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Posts tagged “Cairo By Gaslight

More interviews! More articles!

Press coverage of New Orleans By Gaslight and Cairo By Gaslight has been very favorable! I’ve only just now uploaded links to all the different interviews and articles covering the anthologies.

Check it out!

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New Orleans-based fantasy and science fiction author Brandon Black is the editor of the By Gaslight steampunk anthology series. He has a Bachelor’s in Military and Political Journalism and a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. His short fiction has appeared in Dark Oak Press’ Dreams of Steam III and Seventh Star Press’ A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court. Brandon has just published a short anthology of steampunk and gaslamp fiction short stories entitled Mechanical Tales and is working on completing his first novel, I Was A Teenage Air Pirate. You can find out more about Brandon and his work at his website at brandonblackonline.com.
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Introduction to Cairo By Gaslight

Introduction

by Brandon Black

Let us begin with the matter of why an editor living in New Orleans should commission an anthology of stories set in Cairo, Egypt.

At thirty degrees North latitude, Cairo is, if not a twin of New Orleans, She is at least a sister city. Like New Orleans, She is a major international port, an exotic destination for travellers from the world over and a cultural centre for all the many varied peoples around Her. She is a hinge, a nexus, a centre for trade and communication connecting Europe and Africa with Judea and Arabia, the Mediterranean and Turkey. If New Orleans is the City of Sensual Delights, then Cairo is the City of Intrigues, although She certainly isn’t any slouch in the sensual delights department Herself. As New Orleans is fed by the winding waters of the Mississippi, the longest river in North America, so is Cairo watered by the sacred flow of the Nile, longest river in the world. And like New Orleans, Cairo is a city called home by many people of varied and different complexions.

Cairo is a city of minarets and mysteries, of travellers and their tales and of journeys begun and journeys ended. Cairo sings of a fabled past where Pharaohs built magnificent edifices such as the Great Pyramids, unmatched statuary like the Great Sphinx and one of the first advanced civilizations on Earth at a time when Western Europeans had not yet managed the written word. Egyptian civilization was literally made fertile by the Nile, nurtured and nursed by it, its sacred waters providing the agricultural foundation that would lead to empire. And like New Orleans, Cairo is a gate and home to powerful gods and ancient spirits birthed in Mother Africa. Founded with the planet Mars rising, the oldest name for Cairo is Khere-Ohe, “the Place of Combat,” as legend proclaims it the site for a cataclysmic battle between Horus, God of the Sun and Sutekh the Destroyer.

But all that is in the world we know. This Cairo is different. This City of a Thousand Minarets dwells in a world where Napoleon led his troops through Her streets mounted on a clockwork steed and the Battle of the Nile was fought between airships. This Cairo is one of an infinite progression of Cairos, all seen through the lens of steampunk fiction. Steampunk makes an ancient and exotic locale all the more ancient, and certainly, all the more exotic. Floating temples drift lazily overhead, exchanging places throughout the city in an architectural ballet. Elaborate palaces filled with untold riches are populated by the rulers of the city, be they Sultans, Ottoman governors, British Lords, Mohammedan caliphs or French airship admirals. This Cairo is not only home and port of call to steamships travelling up and down the Nile’s waters, but her towers are home or at least, a temporary roost, for airships travelling to and from India, Ethiopia, Capetown, Cameroon, Singapore and far Cathay.

Muskets fire and scimitars clash with swords as Muslims and Crusaders battle in the streets. Cannons bellow and blaze as airships barrage one another in the skies. Filigreed brass men, forged in the coal-fired furnaces of Ottoman Turkey, prove their worth on the battlefield as noble houses clash to see who will rule the Sultanate, and Imams struggle desperately to regain lost power after a resurgent cult of Bast sweeps the ancient Goddess back into favour. Egyptian mechanical cavalry ride out to do battle with Ethiopian steam oliphaunts in a clash between the two growing empires.

Among these infinite alternate Cairos are ones where the Khedive of Egypt threw off the yokes of Britain, France and the Ottoman Empire to join with the great air pirate tribes of North Africa and turn Cairo in a Mecca for air piracy. Sky smugglers traffic both in the new mechanised wonders of the Age of Steam and in talismans and artefacts of unknown and unfathomable mystic power from antiquity. Other Cairos see a long and bitter cold war between Britain and France turn Egypt into the front line of a European proxy war. Further afield lay Cairos that witness the struggles between Carthage and Rome reach all the way into the nineteenth century.

The streets and alleyways are thick with spies and secrets abound, though their veracity cannot be proven. Darkling whispers and shadowed cries of passion are as much Her traffic and Her trade as any pallet of Egyptian cotton or sack of sugared dates. The City of Intrigues stands as She always has, a monument steeped in secrecy and sin, and to all who walk Her streets, encountering Her wonders and delights, Her dangers and Her heartaches, in time, She provides answers to queries both spoken aloud and unuttered, but makes no promises as to whether or not one will find the answers satisfying or even if they will lead one only deeper into mystery.

Cheers,

Brandon Black

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New Orleans-based fantasy and science fiction author Brandon Black is the editor of the By Gaslight steampunk anthology series. He has a Bachelor’s in Military and Political Journalism and a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. His short fiction has appeared in Dark Oak Press’ Dreams of Steam III and Seventh Star Press’ A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court. Brandon has just published a short anthology of steampunk and gaslamp fiction short stories entitled Mechanical Tales and is working on completing his first novel, I Was A Teenage Air Pirate.


Review of Cairo By Gaslight

Quite by accident, I discovered Ira Nayman’s review of Cairo By Gaslight at Amazing Stories. It makes for interesting reading.

Review: Cairo by Gaslight

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Fantasy, science fiction and steampunk author Brandon Black is the editor of New Orleans By Gaslight, a first of its kind anthology of steampunk and gaslamp fantasy poetry and fiction set in Victorian-era New Orleans. Brandon is also the web content manager for the Week in Geek, New Orleans’ favourite fantasy and science fiction themed radio talk show, every Thursday at 6 pm CST on FOX Sports 1280 AM.

 


Two Interviews

Cheers, all. I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed, not once, but twice. The first interview was conducted by Ofeibea Loveless of the Pandora Society and the second by author Bryan Thao Worra. I hope you enjoy them!

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Fantasy, science fiction and steampunk author Brandon Black is the editor of New Orleans By Gaslight, a first of its kind anthology of steampunk and gaslamp fantasy poetry and fiction set in Victorian-era New Orleans. Brandon is also the web content manager for the Week in Geek, New Orleans’ favourite fantasy and science fiction themed radio talk show, every Thursday at 6 pm CST on FOX Sports 1280 AM. Click here to check out Brandon’s ever-expanding list of published works.
All content copyright Brandon Black


Cairo By Gaslight Table of Contents

Brandon Black
・Introduction

David Ducorbier
・Discerning Eye

Jay Wilburn
・Grain

Alexandra Bartoli
・Cairo Delight

Matthew Bright
・Antonia and Cleopatra

Alexa Templeton
・Words to a Slave Girl

Matthew Wilson
・Last Throw of the Dice

Dionne Cherie
・Daughter of Heaven and Earth

Hope Erica Schultz
・Cairo Sunset

Evelyn Grimwood
・The Gods Return

Damir Salkovic
・The Infernal Device

Garrett Piglia
・Days of End Conquest

Brandon Black
・Camryn Bey and the Yeti from Mars

Gary Bourgeois
・Rescue at Crocodile Island

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Fantasy, science fiction and steampunk author Brandon Black is the editor of New Orleans By Gaslight, a first of its kind anthology of steampunk and gaslamp fantasy poetry and fiction set in Victorian-era New Orleans. Brandon is also the web content manager for the Week in Geek, New Orleans’ favourite fantasy and science fiction themed radio talk show, every Saturday at 1 pm CST on WGSO 990 AM. Click here to check out Brandon’s ever-expanding list of published works.
All content copyright © Brandon Black


How Lovecraft Caused My Downfall

I’ve written, to date, eight steampunk short stories. And when I wrote those stories, I had no plan or intention for them to be consistent with each other. This was something I had learned from H. P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft didn’t write his stories to be consistent with each other — he wasn’t deliberately crafting an internally consistent universe. In his mind, he was creating a playground for himself and his fellow authors to explore different ideas and concepts. And he was selling stories, and those stories might wind up in this magazine or the other and he had no thought that someone would one day hunt them all down and expect them to make sense compared to one another.

And so I followed suit. To date, I’ve published three of my eight steampunk stories, one in Dreams of Steam III and the other two in New Orleans By Gaslight. Two of the other five are being considered by editors as we speak and a third, “Camryn Bey and the Yeti from Mars,” will be published in Cairo By Gaslight. So it never made any sense to me that I should bend over backwards to keep this detail consistent with that detail in some other story. After all, there’s no reason to suspect that should I get a story published in some magazine that anyone at all will also have read my stories from New Orleans By Gaslight and absolutely no reason to think that even if they should, that they would one day ask me why some idea introduced in a story in New Orleans By Gaslight didn’t match how I treated some subject in a story placed with a magazine. No. The logical thing to do was to focus on each story as its own story and to make it the best story it could possibly be and not to worry about the details falling between them.

I’m talking about details like there being no radio in “The Gift” and radio being existent in “Camryn Bey and the Yeti from Mars.” Similarly the lack of commonplace lift engines in “Camryn Bey” but not in “The Gift.” “Camryn Bey and the Yeti from Mars” will be in the upcoming anthology Cairo By Gaslight, and while there’s every reason to suspect that many of the readers we gained from New Orleans By Gaslight will also pick up Cairo, there’s no reason to think anyone would expect the two stories to be set in the same fictional universe.

And that’s how I operated until last December. Last December at the first Geekonomicon, Allan Gilbreath introduced me to Tommy Hancock of Pro Se Productions. Tommy told me the best way to promote a novel — I’m working on my first novel by the way — is to release a series of short stories set in that fictional universe. I listened. I nodded. I got home. I panicked.

None of my stories were written with an eye towards consistency with the others. I could and would write new stories but even then, the question would be which stories should the new stories be consistent with?

I drew up a quick list of the steampunk stories I’d written so far:

“Time and the Wrinkled Prostitute”

“Songs of the Divine Pulsation”

“The Gift”

“Blood, Steam, and Iron”

“The Night Mississippi Declared War on the Moon”

“All Aboard The Storyville Express”

“Camryn Bey and the Yeti from Mars”

“The Sublimity Chair”

Without giving away any spoilers, “Time and the Wrinkled Prostitute,” “The Night Mississippi Declared War on the Moon,” “Camryn Bey and the Yeti from Mars,” and “The Sublimity Chair” each dealt with plot points, story concepts or ideas that I didn’t envision to be in keeping with my imagined steampunk universe, the setting I was sketching out for my novel. So they had to go off to their own separate universes. Giving it some thought, I could see no reason that they couldn’t share a universe and so my second steampunk universe was born.

Well then, what stories did I see in keeping with the universe I was building? “Songs of the Divine Pulsation” and “The Gift” were both stories that fit that universe precisely. They were the stories I was writing when I laid the foundation for my steampunk universe. And that both stories had been published together in New Orleans By Gaslight was a plus in that I could reasonably assume anyone who’d read one of the two would have read the other. Also, New Orleans By Gaslight was my biggest foray into steampunk to date. So it would be great if readers from that anthology came along to read my first novel as well.

“All Aboard The Storyville Express” was expressly written to be part of its own universe, a steampunk dystopia. My mainline steampunk universe is intended to be a lot more upbeat and positive. “All Aboard The Storyville Express” was written as a one-off, a stand-alone story that now that it was done, I had no intention to come back to. However, my beta readers told me in no uncertain terms that that would not be tolerated. So — I sat down and thought about how I would expand it and ideas did start flooding in and I decided to craft a series of short stories about the character. “Blood, Steam, and Iron” was another dystopia story I’d written as a complete one-off but looking back at it, there was no reason that the dystopia it portrayed and the dystopia of “All Aboard The Storyville Express” couldn’t be the same dystopia and viewed in that light, “Blood, Steam, and Iron” revealed important details about the history of that world. And so, now I had three steampunk universes.

Of course, three steampunk universes for a new author seems like two steampunk universes too many but that problem is easily solved by holding the stories from the other two universes back until there are enough of them to fill an anthology. Or at least, I’m hoping that’s how it will all work out. Wish me luck.

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Fantasy, science fiction and steampunk author Brandon Black is the editor of New Orleans By Gaslight, a first of its kind anthology of steampunk and gaslamp fantasy poetry and fiction set in Victorian-era New Orleans. Brandon is also the web content manager for the Week in Geek, New Orleans’ favourite fantasy and science fiction themed radio talk show, every Saturday at 1 pm CST on WGSO 990 AM. Click here to check out Brandon’s ever-expanding list of published works.