This is an updated version of the earlier post.
February was Steampunk Scholar's best month ever for visitors, both new (4,600) and returning (650)! The last time I had a "best month ever" was in October of 2009 (I erroneously said January was a best month - it was only better than October in first visits, not returning). The fact that February pulled it off with fewer days felt like an achievement! I added a new element to the blog this month, and so far it's worked out well. You can now vote for what I'll blog about next. I pull the choices from the books and films I've finished, but haven't written up. I'll blog about the winner each week, and when I get time to do two entries in a week, I'll blog about something less popular, to keep you apprised of books you might know nothing about.
The call for papers for the 2011 Eaton SF Conference was announced, so if you're academic and into SF, get those papers in!
My apologies for getting a little behind - I should have blogged about The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters last week, but I was swamped with an opportunity that was too good to pass up. A few weeks ago, Jeff Vandermeer contacted me to ask if I'd write an article on "The Future of Steampunk" for the forthcoming sequel to the Steampunk anthology, aptly titled Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded. You can check out the rough cover and table of contents at Jeff's blog.
To prep for the article, I spent reading week devouring stuff I hadn't read yet. Can't very well comment with authority on the future of steampunk if I haven't read any Stephen Hunt or Philip Reeve, can I? I read all of Joe Lansdale's Zeppelins West, which was one of the strangest reading experiences I've ever had; Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines which is my current steampunk fave--I can't wait to read the rest of the series; most of Reeve's Larklight which is a mixed bag for me - I love parts, and loathe others; half of both Kenneth Oppel's Skybreaker (Canadian steampunk!) and Alan Campbell's Scar Night, with chunks of George Mann's The Affinity Bridge and Elizabeth Bear's New Amsterdam. I'm nearly done the late Kage Baker's The Women of Nell Gwynne's (which is very compelling) and Hunt's The Court of the Air (a close second to Mortal Engines for current fave). I also started re-reading S.M. Peters' Whitechapel Gods, and am finding it a much better experience than I did the first time. I started Patricia Wrede's Thirteenth Child, but found myself reading more the backlash against the book in relation to RaceFail 09, so I haven't finished it yet. In addition to this mammoth stack of reading, I watched episodes of Full Metal Alchemist and Last Exile. I'm deeply in love with Last Exile: I don't know whether the story holds together or not, but it's a gorgeous looking anime. As the current poll shows, I finished Howl's Moving Castle (a lovely movie - I need to get my own copy), and watched Casshern (another film I want a copy of - incredible visuals!) at high speed with the subtitles on. Taking in so much information over reading week was a great experience, as it really helped me frame the structure of my article for Steampunk Reloaded. While it wasn't quite what Jeff was looking for, a revised version may find its way onto the web later this year, and my participation with the book is being revisited. Sometimes it's just enough to be asked.
"Steam Wars" is going into what will likely be the final edit - I'll let you know if it makes the final cut.
I finally caved to become part of Twitter, and am enjoying it, though I still occasionally can't see the point. It might be responsible for the higher numbers, so I'm not about to complain. Plus it allowed me to experience Sunday's Olympic hockey finals without a TV on, while I was working on the Steampunk Reloaded article. Between two of my friends, it was a written play-by-play.
I also got a chance to make some new friends as well as see a few old ones by presenting at the Greater Edmonton Teacher's Convention. I presented my Nemo research and a Steampunk 101 lecture. Both were well received, aside from a few nonplussed folks who thought my Nemo talk was about the Pixar cartoon. I'd have thought the word "antihero" in the title was a clear indicator, but I guess some people find clownfish edgy. Who knew?
Interview with Author A.J. Hartley - This week we are talking with A.J. Hartley, author of Steeplejack. Airship Ambassador: Hi A.J., thanks for joining us for this interview. A.J. Hartley: G...
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