Chris Wooding is a London-based author of sixteen books which have been translated into twenty languages. He’s won various awards and has been published around the world. He also writes for film and television. This month, Titan books published The Iron Jackal, the latest book in his steampunk series Tales of the Ketty Jay.

What Is Steampunk, Anyway? – The Changing Fortunes of the Ketty Jay

By Chris Wooding

About six years ago, I had an idea for a story called Retribution Falls, about a ragtag bunch of inept sky pirates, all of them refugees from their own pasts, hanging together because they had nowhere else to go. I wanted to tell the tale of how a crew came to be forged from the most unpromising materials, and how this insignificant bunch of semi-alcoholic dropouts would go on and change the world.

But if I wanted to put pirates in the sky, I needed to put ships there, too. Among the fighter craft, huge frigates ploughed through the clouds, bristling with cannon. In order to keep them aloft, I needed aerium, an ultralight gas kept in ballast tanks, capable of lifting the largest loads.

Slowly, surely, the world began to be built around aerium. The land’s politics and history revolved around the struggle for aerium resources. The mindset of the civilisation was shaped by it. And what I ended up with was a world with a level of technology roughly approximating the dawn of the 20th century, except that the science of flight and aircraft manufacture was far more advanced. All of this was basically an excuse for me to write a ton of badass aerial dogfights, with machine guns blazing, while listening to Iron Maiden’s Aces High at full blast.

My publisher loved it when I showed it to them. But they told me one thing: for God’s sake, don’t ever call it steampunk. It’s a death sentence on the bookshelves. Call this book steampunk, and nobody will buy it.
Read the rest of this entry

Here is the table of contents for the upcoming Steampunk World, a multicultural steampunk fiction anthology, which features cover art by James Ng:

Here’s the project description as it appeared on Kickstarter:

Steampunk is fascinating. There’s something compelling about the shine of clicking brass clockwork and hiss of steam-driven automatons. But until recently, there was something missing.

It was easy to find excellent stories of American and British citizens… but we rarely got to see steampunk from the point of view of the rest of the world.

Steampunk World is a showcase for nineteen authors to flip the levers and start the pistons and invite you to experience the entirety of steampunk.

And here’s the table of contents…
Read the rest of this entry

Sean Wallace has posted the table of contents for his upcoming anthology The Mammoth Book of Steampunk Adventures, coming August 2014 in the UK and October 2014 in the US:

Here’s the table of contents…
Read the rest of this entry

We’re pleased to bring to you today an exceprt from Richard Ellis Preston, Jr.’s ne wsteampunk novel, Romulus Buckle & The Engines of War, sequel to Romulus Buckle & the City of the Founders.

Here is the book description:

The frozen wasteland of Snow World—known as Southern California before an alien invasion decimated civilization—is home to warring steampunk clans. Crankshafts, Imperials, Tinskins, Brineboilers, and many more all battle one another for precious supplies, against ravenous mutant beasts for basic survival, and with the mysterious Founders for their very freedom.

Through this ruined world soars the Pneumatic Zeppelin, captained by the daring Romulus Buckle. In the wake of a nearly suicidal assault on the Founders’ prison city to rescue key military leaders, both the steam-powered airship and its crew are bruised and battered. Yet there’s little time for rest or repairs: Founders raids threaten to shatter the fragile alliance Buckle has risked everything to forge among the clans.

Even as he musters what seems a futile defense in the face of inevitable war, Buckle learns that the most mysterious clan of all is holding his long-lost sister in a secret base—and that she holds the ultimate key to victory over the Founders. But rescuing her means abandoning his allies and praying they survive long enough for there to be an alliance to return to.

And here is the excerpt. Enjoy!
Read the rest of this entry


Richard Ellis Preston, Jr. is a science fiction writer who loves the zeitgeist of steampunk. Although he grew up in both the United States and Canada he prefers to think of himself as British. He attended the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, where he earned an Honors B.A. in English with a Minor in Anthropology. He has lived on Prince Edward Island, excavated a 400 year old Huron Indian skeleton and attended a sperm whale autopsy. Romulus Buckle and the Engines of War is the second installment in his new steampunk series, The Chronicles of the Pneumatic Zeppelin. Richard has also written for film and television. He currently resides in California. You can find him online at his website Richardellisprestonjr.com and on Twitter as @RichardEPreston.

What is Steampunk?

by Richard Ellis Preston, Jr.

What is Steampunk?

Lately, steampunk is experiencing a boost in the public eye. Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker novel is heading to the big screen, Parisian fashion has grabbed hold of steampunk’s retro-exotic look, the movie Sucker Punch reveled in the aesthetic and a murder in the steampunk subculture briefly perplexed the writer/detective team in the tv series Castle. But while most people do recognize steampunk’s highly visual elements they still don’t realize that it belongs to a literary subgenre of its own. And this subgenre has spawned sub-subgenres, such as dieselpunk, alchemypunk, clockpunk and so on. Steampunk wears a coat of many colors in a nebulous universe and as such tends to defy specific definition. I like to think of it as the “brave, new, dystopian old world.” My own steampunk definition follows as: “a subgenre of science fiction which tends to involve stories set in Victorian/Edwardian England or its empire where steam power and fantastic machines have become the norm.”
Read the rest of this entry

Interactive Classics with a Spec Fiction Twist

By Ellie Ann Soderstrom, the Director of Publishing for Noble Beast.

Noble Beast is a publisher of enhanced digital books, and we’ve decided to go on a huge adventure. You see, we adore great fiction, like the classics. Let me rephrase that: classics are insanely phenomenal fiction. They’ve lasted the test of time for a reason, and we would love to publish them. But we only sell speculative fiction. So what do we do?!

We turn those classics into speculative fiction titles, of course!

If you like the sound of The Three Musketeers battling aliens, Moby Dick in space, The Jungle Book Shapeshifters, and Pride and Prejudice Coven, then keep reading.
Read the rest of this entry

Amazon has the cover art and synopsis of the upcoming novel The Return of the Discontinued Man, the upcoming Burton & Swinburne Adventure by Mark Hodder. Jon Sullivan is the cover artist. The designer is Jacqueline Nasso Cooke.

Here’s the synopsis:
(A larger version of this cover plus a series cover gallery posted below.)
Read the rest of this entry


George Mann is the author of the Newbury and Hobbes and The Ghost series of novels, as well as numerous short stories, novellas and audiobooks. He has written fiction and audio scripts for the BBC’s Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes. He is also a respected anthologist and has edited The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction and The Solaris Book of New Fantasy. His latest book is a collection of Newbury and Hobbes short stories titled The Casebook of Newbury & Hobbes, out now from Titan Books.

We had the opportunity to ask George about Newbury and Hobbes, his influences and the treatment of women in Victorian times and what’s next for the series.


SF SIGNAL: Hi George. For folks who do not know what the Newbury & Hobbes stories are about: give us the elevator pitch.

GEORGE MANN: Oh, blimey! I tend to think of them as ‘fantastic Victoriana’. Mystery novels with a supernatural or occult twist, furnished with the trappings of the steampunk genre. How’s that?
Read the rest of this entry

BOOK REVIEW: Odd Men Out by Matt Betts

REVIEW SUMMARY: In his debut novel, Matt Betts successfully mashes up a whole lotta things that wouldn’t usually go together.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Entertaining and fast-paced Civil War era alternate history mashes up steampunk, zombies, and pop culture references.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Amusing pop culture references are smoothly and slyly put into the narrative; the story is wildly imaginative, yet feels plausible; dialog is fun and at times laugh-out-loud funny.
CONS: Light on world building and characterization; short chapters made it hard to keep track of everything that was going on; final action sequence was predictable.
BOTTOM LINE: A fun and entertaining mash-up that’s not without a few issues, but shows that the author has plenty of potential.
Read the rest of this entry

Here is the book trailer for David Barnett’s alternate history steampunk thriller, Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl, described thusly:

Nineteenth century London is the center of a vast British Empire. Airships ply the skies and Queen Victoria presides over three-quarters of the known world—including the East Coast of America, following the failed revolution of 1775.

London might as well be a world away from Sandsend, a tiny village on the Yorkshire coast. Gideon Smith dreams of the adventure promised him by the lurid tales of Captain Lucian Trigger, the Hero of the Empire, told in Gideon’s favorite “penny dreadful.” When Gideon’s father is lost at sea in highly mysterious circumstances Gideon is convinced that supernatural forces are at work. Deciding only Captain Lucian Trigger himself can aid him, Gideon sets off for London. On the way he rescues the mysterious mechanical girl Maria from a tumbledown house of shadows and iniquities. Together they make for London, where Gideon finally meets Captain Trigger.

But Trigger is little more than an aging fraud, providing cover for the covert activities of his lover, Dr. John Reed, a privateer and sometime agent of the British Crown. Looking for heroes but finding only frauds and crooks, it falls to Gideon to step up to the plate and attempt to save the day…but can a humble fisherman really become the true Hero of the Empire?

David Barnett’s Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl is a fantastical steampunk fable set against an alternate historical backdrop: the ultimate Victoriana/steampunk mash-up!

And now, the trailer…
Read the rest of this entry


E. Catherine Tobler is a Sturgeon Award finalist and the senior editor at Shimmer Magazine. Among others, her fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Her first novel, Gold & Glass, is now available.

You Got Your Steampunk In My SciFi

by E. Catherine Tobler

Why steampunk? Someone always asks. And then usually: wait, what’s steampunk? Because quite often the person asking about my book, Gold & Glass, doesn’t have a wider knowledge of the genre in which I write — they’re genre curious and want to know what exists beyond science fiction (“Oh, rockets.”) and fantasy (“Oh, elves.”).

When I explain that steampunk is often a beautiful mash up of Victoriana or the Old West, with technology that rarely reaches beyond the steam-powered (The Wild Wild West and Adventures of Brisco County leap to mind), they often look at me with doubt. Goggles? Top hats? Trains filled with hidden weaponry? Shiny metal doohickeys? And then I bet them that I can see steampunk elements in their favorite science-fiction. No way! they shout. Yes way.
Read the rest of this entry


Richard Ellis Preston, Jr. is a science fiction writer who loves the zeitgeist of steampunk. Although he grew up in both the United States and Canada he prefers to think of himself as British. He attended the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, where he earned an Honors B.A. in English with a Minor in Anthropology. He has lived on Prince Edward Island, excavated a 400 year old Huron Indian skeleton and attended a sperm whale autopsy. Romulus Buckle and the City of the Founders is the first installment in his new steampunk series, The Chronicles of the Pneumatic Zeppelin. Richard has also written for film and television. He currently resides in California. Find him online at his webiste Richardellisprestonjr.com, on Twitter as @RichardEPreston, and Facebook.

A Steampunk Guerrilla At Comic-Con

By Richard Ellis Preston, Jr.

One might easily think that a titanic undertaking like Comic-Con San Diego, with its industry A-List Game of Thrones and Enders Game panels in the gargantuan Hall H is unfriendly to the little guy sleeping in the line on the sidewalk. But it is not. Yes, the big industry professionals and corporations dominate the landscape. It is difficult to focus in the exhibit halls, there is so much dazzle. You pretty much have to develop tunnel vision-lock your eyes onto the booth you want to visit and slowly navigate a shifting labyrinth of human walls to reach it. Traversing the Comic-Con floor is similar in sensation to being trapped in the Death Star trash compactor-but with about a thousand more people (many apparently unwashed) dropped in for company. Yet the original independent spirit still courses through the veins of the great, slouching, multicolored-ink-stained beast; there is a place for the little guy (or girl) if they choose to make it, because so much of what happens here is face-to-face-in person.
Read the rest of this entry

[GUEST POST] Joshua Palmatier on How to Create a New Small Press


Joshua Palmatier is a fantasy writer with a PhD in mathematics, currently residing in Binghamton, NY, while teaching mathematics at SUNY College at Oneonta. He has five books currently on the shelves: The Skewed Throne, nominated for the Compton Crook Award for 2006, The Cracked Throne, The Vacant Throne, the conclusion of the Throne of Amenkor series, and Well of Sorrows and Leaves of Flame, the first two books in a new series written under the pseudonym Benjamin Tate. He has also co-edited the anthologies After Hours: Tales from the Ur-bar and The Modern Fae’s Guide to Surviving Humanity.

How to Create a New Small Press

by Joshua Palmatier

John DeNardo here at SF Signal asked me to stop by and say a few words about the behind-the-scenes action in creating a new small press, Zombies Need Brains, that I hope will be able to bring SF&F fans some great anthologies in the near future. We’re running a Kickstarter campaign for the creation of the small press and for the first anthology, CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE: STEAMPUNK vs. ALIENS, with some great authors — including Scott Lynch, Seanan McGuire, Gini Koch, Gail Z. Martin, Bradley Beaulieu, Ian Tregillis, and Caitlin Kittredge — already lined up to participate if we’re funded. Check it out at Kickstarter if you haven’t already. It’s an exciting project.
Read the rest of this entry

Lavie Tidhar, author of the steampunk series The Bookman, will be writing a 5-part comic mini-series called Adler, described “The League of Extraordinary Gentlewomen”…

Press release follows…
Read the rest of this entry

Lynn Viehl has a new steampunk urban fantasy series called Disenchanted & Co. (comprised of Her Ladyship’s Curse and His Lordship Possessed) and she got Jeff Somers to make a Monty Python-esque book trailer.

Here’s what the series is about:
Read the rest of this entry

REVIEW SUMMARY: One of the best in the Newbury & Hobbes series.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Newbury and Hobbes investigate a series of grisly murders in which the victims have their hearts removed.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Excellent storytelling; intriguing mystery; well-drawn antagonist; progresses longer story arcs; characters undergo changes; un-put-downable final chapters; serves as a fine standalone novel.
CONS: For the first parts of the novel, there’s never a feeling that the heroes are ever really in any danger – but that changes dramatically in the last several chapters.
BOTTOM LINE: One of the best in the series.
Read the rest of this entry

The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 191): Interview with Author Aaron Sikes

In episode 190 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester chats with Author Aaron Sikes.

Read the rest of this entry

Cover & Synopsis: “Luminous Chaos” by Jean-Christophe Valtat

Amazon has posted the cover art and synopsis of the upcoming novel Luminous Chaos by Jean-Christophe Valtat, sequel to Aurorarama and second book in the series The Mysteries of New Venice.

Here’s the synopsis:
Read the rest of this entry

Nifty! Check out the cover art and synopsis of the upcoming novel Fiendish Schemes by K. W. Jeter, the sequel to Infernal Devices, which is due out later this year (in October).

Here’s the synopsis:
Read the rest of this entry

Andrew P. Mayer‘s third steampunk superhero novel — a fantastic and fun read called Power Under Pressure  — came out from PYR Books in January. It’s the third book of his Society of Steam trilogy, following The Falling Machine and Hearts of Smoke & Steam. These stories capture the feel of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells while being set in Victorian New York City, where Mayer was born. Mayer is a game designer who has also has written comic books and short stories. You can find Andrew online at societyofsteam.com, andrewpmayer.com/, and on Twitter as @AndrewMayer.


SFFWRTCHT: Andrew, congrats on the completion of your trilogy. What’s it like to have that complete cycle under your belt?

Andrew P. Mayer: I’m still breathing the same sigh of relief that I started when I handed in the book.  It’s nice to have the completed story out in the world after six years of work.
Read the rest of this entry

 Page 1 of 4  1  2  3  4 »