content by

Liz Gorinsky

Daniel H. Wilson’s “The Nostalgist” Prepares For Its Screen Debut

Although this is a golden age for film adaptations of science fiction and fantasy into film, has never had a piece of the pie…until London-based Italian filmmaker Giacomo Cimini found author Daniel H. Wilson’s short story “The Nostalgist” online and decided to make a movie of it. Though “The Nostalgist” is Daniel’s first work of published fiction after getting a Ph.D. in robotics and writing a popular series of non-fiction/comedy books starting with How to Survive a Robot Uprising, he has since gone on to write bestselling novels such as Robopocalypse—which is also being developed for the screen by DreamWorks and Steven Spielberg—and Amped. Since the short film of “The Nostalgist” is in the process of seeking funding for its visual effects, we wanted to touch base with Daniel to get an inside view on the story and the adaptation process.

[Read more]

Dystopia! The Musical


Having a dark, depressing week? So are we! I sent one of the clips below to  non-fiction editor Bridget McGovern to brighten up her Dystopia Week, and she thought it was an excellent way to recover from an extended battery of hopeless futures, so I figured I should pass the favor on to our readers. Turns out that one’s passion for dystopias can even find expression in the usually glamour-oriented world of musical theatre. To prove it, here’s a rundown of my three favorite musicals set in dystopic futures.

(Or possibly the only three I’ve seen staged. But who’s counting?!)

[Pee jokes, internet ga ga, and revolutionary ass-shaking, below the cut]

Series: Dystopia Week

Geek Week Event (+ Meetup?) with Charles Stross, Jo Walton & Ninja Sex Party!

Hey there, tri-state-area geeks! Tor Books and are pleased to announce a massive science fiction and fantasy reading coming to New York City later this month. We’re teaming up with the excellent AIDS-relief organization Housing Works to host an evening celebrating Geek Week—featuring award-winning authors Jo Walton, Charles Stross, a live set by Ninja Sex Party, Tor giveaways, and more! This marks the first time that either author has appeared in NYC  (yes, we mean EVER), and it promises to be a fun, illuminating, and geeky good time. And it all goes down at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe (126 Crosby Street, New York, NY 10012) on Tuesday, February 22 at 7:00 p.m.

But that’s not all: since our illustrious blogger Jo Walton will be in attendance, please stick around after the reading for a makeshift meetup with authors, Tor and staffers, and more, at a nearby location to be decided. (In other words, we’re not sure where we’re going yet, but watch this space and we’ll tell you where to find us.)

Even cooler: this event is part of Housing Works Bookstore Cafe’s GEEK WEEK Sale and Extravaganza, 2/19 through 2/25. 30% off sci-fi, fantasy, comics, vintage vinyl, science and math books all week, plus extra geeky events!

[Many more details beneath the cut]

Steampunk Fortnight Steams Off

And that, my friends, is that: this year’s Steampunk Fortnight event must draw to its scheduled close. We hope you’ve been following along on the site, but even if you haven’t, it’s certainly not too late: the dozens of blog posts, gaggle of short stories, handful of excerpts, and bounty of giveaways indexed at the Steampunk Fortnight homepage will remain there indefinitely for your perusal and commentary.

[Many thanks below the cut!]

Series: Steampunk Fortnight

Steampunk Quartet

A Different Engine Day After the Cooters
The Perdito Street Project Internal Devices

These stories are also available for download from major ebook retailers.

A few weeks ago, when we contacted our steampunk compatriots and regular bloggers to ask them if they wanted to contribute to Steampunk Fortnight, we got a lot of good ideas, but none quite as unexpected as one from the inimitable Eileen Gunn, who responded to say:

I may be coloring a little bit outside the lines, but that’s
what lines are for. I promised to write four pieces of flash fiction, tuckerizing four people who donated to Clarion West’s Write-a-thon this summer. I think it would be fun to write four short-shorts, each in the style of a different formative steampunk tale.

Aha!, we thought. That idea is just crazy enough to work…and work it did, spectacularly. Consequently, on the last four weekdays of Steampunk Fortnight,  we will be presenting one of Ms. Gunn’s stories every morning, each one featuring a real benefactor of that glorious institution, Clarion West. You will certainly want to stick around to see the results.

Art for the series by Fyodor Pavlov and Lawrence Gullo

Series: Steampunk Fortnight

Steampunk Fortnight Wallpaper by Sydney Padua

Ladies and gentleman! We are excited today to present you with something very rare indeed: a glorious exclusive wallpaper by the esteemed Ms. Sydney Padua.


If Ms. Padua’s name doesn’t ring any bells, then the name of her comic—2D Goggles: The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage—probably will. If you need still more information, you could consult Jaymee Goh’s interview with Ms. Padua on these pages last year, or our reprint of a story about L&B making a great exhibition of themselves. But whatever you do, aquaint yourself forthwith.

One thing that Lovelace and Babbage fans are united on is the fact that there is not enough Lovelace and Babbage, so we were honored to be able to comission a new piece that you—yes, you!—can use to festoon your desktop or mobile computing platform. Sydney calls this piece “Beam Us Up,” for reasons that I imagine will become clear.

Note: You need to be a registered user on to download the wallpapers. (Don’t worry, that’s free and quick.)

[Download links below the cut]

Series: Steampunk Fortnight

Get Your Steam on II: New Steampunk Events the World Over

If our convention giveaway post left you in a state of “Why don’t I live in Seattle/Philly/Santa Clara!”-induced despair, then perhaps you need a steampunk event of your very own. This list will attempt to gather some of the many upcoming events where you can get involved in the community—or at least observe the phenomenon in its natural habitat.

[Proceed beneath the cut to see what’s going on near you.]

Series: Steampunk Fortnight

Steampunk Fortnight Giveaway: Pendants from RockLove’s Anthology Collection

Steampunk events are one of the hardest times of the year for the staff, because we get the opportunity to ogle some of the finest steampunk acoutrements in the world…and then send them to someone else.

This first giveaway of Steampunk Fortnight is no exception, since RockLove jewelry is offering one of the striking pendants from their Anthology line. The line is comprised of eight “exotic historical relics for the historical traveler,” each of which comes on a 21” chain and real or fanciful historic significance.


The Captain, The Nomad, The Traveler

[Duck behind the curtain for more information and a FREE SHIPPING offer for these or other RockLove shinies]

Series: Steampunk Fortnight

Steampunk Fortnight on

Last year at around this time, was deep in the throes of Steampunk Month, our first attempt to focus on a specific topic for a short period of time and see what we could say about it. A year later, steampunk is still hunting for the tiniest glimmers of recognition within mainstream culture. Whereas, in our corner of the world, you can’t take more than a few steps without encountering a glittering new dirigible or an old standby whose brass accents are being buffed to a high sheen. Everyone has an opinion about steampunk these days.*

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t new people coming to the scene every day, new paths being forged, and new twists on the already mind-boggling resurgence of Victorian science fiction. For the next two weeks (October 20-November 3, 2010), will survey the field and see where some of these developments are headed, as well as trying to discuss some of our favorite topics with new depth.

Welcome to Steampunk Fortnight. Everything old is new again, again.

* Though, if you don’t, that’s fine too: the introduction and many of the posts in last year’s Steampunk Month are a great place to start.

[Continue to the Steampunk Fortnight homepage for a preview of our plans and a list of all content posted thus far.]

Announcing Steampunk Fortnight and the Steampunk Indie Mart Literary Corner


I have no doubt some of our readers were saddened to arrive at’s doorstop on the first of October and not see the intrepid visage of the H.M.S. Stubbington gazing back at them. But has not entirely lost its clockwork heart, and so I am pleased to announce that our little ætherweb community has decreed a  Steampunk Fortnight, to be celebrated from 20 October to 3 November of the year two thousand and ten. The Fortnight will occasion the return of many of the features you remember fondly from last year’s Steampunk Month, including scintillating blog posts, engaging adventure fiction, copiuous giveaways, and much more.

But that’s not all! This year there will be a real-world analogue to our ætherweb event:, in collaboration with our compatriots at Tor Books, is sponsoring a Literary Corner at this year’s Steampunk Indie Market in Brooklyn, New York on October 24th. The event will feature readings from original works by N. K. Jemisin, Felix Gilman, Genevieve Valentine, Lev AC Rosen, Leanna Renee Hieber, and G. D. Falksen; recitations of steampunk classics by Nina Lourie, Ay-Leen the Peacemaker, and Nasty Canasta; and free tea and scones (baked by yours truly). Please see the Steampunk Literary Corner page for all the information you could desire.

Last, but certainly not least: We’re looking for a few good souls to volunteer at the Steampunk Indie Mart, assisting models, merchants, and organizers from the steampunk community. You will be richly rewarded with an array of steampunk books and swag, the aforementioned refreshments, and the glory and honour of serving your local artisan community. If you’d like to help out, please send a letter of intent to (press.inquiries)(at)( It shall be glorious!

Series: Steampunk Fortnight

We Knew Them When: Idiots’Books on

I suppose it was inevitable that the world would discover them eventually: hometown heroes Idiots’Books—Robbi Behr and Matthew Swanson, whose work on these pages includes the gloriously weird One Page Wonders, “How Is Like (And Not Like) Your Average Two-Year-Old,” and a series of eighty-one (!) illustrations for our edition of Cory Doctorow’s Makers—are the primary subjects (a.k.a. human guinea pigs) of Joshua Wolf Shenk’s Creative Pairs, a series of articles about the nature of collaboration from the illustrious Slate Magazine.

If you’re ready to become an Idiots’Fanperson, consider starting with the glorious Ten Thousand Stories, or the mind-boggling Six Degrees of Francis Bacon, or even with a blog post about their curiously undisappointing children. And, of course: stay tuned, for it is utterly impossible to predict what these Idiots might do next.

Steampunk Literary Corner at the Brooklyn Indie Mart

Tor Books and request the honor of your presence at the Steampunk Literary Corner, part of the Brooklyn Indie Market’s Steampunk 2010 celebration. The Steampunk Market will take place on October 24th, 2010 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the DUMBO Lofts at 155 Water Street in DUMBO (Brooklyn), $5 admission. The market will feature dozens of fine steampunk vendors and an elaborate fashion show at 4:00 p.m.

The Literary Corner will be in operation from 11 to 4 and feature readings from esteemed literary personages, tea and scones, and a fine assortment of steampunk books for sale. The approximate schedule for the readings is as follows, though times and details are subject to change until further notice:


11:30 Nina Lourie, reading from The Time Machine  by H. G. Wells
12:00 N. K. Jemisin, reading “The Effluent Engine” from Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories, edited by JoSelle Vanderhooft
12:30 Felix Gilman, reading from The Half-Made World
1:00 Ay-Leen the Peacemaker, reading from Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
1:30 Genevieve Valentine, reading from Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti
2:00 Lev AC Rosen, reading from All Men of Genius
2:30 Leanna Renee Hieber, reading from The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker
3:00 G. D. Falksen, reading from “The Strange Case of Mr. Salad Monday”
3:30 Nasty Canasta (curator of Naked Girls Reading New York) reading from Steampunk Prime, edited by Mike Ashley

The Literary Corner is curated by Liz Gorinsky and cosponsored by:

Tor Books

  & <!– –>


Book sales courtesy of Mobile Libris.



A map of the route from the F train:

How to Throw an Evil Twin Party

Since it’s’s second birthday, we’ve decided to celebrate by paying homage to the greatest and most geektacular thing about the number two: evil twins. And what better way to celebrate this beloved (and often belabored) classic trope than to throw The Ultimate Evil Twin Party? So dust off your eyepatches and sinister goatees, invite all your swinging’ single doppelgänger friends over for some double trouble and get ready to party with some of the evilest twins around…

[Everything you need to know to embrace The Enemy Within.]

Tor’s 30th: T-1: Into the Future

Our final Tor retrospective question before our actual birthday celebration comes to us courtesy of Kristin (again!) and Jeff Shreve:

Where do you see Tor/science fiction/themselves in another 30 years? What will be your favorite memory from the NEXT 30 years?

The results, including a genuinely science fictional scenario from Beth Meacham, and some input from the younger generation of Toroids, are beneath the cut.

[To infinity, and beyond!]

Tor’s 30th: T-2: Professional Fans

Today’s question celebrating the thirtieth birthday of Tor Books was suggested by editor Kristin Sevick:

What was your most gratifying—or most embarrassing—fanboy or fangirl episode since you went pro?

It was no real surprise to find that the anecdotes that emerged feature some of the biggest stars in the specific universe; and it’s no exaggeration to say that one of the biggest fangirl perks of my own (relatively) short career has been getting to work alongside people with stories like these.

[Beneath the fold: Beth, Claire, David, Irene, Melissa, and Patrick talk Asimov, Bloch, Clarke, and more]