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Like Tears in Rain April 22, 2018

Posted by bobv451 in computers, science fiction, sense of wonder, steampunk, weird westerns, writing, zeppelin.
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I keep thinking of a favorite scene from my favorite SF movie, Bladerunner. Rutger Hauer is a replicant, dying and bemoaning the resulting loss of all his knowledge and experience. That has always struck me as poignant. Thinking on it and the recent death of longtime friend and collaborator Martin Cameron intensifies the sense of loss.

Martin (Bucky for the 40 years or so I knew him) was a wonderful artist, but he had also edited a racing magazine and was providing incredible technical support in just about any modern artistic tool for our MAJOR ARCANIUM GAZETTE project. He did layout as well as the artwork because he had the experience. For years he worked on video games at Lucas, designing the Star Wars fighters in a couple games. He gave me a tour of Skywalker Ranch. But he was also an anime fanatic, knew Japanese pop culture and windsurfing. And the gig as editor of Wheels magazine came because of his time on the racing circuit, both as a mechanic and driver. I was always fascinated by his casual tales of how, as a kid, he didn’t think there was anything odd about finding Dan Gurney asleep on the front room sofa. Gurney and Bucky’s dad were great friends.

He was such a ball of energy, and now that energy is gone. Along with it, his artistic skill, insight and experiences unique to him. We’re all filled with our own unique skills and events that have shaped us, but death eradicates them forever. It seems such a waste, losing the knowledge–and friendship.

I am missing him a lot, as a friend and unique human being with sharp, clever ideas and a skewed outlook on the world.

(c) 2018 Martin G. Cameron

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All Around the (New) World May 28, 2017

Posted by bobv451 in alt history, e-books, steampunk, VIPub, weird westerns, westerns, writing, zeppelin.
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It’s all yours when you write.  The world you create.  What do you put in, what do you ignore (since you can’t touch on everything)?  Choose what makes for a good story that challenges the characters and then go pedal to the metal (or meddle or medal or mettle, depending on what type of story you’re writing).

A couple years back I worked up details of an entire steampunk world slowly filling with holes in the fabric of space that lead to a world consumed by oxidation.  Oxygen was at a premium there and rust ate away at everything once great.  My hero becomes intrigued by these holes to a different world while the heroine is off fighting wars brewing in Europe, many of those conflicts over and about the curious holes because some allow instant transport from one part of the world to another.  The story has clockwork, pneumatically powered robot dogs (more in a second about Fulton) and zeppelins and a villain caught up in a maelstrom of evil even he cannot control.

My world, but I opened it to others to play in, introduce characters I’d never consider, poke about in corners of history and geography I simply had no time to explore.  Sarah Bartsch wrote Unforeseen  set in 1915 Japan where the Shogun rules and being a (lady) samurai includes airships.  Steve Sullivan took a different tack and gave use sexy female Russian spies in Heart of Steam and Rust.  Continuing exploration of this world (and the rust world) award-winning steampunk author David Lee Summers gave us a look at Pancho Villa, the Mexican Revolution and the rust world in Revolution of Air and Rust.

This steampunk world continues to expand.  Interested in joining in?  Drop me a line and let’s see what shakes out.

Oh, yeah, I’d mentioned the steamdog Fulton.  He’s in this world, which is set later than the upcoming Air Pirates of the Golden West.  That tale will be included in a monthly magazine with free weekly installments, starting with Millard Fillmore, Master of Steam.

EmpireS&R

Empires of Steam & Rust: The First Passage

Reading Weird April 17, 2017

Posted by bobv451 in alt history, e-books, fantasy, sense of wonder, weird westerns, westerns, Wild West, writing.
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I write weird westerns, but it probably goes without saying (or should) that I enjoy reading weird westerns, too. Like every other genre, or sub-genre, some are wowsa and others leave me cold. Much has to do with timing. A mediocre book hitting me at the right time will get me thinking for weeks. I’m not so sure if a great book ever leaves me cold, buried and mummified since that wouldn’t be a great book then. To me. I’ve said for a very long time the writer brings 75% to the party. The reader furnished the other 25%, and what that is the author has not a clue.

I know what Peter Branvold brought in his 75% of Dust of the Damned, and that is a a cast of good guys that I wanted to read more about, which is my 25% contribution. The creepy crawlies they face are varied and unusual enough to keep me reading–hobgobbies, werewolves, vampires (spillers), brujas, and dragons! But added into the ghoul killing, the world itself is alt-history since Lincoln brought werewolves over from Europe to defeat the Confederates at Gettysburg, then he and Grant killed themselves out of shame at what they’d done. Sherman is president. But the real story is that after escaping Union dominion, the Hell’s Angels gang was born (if that’s the proper way of stating it). They infest most Western states and are tracked down by bounty hunter Uriah Zane and deputy US marshal Angel Coffin, sometime lovers and always ready to tangle with the ghouls.

The setting is good, the action is topnotch and the characters are worth following to the very last page. This is why I like weird westerns (and alt-history).

Weird Western