellion in China, the dramatic reformism following the success of the Decembrist Revoltin Russia), and at people who are trying to control the chaos around them out of the sense of self-preservation, not necessarily heroics. And as in all my books, I was interested in the themes of oppression and people living under oppressive rules – and still doing their best.

 

March 22, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 1 Comment

European Steampunk Convention Fundraiser

The European Steampunk Convention is a new initiative to create a European-based steampunk convention. It is currently running a fund-raiser, and is looking to raise $6000.

The Vision

The steampunk scene is active in Europe, more precisely, there are local, regional and in some cases country-wide scene active, but what we lack is something connecting us all. The European Steampunk Convention is there to change this. It will provide a means to bring all the steampunks in Europe together.

And: A lot will happen online, so everybody around the world can join in!

How it will happen:

The steampunk scene is active in Europe, more precisely, there are local, regional and in some cases country-wide scenes but is also Europe is a big and unfortunately politically divided place. It is not always easy or cheap to travel to another country; thus, we are choosing a different approach:

We are bringing the convention to you.

The date for the European Steampunk Convention will be September 29th – 30th 2012. There will be several events all across Europe. One major event will be The Second Steampunk and Gaslight Convention in Luxembourg, another one in Prague . If all goes as planned, there will also be one or several things happening in Spain, France, Germany, Croatia, Italy, Norway, Sweden and Russia.

We are going to stream all these events into the internet so you can join in wherever you are. There will also be bands playing at some locations and we have planned for streaming the concerts, provided we can afford it.

So, all you need is internet access and ideally a webcam. There will be a virtual meeting place for all of us on the internet where we can connect. Of course it is more fun if you are surrounded by friends, but if you are the sole steampunk in your region, you can join us online!

What We Need & What You Get

The places where the events will happen, the technical equipment and the artists we want to hire do not come for free. Some musicians have offered to play just to be part of the event but we still want to give them something for their trouble. Thus: The Funds we raise will go into renting places, getting equipment and booking artists.

You get a unique steampunk event the likes of which has never been attempted before and some goodies, if you choose to chip in.

Other Ways You Can Help

If you are a musician, a DJ, a technician, if you know, own or have access to a great location, get in touch. 
Also, if you can provide mobile internet equipment, your assistance will be much appreciated.

And of course: You can spread the word!

March 1, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Comments Off

New Singapore Steampunk Anthology!

We’ve been covering various steampunk anthologies from around the world, and the most recent one comes from Singapore: The Steampowered Globe: Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy contains 7 original stories by Singaporean writers. it is edited by Maisarah Abu Samah and Rosemary Lin.  io9 reviews:

The Happy Smiley Writers Group is a group of seven writers located in Singapore. Through their Two Trees Pte. Ltd (http://twotrees.com.sg/books.html) micro-press they have published three science fiction anthologies since 2009. Their latest, The Steampowered Globe (ISBN 978‑981‑07‑0549‑7, SGD$18), is a steampunk anthology.

Part of the surprise comes from the collection’s very existence. Literary steampunk from Singapore? Obviously, there are a number of science fiction writers in Singapore and more generally in Southeast Asia, but nearly all of the steampunk short stories and novels published so far are from Western writers. I thought The Steampowered Globe would be an excellent opportunity to discover how Southeast Asian authors viewed steampunk and wrote it, and what the differences might be between steampunk written in the West, from descendants of the colonizers, and steampunk written in the East, from descendants of the colonized.

Maisarah Abu Samah, one of the two editors of Steampowered Globe, said that

the state of steampunk in Singapore is still budding…mostly people are exposed to it due to video games and books. Besides online influences, cosplay conventions are one way to spread what steampunk is for all the subculture fashions appear in them. For the writers in this anthology, some of them knew what steampunk was while others just read our explanation and references on what it was in our submission call page.

This raises the question: Why do a steampunk anthology? Add to that the fact that the guidelines for submissions to the anthology read, “No depressive ending, no preaching, no agendas, no angst-ridden misery.” Aub Samah said,

We placed that at the back of the book because depressive endings with angst‑ridden misery is prevalent here in local (Singapore) publishing. The bestsellers tend to be depressive woe is me cultural stories. It would have been okay if it wasn’t just that but there you go, we wanted an anthology that was a smack in the face to show that genre fiction exists besides literature texts. This anthology was to prove that yes, there are writers here who write science fiction, steampunk or genre fiction and that it is okay to write that. It is difficult to publish genre fiction here as people don’t think it is commercially viable or that no one wants to read them since they’re not assessment or text books.

What were the results? A 144 page, seven story anthology with a high rate of success—high by any standards, not just those of a writers group micro-press anthology. The fact that so many of the stories succeed is a tribute both to the Happy Smiley Writers Group and to editors Abu Samah and Rosemary Lim. – continue reading or buy a Kindle edition of the book!

February 29, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

Editorial: ESC – The European Steampunk Convention, by Marcus Rauchfuss

Today on the WSB, Marcus Rauchfuss of Germany writes for us about his plans for a European Steampunk Convention.

ESC – The European Steampunk Convention

By Marcus Rauchfuss

Some weeks ago, I was twittering with Lavie and he suggested that what Europe needed was a big steampunk convention. Thus, the idea for ESC – The European Steampunk Convention was born.

The Vision:

The steampunk scene is active in Europe, more precisely, there are local, regional and in some cases country-wide scene active, but what we lack is something connecting us all. The European Steampunk Convention is there to change this. It will provide a means to bring all the steampunks in Europe together.

How it will happen:

Europe is a big and unfortunately politically divided place. It is not always easy or cheap to travel to another country; thus, we are choosing a different approach:

We are bringing the convention to you.

The date for the European Steampunk Convention will be September 29th – 30th 2012. There will be several events all across Europe. One major event will be The Second Steampunk and Gaslight Convention in Luxembourg. If all goes as planned, there will also be one or several things happening in Spain, France, Germany, Croatia, Italy, Norway, Sweden and Russia.

We are going to stream all these events into the internet so you can join in wherever you are. There will also be bands playing at some locations and we have planned for streaming the concerts, provided we can afford it.

So, all you need is internet access and ideally a webcam. There will be a virtual meeting place for all of us on the internet where we can connect. Of course it is more fun if you are surrounded by friends, but if you are the sole steampunk in your region, you can join us online!

What you can do:

If you can contribute, if you are a musician, a DJ, a technician, if you know, own or have access to a great location, get in touch.
Also, if you can provide mobile internet equipment, your assistance will be much appreciated. We are also obviously happy if people are willing to donate some funds, since thus far, the money is coming from our savings. The European Steampunk Convention will not be a commerical thing. And concerning this matter: If you know any reliable crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter which also accepts non-American projects, let us know. We cannot have our eyes everywhere.

And of course: You can spread the word!

Let us work together and create the first European Steampunk Convention!

How to get in touch:

You can find us on Facebook (LINK: http://www.facebook.com/pages/EuroSteamCon/187444791332522)  and on our official site at http://eurosteamcon.com

December 2, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

Philippine Steampunk Comic High Society Released!

Via Rocket Kapre:

The mysterious steampunk comic book collaboration between myself [Paolo Chikiamco] and the wonderful Hannah Buena has now been released! Flipside Komix has published “High Society” (formerly “Kataastaasan“)  onAmazon as a Kindle comic. It’s an alternative history story that mixes automata, Philippine folklore, and the British invasion of Manila in the 1760s. It’s also the first comic book story set in the world of the “Wooden War”, which was also the setting of my story in Philippine Speculative Fiction 6.

There’s not a lot of Philippine steampunk stories out there (I’m eagerly awaiting “The Marvelous Adventures of the Amazing Doctor Rizal”), and none that mix it up with Philippine mythology quite the way that Hannah and I do here, so if that interests you, please do buy a copy!

November 21, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 4 Comments

The Problem With “Asian Steampunk”

Over at Tor.com, Jess Nevins has an article entitled The Problem With “Asian Steampunk”. Here’s an example Nevins gives of Asian Steampunk:

  • Zeppelin pirates are a staple of steampunk, but nautical pirates were a reality in the waters of Southeast Asia. Notable among these were the female pirates, from Zheng Yi Sao and Cai Qian in the beginning of the 19th century to Lo Hon Cho and Lai Choi San in the early part of the 20th century. These women were captains and admirals, commanding dozens of ships and leading them into battle from the front, gaining reputations as fierce fighters. According to a contemporary Chinese account Cai Qian Ma even commanded ships with crews of niangzijun, “women warriors.”

October 10, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Comments Off

Lao Steampunk: A theoretical approach

Lao-American writer Bryan Thao Worra has a post on the possibilities of Lao steampunk:

In real life, the industry could not be sustained due to financial issues and social upheaval in the region. But what would have happened if things had been successful?  The outcome of the Nguyen-France War in what is now modern Vietnam might have ended very differently. Would the technology have spread to Luang Prabang, Vientiane or Champassak? Or perhaps, what if Minh Mang had failed, but research in the technology succeeded elsewhere? In an era of gunboat diplomacy, things could have been very different.

What would have happened if Lao had been successful in integrating steam engine technology into their society? Besides the likely rapid deforestation?

A writer could have a very interesting time exploring what the presence of  lighter-than-air airships, analog or digital mechanical computers such as the Analytical Engine might have had on events in Southeast Asia. - read the full post.

September 7, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Immersion Book of Steampunk

Here’s the table of contents for new anthology The Immersion Book of Steampunk, edited by Gareth D. Jones and Carmelo Rafala and published by Immersion Press. International contributors include Aliette de Bodard, Jacques Barcia, Anatoly Belilovsky and Lavie Tidhar.

Table of contents:

  • “Follow That Cathedral!” by Gareth Owens
  • “The Machines of the Nehphilim” by James Targett
  • “The Siege of Dr. Vikare Blisset” by Jacques Barcia
  • “The Clockworks of Hanyang” by Gord Sellar
  • “Cinema U” by G.D. Falksen
  • “Kulterkampf” by Anatoly Belilovsky
  • “Rogue Mail” by Toby Frost
  • “Electrium” by Elizabeth Counihan
  • “Leaves of Glass” by Lavie Tidhar
  • “Memories in Bronze, Feathers, and Blood” by Aliette de Bodard
  • “Empire of Glass” by Tanith Lee
  • “Steam Horse” by Chris Butler
  • “Professor Fluvius’s Palace of Many Waters” by Paul Di Filippo

September 6, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Italian Steampunk!

The Traveler’s Steampunk Blog has posted an interview with Luca Cerlini, director of the Italian steampunk movie The Technician.

How did you come up with the idea for The Technician, is there a particular work or works that inspired you?

The idea for The Technician wasn’t mine, at least not the core idea, which came from Nicola Zurlo, the screenwriter. Nearly all the professional operators involved in the making of the short, like me, were students attending the last year of cinema school in Milan. The screenplay that started the project was the final exam paper for the screenwriting class.

Once the first draft was complete, it was submitted to me along with other scripts and, although it was very different from the one we shot in the end, I immediately fell in love with the atmosphere it suggested. It was deeply changed over time but its coldness, its air of nostalgia, its gloominess were in the first draft to stay (the original script was called Blue Overall and was about a society where feelings were forbidden and the Technician’s job was to mend people deemed to be too emotional!!).

Is The Technician intentionally steampunk?

When I started to work on the screenplay I immediately realized that, in order to bring some of the screenwriter’s intentions to the surface and to make some situations visually plausible, I would have to chose a well-defined aesthetic; at the same time I had to work it out on a very low budget (a little more than 3.000 (three thousand) euros). Steampunk was just right because it is based on the alteration of objects, clothes and technologies of the past, and with a little research and imagination it’s easy to recreate the right atmosphere.

How did you first hear of steampunk and why did you choose to make a movie about it?

I’ve been a steampunk fan for a long time now, but I had never tried to make something like this before, so we took a massive risk! – read the full interview.

And here’s the trailer!

July 19, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Comments Off

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