Over at the Wizard’s Tower website I have posted a Call for Submissions for Airship Shape & Bristol Fashion, a new anthology that I’m producing in collaboration with the BristolCon Foundation.
This is what Colin Harvey would have called an “art project”. That is, the purpose of the book is to encourage and promote talented young writers. We don’t expect it to sell in vast quantities, and the money isn’t great. We decided not to use Kickstarter to fund it, because in order to run a successful campaign you need a bunch of high profile writers already committed to the book. That would go against the intention of using mainly people who are earlier in their careers. Much as I would love to have an Anastasia Sixsmyth story in the book, I know the book is well below Ian McDonald’s radar.
Because the book is steampunk I should doubtless note right from the start that we are well aware of the potential issues with the genre. Bristol’s history is by no means wholly glorious. Indeed, much of the investment in the city in the Victorian era came from the ridiculously large sums of money that the British government paid slave traders in compensation when their business was outlawed.
As we noted on the BristolCon website, we have arranged an event next week where local historian, Eugene Byrne, will talk about some of the city’s more colorful Victorian characters. Knowing Eugene, he won’t skimp on the less pleasant aspects of history. And knowing Bristol there will doubtless be the odd riot involved. The city does have a proud tradition of telling the upper classes where to go.
Usefully, Eugene has just written a book called Unbuilt Bristol, in which he talks about some of the crazier civil engineering projects that never quite made it into the city’s landscape. It is all good alternate history fodder.
Although the primary intention is to encourage local writers, we are happy to accept submissions from elsewhere. The stories just have to be set in or near Bristol. If you need help with research we can help.
I haven’t, as yet, set a publication date for the book. It would be nice to have it out around BristolCon, but we know from experience how crazy our lives get at that time of year so we’ll see how things go. We do, however, intend to produce a paper version of the book. And that means I need to get on with sorting out how we do that.