Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Steampunk Trails issue #1 - review

Reading an anthology, or magazine, or short story collection straight through is a new adventure for me.  My usual practice is to buy an anthology based on the one or two contributing authors that I follow, read their contributions, and then take anywhere from a year to even three years to finish reading the rest of the stories.  In the last year, I've had the pleasure and challenge (my brain does NOT want to focus) of receiving and reading a collection in under a month (or to be honest, in a month or two - still way faster than my norm).  And it's been fun, because with each of the recent collections, I've found myself enjoying all the pieces - some way more than others, but all of them have been fun to read and experience.

This was J.A. Campbell's debut as editor (and she did a damn good job!) of a magazine, or anthology.  She has been a contributor to anthologies, but with Steampunk Trails, she is the editor - putting together a compilation of some very interesting fiction from some very good writers.
Steampunk Trails eventually will have follow up issues, and there is a new blog dedicated to the new magazine venture. 
On the blog, there is also a page for submissions...if you are a writer, go over there and check it out, keep a look out for submission call outs, when they open up - especially if you're interested in writing steampunk.  Who knows? you might end up in an issue of Steampunk Trails.
 Magazine, anthology - I tend to go back an forth on the terminology, but it's all about the short stories in a genre - steampunk.
A complete list of the authors is given on Amazon and you can also view on

Oh!  wow.  What a fun collection of stories. Full of steampunk goodness. From the mosquitos (shudder) to the strange happenings in a harbor/bay, to the town that was taken over by the Company (and the woman fighting this) to the submarine used for a section of the underground "railway"  to the Assassin who adopts a....well, you have to read it.

J.A. Campbell has put together a very interesting, engaging and entertaining collection of stories that will have a little something for everyone's tastes.  Each writer featured wrote a story that featured good dialog, fun plots, and some twisted action.  Twisted is good, twisted is interesting. I love twisted stories. One of my new favorites was also featured - Karl, the dinosaur sheriff; a feature titled Carl's Corner  Karl's Korner  Karl's Corner (!) where a dinosaur gives his opinion on the subject of the day, in this case how dragons taste, who would win in a showdown and dragons in steampunk.  (Karl's Korner was also in Science Fiction Trails #10)  I would have had more fun in science if there was a version of Karl telling his perceptions of things - it would have made listening to lectures so much more interesting.

One of the special treats in this issue were the illustrations - there were drawings peppered throughout the issue, which I enjoyed.  It's always fun to get a feel via art of the story's characters, or a scene from the story.  If you're old enough to remember, you might feel a bit nostalgic along with me for those books published in the first half of the 20th century (sounds so long ago, when I put it like that) when books used to have at least 10 pages of illustrations throughout the novel - most of them black and white, but some of them were in color; always added to the experience of the story.  Reading this issue and seeing the illustrations in it made me feel a little nostalgic for those books I used to read way back then....

Anthologies and story magazines are becoming a favored read of mine - it's good to be able to grab something to read and to read a short story that's full of "flavor".  I'm looking forward to more issues of Steampunk Trails, which I'm sure will contain lots of good reading by many good authors.

oh - one last thing....  Steam powered ROBOTS, people. Steam powered robots.  

Give this issue a read through - it's worth it. ;0