Speaking of “long delayed” anthologies (as we have just below) let us now take a trip in the wayback machine to the year 2012, in the month of September.  Here we find news of such things as a story, ”Avoid Seeing a Mouse,” to be published in the anthology ZOMBIE JESUS AND OTHER TRUE STORIES as edited by one Max Booth III; local group Upstart Poets continues to hold monthly readings; a poem called “California Vamp” has been selected for inclusion in the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s annual DWARF STARS anthology; DAILY SCIENCE FICTION’s first-year print collection has just been received; and then this item from September 4th:

But what about new work?  Well, yesterday’s walkthrough of mounting up email revealed a quick and at first slightly cryptic, more probably from my still starry-eyed condition from Worldcon than any real failing in its wording, message from Chuck Zaglanis . . . the import [of which] is that a hitherto unpublished story, “Raising the Dead,” has been accepted for the upcoming anthology AIRSHIPS & AUTOMATONS.  “We seek steampunk stories featuring strong characters, exciting plotlines, and automatons airships-final-front-cover1-224x300and/or airships.  . . .  Dystopian, humorous, pulp, Lovecraftian, upbeat or dark — all have a place here.  Please don’t feel constrained to write in a Victorian setting.  It’s steampunk, push the boundaries.  We’re looking for that certain flavor of writing that’s hard to explain, but obvious when it’s present.”   

“Raising the Dead” is at heart a love story with curators, ghouls, Necromancers, graves . . . and an airship.  It’s one of my “Tombs” stories set on a far-future dying Earth and, as I noted in my cover letter, “dystopic but with a sort of transcendent hope.”

I went on to say that “[a]s I understand it, the stories in AIRSHIPS & AUTOMATONS will follow a chronological order, beginning with one set in ancient Greece, and progressing to . . . maybe the world of the Tombs?  In other words, as in the guidelines quoted in part above, to take it away from the run of the mill of exclusively Victorian settings and add, I think, an extra level of novelty and excitement.”

And then it disappeared.  As an airship drifting behind a cloud, the anthology . . . was gone!

And so it goes.

Two long years passed, even rumors fading away like wisps of mist before an autumn dawn. . . .

But then — actually on December 30 but due to a hiatus at this end not opened until January 2 — came an email from Editor Zaglanis with a contract attached!  With it was a request to copy, sign, and return two copies “so I can cut you a check.  Feel free to revise your bio if you wish.  Thank you for your patience and the wonderful story.”

So it is back — or at least one hopes.  More will be reported here as it is revealed.  For now at least, the contracts went into the mail this morning; an updated bio was emailed last night (a major addition:  that the collection THE TEARS OF ISIS, then awaiting a hoped for May publication, has since become a 2014 Bram Stoker Award(R) nominee); and, if all goes well, I think AIRSHIPS & AUTOMATONS may become a major addition to the steampunk genre — and one that will have been worth the wait!

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  1. I finally gave up on that one and withdrew my submission and sold it to someone else (though they had never gotten back to me anyway.) Good to know they are going ahead.

  2. My “success secret,” sort of, is I try to have enough things in the mix that I can afford to let one or two submissions go for a while and, in this case, A&A seemed such a good fit as well as a potential real winner (especially interesting to me, the setting of stories in chronological order — “steampunk through the ages,” at least as I see it — with my far-future setting the final entry) that it seemed worth cutting some extra slack for. Even at that, though, they could have been much better on communications.




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