Archive for May, 2012

A note of clarification

Posted in steampunk anthology on May 22, 2012 by neworleansbygaslight

I had a conversation at Mobicon with Rob Cerio (yes, THE Rob Cerio) about the following paragraph in the New Orleans By Gaslight call for submissions:

A note of warning about the American Civil War. The American Civil War was a decidedly grim time in American history and should not be “whitewashed” with the Victorian optimism characteristic of the typical steampunk work. If one wished to submit a “dark and gritty” story of the Civil War-era battlefield complete with steampunk elements, that would be permissible. However, in no way should the Confederacy’s cause be presented as moral or heroic. While not required as a mandatory inclusion of publication, making New Orleans a free and neutral city is a means to provide authors an easy way of largely ignoring the war if they so wish.

Mr. Cerio’s concern, a very legitimate one, is that it would be unfair and inappropriate that no story would be found favorable to the anthology if one of its protagonists fought on the side of the Confederacy and so I have chosen to make a point of clarification.

I am a fan of Jonah Hex. Regardless of how you feel about how the film turned out, as I know that too is a point of contention, I would not and did not ask that he not be shown wearing his Confederate uniform. While I would have something to say to Jonah himself about that, and would most likely be ignored, I would be disappointed if a filmmaker took it upon himself to change that detail about the character.

I am likewise a fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs and would have been disappointed if, for John Carter of Mars, they disassociated him from his history as a soldier of Virginia.

I had hoped my statement would be clear but it wasn’t. So let me be clear: you are free to submit stories with Confederate protagonists and if the readers and editors find them to be good, well-written stories, they WILL go in the anthology.

My statement was made to attempt to dissuade white supremacists from submitting propaganda stories wherein the Confederates win the war and the negroes cheerfully sing on the plantations surrounded by fluttering bluebirds saying things like “Lordy–isn’t it great that we’re all slaves and can you imagine how terrible things would be if we were free?” “Free? Why that’s a ludicrous suggestion Mary Belle–why would we want that? Whatever in the world would we do?”

That’s what my statement was intended to prevent. Nothing more.

It is the philosophy of this editor that proscriptions do not lead to good literature. And it is the aim of this anthology to further the development and influence of the Steampunk genre as Literature.

To that end, we have placed as few restrictions on submissions as possible. Submission of erotica is acceptable. Submission of stories containing profanity is as well. We have no specific limits on short story length–if you want to submit a short-short or a novella, just make it good enough to justify that length. We have no specific limits on story subject matter. If you want to submit a love story, a war story, a tale of sordid misery and revenge, an action-adventure story, or a slice-of-life vignette, please feel free.

Just make it a steampunk story and set it, at least in part, in New Orleans.

And if anyone has any concerns about what will be included or not included in the anthology, please feel free to contact me.

Cheers!

BB