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Come to my experimental SF performance tonight! Kieran's in downtown Mpls, doors at 8 PM, I'm performing after 9 PM.

Inspiration: chance operations, love and loss, many worlds hypothesis, alternate timelines, wave function collapse, and choice strategies.
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  • I *missed* Shadow Unit. Paranormal mystery meets serial killer profiling. Yum.
  • Coworker: "Good morning!" My inner thought, grimly: it would be a better morning with cinnamon rolls. (It's true!)
  • Dear Literary Magazines, It is not rude to put your pay rates in your submission guidelines. No, really, it's not!
  • -- Sleep deprived past 3 days. Now, a nap in hopes of staying awake 'til the new decade.
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GUD Magazine, a high-quality literary+genre publication, has switched over to a "Pay What You Will" model. Their PDF issues are available for purchase for a minimum of $.01. Interesting. I wish them luck, and I plan on digging out my wallet and buying an issue soon.
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  • 14:23 Put hair up in 2 twists again today. Becoming fond of this. Am also excessively cute! Makes me want to do cartwheels of victorious cuteness.
  • 17:16 Phil, curling up on the couch: "Where is my plague blanket? Oh, there it is."
  • 20:20 New Shadow Unit! 1/2 mystery, 1/4 horror, 1/4 SF, 100% your daily allowance of awesome. Serial fiction. *
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Note from the editor

Merry Christmas! (Or other seasonal holiday of your choice.) Christmas Eve for me is a time to eat traditional foods, unwrap presents, and rejoice in not having to go in to work tomorrow. My belly is full of semmel, cherrymus, and blue cheese; I have more tea, coffee, and totes than I will use for at least a year; and for once the entirely unpredictable work schedule of my day job is firmly settled. Time to count my blessings and enjoy reading some holiday speculative fiction.
Read more )
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Let Me Tell You a Story)
Steampunk is a peculiar beast of a sub-genre that seems to be getting more attention lately. [ profile] half_double has requested a list of such readings from me. It isn't a precisely pinned-down genre as yet. In many ways, I'd say it's more of an atmosphere or flavor than an "X,Y, and Z are present" sort of thing. Here are the elements that, in my opinion, flavor steampunk: steam-based technology, Victoriana, Victorian England, London, clockwork, mystery, fog and smog, brass devices, complexity, high density writing, social class structure as in the Victorian era, petticoats and waistcoats, fabulism, conspiracy, secret society etc. Lovecraftian influences are also often expressed in conjunction. Steampunk influences may be seen in science fiction or fantasy or both. There's also some weird steampunk/western thing going on, though I scowl in its general direction.

Books I have read and would recommend that share some/many of the above influences:
* The Difference Engine - William Gibson and Bruce Sterling
* The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comic book - Alan Moore (comic book)
* Perdido Street Station (etc.) - China Mieville
* Somnambulist by Jonathan Barnes
* Sun of Suns - Karl Schroeder
* The Diamond Age - Neal Stephenson
* The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters - Gordon Dahlquist (this book I recommend anyway--it ate my brain for a while)
* His Dark Materials (trilogy) - Philip Pullman
* FreakAngels - Warren Ellis (Future post-apocalyptic, but strongly steampunk-influenced. Also available free on the web and pretty fantastic for serial reading! Here's where to start: [increment +1 for every week after this post that you follow that link])

Wikipedia has a pretty comprehensive list here:

A lot of steampunk has been written as short stories, so anthologies are not a bad way to go either if you're trying to understand the genre, though I won't recommend any particular one.

Other ways steampunk is being expressed are as a fashion choice (tattered petticoats and brass goggles, or clockwork devices made accessories) and as a make aesthetic (a keyboard painstakingly reshaped to resemble a Victorian typewriter, for example).

Edited to add: See also Steampod (, a podcast of steampunk stories including classics.
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  • 09:26 For 2 hrs this morning, a squirrel chattered madly outside our window. Later we discovered a cat had been waiting below all the time. #
  • 21:50 Spam subject line of the week: "challenge the dark knight when you are ready." #
  • 21:52 Meandered around the Stone Arch art festival this PM. Mostly commercial arts & crafts, but some were good. ++Sweepstakes & free stuff. #
  • 22:04 Downloaded sci-fi fiction podcasts from Escape Pod ( and e-audiobooks through Mpls public library. Set for the week. #
  • 23:07 CSA cookin': pea vine, salad greens, radish, & feta salad with cumin/dill dressing was not great. Not awful, but not great. #
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  • 23:18 That earlier jott was "goats do roam" wine 1/2 off at Haskell's. #
  • 23:20 Twins lost baseball game. Post-phys. therapy walking made knee hurt a lot, and dress shoes gave me 4 blisters. Also, stinky man ick. #
  • 23:31 Whoa. I have so many photos to upload and sort through and try and do something with. ::runs and hides:: #
  • 07:08 Yeesh. Woke up v. tired. Hope I can escape work early & nap. ::crosses fingers:: #
  • 07:49 Suspect it's a bad sign that I've taken my first painkiller of the day before 8 AM. #
  • 08:27 Want to see this: ( #
  • 08:57 If a dog's wagging tail leans to the right, you're good. Useful info, via SciAm ( #
  • 09:11 Writer's Digest--good tips on how to find time to write - #
  • 09:35's free ebook-a-week program is teh awesome. + free Nebula nominees from fictionwise & I feel the need for an ebook reader. #
  • 09:36 Spam: "Spring weaken your organism. Support it with vitamins." #
  • 09:38 @ cvalenti re dog's tail - Their right. #
  • 11:04 #
  • 11:19 Prosthetics has open-skull surgery test subjects. Yikes! (via \.) #
  • 11:28 Wonder if I could write a romance a month...during work down-time? #
  • 13:03 Ngg. For the umpteenth time, NgithOwl has underpaid me by $2/hr for a significant chunk of time. Snarl. #
  • 13:14 Home. Step 1. Consolidate to-do list, master task list, floating scraps of paper, and "Action Needed" inbox items. #
  • 13:20 Boy kitty is snuggling ferociously. I think he missed me when I was gone all the time. #
  • 14:57 Happy. It is raining and cold outside, but I am snug at home. #
  • 15:24 Dear girl cat, You are welcome to sit on my lap and purr, but please stop trying to lick my hands as I type! #
  • 15:52 Poor husband has to work a double shift tonight! #
  • 16:35 Grrr. V. annoyed that "Error 623" keeps popping up. #
  • 16:39 Since my ride's working 2nd shift, think I will be staying home. And warm. Instead of gimping around all lonely and cold. #
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From Fictionwise:
"The Nebula Awards are among the most prestigious literary awards available, and are presented annually by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). The 2007 winners will be announced during the Nebula Awards Weekend, April 25-27 in Austin, TX. This year we kick off our promotion with The Story of Love by long-time Fictionwise author Vera Nazarian. Fictionwise will have new FREE nominated stories every week until the end of April."

This is a great way to read a bunch of very good science fiction and fantasy short stories. They do this every year. Very cool.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default), provider of fine e-books, says, "The Nebula Awards are hosted by the Science Fiction Writers Association every spring, and each year Fictionwise promotes this special event by giving away preliminary ballot nominees for FREE!" They're starting with Journey Into the Kingdom by M. Rickert (click to read excerpt), and they'll keep giving one away a week. Pretty nifty, and a good way to catch up with what's being considered the best science fiction short stories being written.


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Abra Staffin-Wiebe

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