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Airships and Sherlock Holmes

October 22nd, 2011

The master sleuth and Master of the World.

What’s not to love?

The World Fantasy Convention has just released its program schedule for 2011, one that offers an impressive blend of topics centering on this year’s theme: Sailing the Seas of Imagination.

At the con, I’ll be joining a discussion about airships and reading from my latest Sherlock Holmes mystery “The Executioner.”

First up, I’ll be joining  Jetse de Vries, Eric Flint, Charles Gannon, and Cliff Winnig for a panel titled “To Sail Above the Clouds: Airships.” Here’s the description:

With Steampunk’s popularity, airships are rising too. Sometimes they’re treated just like sailing ships. (Airship pirates!). Sometimes more like trains or planes. What is unique about this form of transportation that’s grabbed the attention of Steampunk? What has literature done with it and what does literature get wrong and right? (Friday 2:00 PM)

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about airships, working on a new story tentatively titled “Zeppelin to the Moon,” which brings together Professor Challenger (The Lost World), Mr. Bedford (First Men in the Moon), and Count von Zeppelin (the renowned airship designer) on a mission to rescue the inventor of cavorite from the clutches of the Grand Lunar. Sound interesting?

 “To Sail Above the Clouds” will mark my second appearance on a steampunk-themed panel this year. The first was two months ago when I joined my good friends Paul Genesse, Anton Strout, Gregory Wilson, and Maurice Broaddus at GenCon for a presentation titled “Make it Steamy: A Look at the Steampunk Genre.” That event really packed them in, with nearly 100 people in attendance. One of the highlights was Maurice’s account of his forthcoming “steampunk story with all black characters.” It’s title: Pimp My Airship. Looking forward to that one!

Paul and I also got the chance to reminisce about works that introduced us to the tropes of steampunk. His was the Ray Harryhausen 1961 film Mysterious Island (soon to be released in a limited-edition Blu-Ray  from Twilight Time). Mine was Karl Zerman’s 1958 Vynález zkázy, released in the States as The Fabulous World of Jules Verne. I remember catching that one at a drive-in near Philadelphia. The world has never been the same.

Also on the bill at this year’s World Fantasy will be a Saturday night book launch and party hosted by Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing.  This will be the big debut for Gaslight Arcanum: Uncanny Tales of Sherlock Holmes, the third in the critically-acclaimed series of anthologies edited by Charles Prepolec and J. R. Campbell. I understand that Paul Kane will also be there, reading from his entry “The Greatest Mystery” – one of the anthology’s standout horror stories.

And of course, as always, there will be the WFC mass-autograph session on Friday night, where I’ll be looking forward to meeting old friends, making new ones, and signing copies of Gaslight Arcanum, as well as Veins, Vipers, Visions, and last year’s collection This Way to Egress. (All titles will be available in the dealers room.) I also hope to have some preview material for the forthcoming Voices: Tales of Horror, which Fantasist Enterprises will be releasing later this year.

If you’re one of the thousand or so people lucky enough to be attending this year’s World Fantasy Convention (memberships sold out last winter, making this year’s con one of the hottest tickets around), I’ll look forward to seeing you there.

Oh yes, and did I mention Neil Gaiman is this year’s Guest of Honor? Should be a good time.

Whether you’re attending or not, please consider leaving a comment below. I’m particularly interested in hearing about when you first encountered the wonders of steampunk.

Perhaps it was Mysterious Island or The Fabulous World of Jules Verne, or maybe it was with more recent works, ones actually published under the steampunk banner. Either way, feel free to chime in. 

Upcoming Appearances

October 18th, 2011

Saturday, October 29
6:00 – 8:00 PM

Edge Publishing Book Launch
World Fantasy Convention

Town and Country Resort
500 Hotel Circle North
San Diego, CA

I’ll be reading from “The Executioner,” one of the featured stories in Gaslight Arcanum: Uncanny Tales of Sherlock Holmes. If you’re going to be attending the con, please plan to join us.

I’ll be doing other events at WFC as well, including the mass book signing on Friday night. I’ll post details here soon.

It’s going to be a terrific time!

New Release: Gaslight Arcanum

September 14th, 2011

Sherlock Holmes plunges from Reichenbach Falls and wakes to find himself in the care of a mysterious inventor with a terrible secret in my new dark mystery story “The Executioner,” out now in Gaslight Arcanum, the third in a series of Holmes anthologies from Charles Prepolec, Jeff Campbell, and the good people at Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy.

The book features an amazing cover by Dave Elsey, who won the Academy Award ® for his make-up design on The Wolfman (2010), and a wonderfully surreal frontispiece by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola.

In addition, six of the twelve stories (including “The Executioner”) feature scene-specific illustrations by Luke Eidenschink, winner of the International Illustrators of the Future Award.

The book’s list of contributors includes some of the top names in dark fiction, including my good friends Stephen Volk and Simon Kurt Unsworth — both of whom also accompanied me on the contents page of Edge’s previous Holmes collection, Gaslight Grotesque.

With additional stories by Christopher Fowler, Kim Newman, Paul Kane, Tom English, Tony Richards, William Meikle, Fred Saberhagan, Kevin Cockle, and Simon Clark, this is one book you won’t want to miss.

Two years ago, when Gaslight Grotesque debuted at World Fantasy – San Jose, I presented an excerpt from my story “The Death Lantern” at a reception hosted by Edge. Next month I hope to be reading a portion of “The Executioner” at World Fantasy – San Diego. If you’re attending, I’ll hope to see you in the gaslight.