The Nerds of Color (NOC) recently interviewed writer Marjorie Liu on her Image Comics’ Monstress series. She talks about her inspirations and origins in creating the steampunk fantasy world of Monstress and working with artist Sana Takeda (X-23). Look for the Monstress #1 to drop on November 4, 2015 into comic book shops.
All we get now in the multiplexes and the TV screens are superheroes, zombies and vampires! Hey, Hollywood, about some good old-fashion cowboy flicks? That Johnny Depp “Lone Ranger” fail of a film did not count! How about dropping some John Woo/Tarantino-style old west cowboy stories? I can envision a pair of Colt .45’s blasting in slo-mo during a stage coach robbery scene. Enough with the World War II movies, but I digress. If you want your fill of the old wild west with a mix of weird and the wonderful, try “Dead Man’s Hand” an anthology of short stories collected and edited by John Joseph Adams.
Over the years the science fiction genre Steampunk has exploded into books, comics and Steampunk conventions taking place around the country and now Titan Books with Steampunk Oriental Laboratory has put out an incredible magazine-style book on Steampunk fashion and gizmos. Steampunk Style: The Complete Illustrated Guide for Contraptors, Gizmologists and Primocogglers Everywhere! has everything a Steampunk wannabe wants.
I am ready to kick off the New Year with more Retrenders stuff, but I had some left overs from last year, like this George Mann book of short stories – The Casebook of Newbury & Hobbes, Volume 1. Over the weekend, as I watched American playoff football in-between breaks, I was able to finally finish reading it.
I am new to the Newbury & Hobbes books and the various characters created in this universe. I was a little weary reading these all-new short stories in this collection, wondering if I needed to read the “The Affinity Bridge”, “The Osiris Ritual” and “The Immorality Engine” to get what is going on, but I was well relieved by Mr. Mann kicking off with nice introduction chapter about his characters and his first book. Newbury & Hobbes revolves around 3 main characters, the sleuth Sir Maurice Newbury, assistant Miss Veronica Hobbes and police friend Sir Charles Bainbridge as they solve crimes and murders in Victorian London. The book collects 15 short stories as Newbury and Hobbes face the weird and strange crimes. Mr. Mann also includes a helpful timeline of where these short stories took place over the course of his 3 books and a chapter of story notes on all the short stories (they include spoilers, so please read the short stories first!).
James P. Blaylock is back with all new Langdon St. Ives adventure after a twenty-year absence. “The Aylesford Skull” takes us to Victorian England 1883 where scientist/explorer Langdon St. Ives and villain Dr. Ignacio Narbondo will face off again.
Langdon St. Ives is now living in Aylesford with his wife Alice and two kids – Eddie and Cleo, while unbeknownst to them, Dr. Ignacio Narbondo is setting his plans into motion by pirating a ship in nearby Egypt Bay and grave robbing in Aylesford. A mysterious man from the past appears to Langdon and finally tells him of Narbondo’s past and his plan to open a portal to the dead. The villain decides to kidnap Langdon’s son – 4 year old Eddie. The action begins as Langdon now races off to London to save his son and stop Narbondo’s portal to the dead from opening.
By now, most sci-fi and fantasy fans are familiar with the Steampunk genre, where works of fiction and art are placed in a world that features steam powered machinery and is often set in the time of Victorian-era England. In the last twenty years, we’re amazed to see how far and how creative “Steampunk culture” has pushed itself in various media, especially in literature, films, and fashion design. Though many recent fans could not even begin to explain how this genre had started out – how authors, screenwriters, and artists influenced by Jules Verne’s Voyages Extraordinaires and H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine created several whimsical and fantastic works in the 1960’s and 70’s. This then opened the door for three young authors, who were friends from the same college and were all mentored by the legendary novelist Philip K. Dick, to write their brand of Victoriana and eventually becoming, unbeknownst at the time, the pioneers of Steampunk.
Recently, we had the good fortune to have a chat with one of the pioneers, the talented James P. Blaylock, who is releasing a new Steampunk novel in his Langdon St. Ives/Narbondo series titled The Aylesford Skull published by Titan Books. It’s been twenty years since the last full novel in the series and we find out why it took that long for the book to be published, what sort of research goes into writing Victoriana, and his opinion on modern Steampunk culture.