Polish edition of STEAMPUNK inspires national pride



While doing my weekly search for online mentions of Tachyon books, I ran across a review of the Polish edition of Ann & Jeff VanderMeer’s Steampunk. While reviewer Anna Siemomysła at Ziarno Myśli, czyli wynurzenia Siemomysły didn’t care much for the book (“an anthology of ‘Steampunk’ is a good compendium of the mainstream, but in my opinion, unfortunately this is not a collection of good literature”), she made special mention of my contribution.

After twelve texts we receive are two articles (by Rick Klaw and Bill Baker), from which we can learn about the fact that steampunk is not just literature. Such pop compendium of knowledge about what and how and where to look. Rick Klaw recalls, for example, about our native Retrostacji what I personally introduced a state of national pride;)

(All translations courtesy of Google.)

For those that don’t have their copy of Steampunk handy (or *gasp* don’t own a copy), here’s the mention that got Siemomysła excited.

The English language version of the Polish site Retrostacji, Steampunkopedia (steampunk.republika.pl) offers the most comprehensive steampunk works chronological bibliography available on the web along with numerous links to steampunk-inspired videos. Sadly, the site stopped updating in February, 2007.


While the Polish edition sports a great cover, obviously inspired by Joe R. Lansdale’s contribution “The Steam Man of the Prairie and the Dark Rider Get Down,” Joe is not mentioned on the cover. Weird.

It’s ArmadilloCon time once again: Where I’ll be reading, talking, etc.

rayguns cover actual med

Cover by Rocky Kelley


It hasn’t rained in forever, the mercury is hitting triple digits, and we’re just passed the halfway point of the baseball season. It must be time for ArmadilloCon once again!

This year’s con, the 37th such affair, takes place this coming weekend (July 24-26).

Guest of Honor – Ken Liu

Special Guest – James Morrow

Editor Guest – L. Timmel Duchamp

Fan Guest – John DeNardo

Toastmaster – Stina Leicht

Artist Guest – Rocky Kelley


As I have for roughly the past 25 years, I’ll be in attendance and because apparently the con organizers have learned nothing, I’ll be sitting in on several panels.

SF TV Shows We’re Anticipating
Fri 9:00 PM-10:00 PM Ballroom F
Allen*, Frank, Klaw, Oliver, Rountree

The Expanse, Man in the High Castle, Minority Report, etc.: Which looks the most interesting and exciting? How faithful can the ones with literary origins be to their source material?


Sat 10:00 AM-10:30 AM Southpark B
Rick Klaw

(Not sure entirely what I’ll be reading but most likely from The Steampunk Bible,Geek Confidential, and/or The Apes of Wrath.

Cover by Alex Solis

Cover by Alex Solis

SF Movies from Last Year
Sat 9:00 PM-10:00 PM Southpark A
Cargill, Clarke, DeNardo*, Johnson, Klaw, Wright

The good, the bad, and a few movies more.

(Should be interesting since I haven’t seen that many SF movies this year)


Comic Books on TV
Sat 10:00 PM-11:00 PM Ballroom F
Bey, Eudaly, Klaw, Lalumiere, Porter*, Rogers

From “Look, up in the air!” to “Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man” to “I’m the fastest man alive!”.


Sun 1:00 PM-2:00 PM Dealers’ Room
Klaw, Lalumiere, Ledbetter, Leicht, Maresca, Prevost


Book Covers: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Sun 2:00 PM-3:00 PM Ballroom F
P. J. Hoover, Kelley*, Klaw, Moyer, W. Siros, Weisman

How does a cover artist balance creative impulses with the imperative to create a cover that sells books? What are the notable successes and failures?

Mark Finn, Rick Klaw, and Doug Potter at Armadillocon 26

Mark Finn, Rick Klaw, and Doug Potter at Armadillocon 26

I hope to see everyone there.

Houston, here I come…

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This coming Memorial Day Weekend, I am guest at Houston’s Comicpalooza. The traditionally comic and media heavy convention as decided to venture into literary programming. Hence, my invite and appearance on several panels.

Friday, May 22

4PM Essential Horror: The Books You Should Be Reading

From Frankenstein and Carrie to the Wayward Pines trilogy; what are the best stories a true horror fan should read? Our panelists share which books and authors are on their list and why. Danel Olson, Rick Klaw, Jacqueline Patricks, Chun Lee, Gabrielle Faust

Saturday, May 23

11:30AM Essential SF: The Sci-Fi You Must Read

What are the books you should read to have a well-rounded knowledge of science fiction? Come learn which works and authors our panel of experts thinks you should know and maybe you can give them a few suggestions as well! Raymond E. Feist, D.L. Young, Rick Klaw, K. S. O’Neill, H. C. H. Ritz, C. D. Lewis

4PM Cyberpunk in Books and Movies

From Neuromancer to Blade Runner and Elysium; cyberpunk fiction has influenced countless novels and films with its high-tech; low-culture worldview. Join the discussion on the roots of cyberpunk and its influence on sci-fi over the last 30 years. D.L. Young, K. S. O’Neill, Rachael Acks, Rick Klaw, Gabrielle Faust

Monday, May 24

4PM Sci-Fi Writing on TV: The Best (and Worst)

The Twilight Zone; Orphan Black; Star Trek; Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.; Doctor Who” what are the all-time best (and worst) of television’s science fiction shows; and what makes them so great (or not so great)? Come and participate in the discussion! C. D. Lewis, Rick Klaw, Wayne Basta, C. Stuart Hardwick, Diana Dru Botsford

Hope to see everyone one there.

The Simonsons are good people

I was looking over the Comicpalooza site, when I happened upon the Autograph and Photo Prices. Even though I find the act of charging for signatures largely deplorable, I was curious what people are demanding. While there are some free, most range from $25 to $50.

Two in particular stood out to me.

Simonson Louise No charge

Donations accepted for
Hero Initiative

Simonson Walt No charge

Donations accepted for
Hero Initiative

The Hero Initiative is a fantastic and sorely needed organization for comic book creators.

The Hero Initiative is the first-ever federally chartered not-for-profit corporation dedicated strictly to helping comic book creators in need. Hero creates a financial safety net for yesterdays’ creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work. It’s a chance for all of us to give back something to the people who have given us so much enjoyment.

This further cements Walt Simonson as one of my favorite artists. Apparently, he’s a good human being as well.

Graphic novels received 5/16/14

Let’s take a quick look to see what’s arrived at the Geek Compound.

91JEhqxM+HLThe Michael Moorcock Library Vol.1: Elric of Melnibone
Script & adaptation by Roy Thomas
Art by Michael T. Gilbert & P. Craig Russell

Promo copy:

Collecting the first volume of the classic adaptation of Michael Moorcock’s bestselling fantasy saga, Elric of Melniboné marks the perfect introduction to the series’ iconic antihero, his fabled blade, Stormbringer, and his harrowing adventures across the Dragon Isle. Adapted by former Marvel Comics editor, Roy Thomas, and beautifully rendered by longtime comics illustrator, Michael T. Gilbert, and the multiple Harvey and Eisner award-winning P. Craig Russell, this definitive collection marks an essential read for all fans of sword and sorcery and brings the Moorcock’s epic tales to life with luxuriant imagination.

On the book’s title page they get the artist credits wrong. It’s attributed to Michael T. DAVIS rather than GILBERT.

A1X0zBAqdNL    91XlVWCY6nL

A1O8AtFdShL     91lhRtGZEFL

Continue reading

The legendary Sidney Bechet was born 118 years ago



(Image courtesy of Wikipedia)

Born in New Orleans on May 14, 1897, Sydney Bechet was the first great Jazz clarinetist. He famously performed with many famous musicians including Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, and Josephine Baker. A master of improvisation, Bechet often played lead parts that were usually reserved for trumpets.


In 2004, Tachyon produced a chapbook of Bechet’s OMAR, a tale of of passion, danger, and betrayal in the Bayou.  Infused with voodoo, love, music, and death, the chronicle is wrought out of a brutal period in American history, passed down by a family born into slavery. It is jazz legend Sidney Bechet’s story.

Sidney Bechet died in Paris on May 14, 1959 at the age of 62.

For more about Sidney Betchet, visit The Sidney Bechet Society.

For more about OMAR, visit the Tachyon page.

Cover by William Reid.

Look what just arrived at the Geek Compound!

As chronicled here, Hannu Rajaniemi visited the Tachyon offices in San Francisco. Many thanks to the fine folks there who got me this inscribed copy. 

Tachyon fearless leader Jacob Weisman aiding Hannu.

There are times that I really love my job as Tachyon’s resident social media maven.

Photo by Jill Roberts

HANNU RAJANIEMI: COLLECTED FICTION cover art by Lius Lasahido. Design by Elizabeth Story.

At last, RAYGUNS OVER TEXAS goes digital

Cover by Rocky Kelley

Cover by Rocky Kelley

At long last, Rayguns Over Texas comes out in an ebook format.

“In spite of the title, which implies freewheeling space opera, there’s only one raygun to be found in Rayguns Over Texas, an original anthology edited by Richard Klaw; most stories here don’t take us off Earth, and most don’t have anything to do with aliens (attacking or otherwise) or armadas of battling spaceships. That doesn’t mean that the anthology isn’t fun, though.” – Gardner Dozois, Locus Mag

“I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did.” – Bruce Sterling, from his introduction

“I love the cover by Rocky Kelley (no relation)! Bruce Sterling provides a wonderful Introduction. Scott Cupp’s essay on his SF reading is masterful. Neal Barrett, Jr., Joe R. Lansdale, and Michael Moorcock wrote my favorite stories in this collection, but there are plenty of other enjoyable stories here. Pick up a copy soon before they’re all gone!” – George Kelly,GeorgeKelly.org


Since the end of the Civil War, Texans have played an essential role in the history of science fiction. Acclaimed and influential writers such as Bruce Sterling, Michael Moorcock, Howard Waldrop, Walter M. Miller, Jr., Marion Zimmer Bradley, Gene Wolfe, Neal Barrett, Jr., L. Sprague DeCamp, Chad Oliver, John Steakley, and Elizabeth Moon all called The Lone Star State home.

Continuing this proud tradition, Rayguns Over Texas features 17 original and two classic tales that reflect the current creative state of Texas sci-fi, alongside historical essays and an introduction by Hugo award-winning, Texas ex-pat Bruce Sterling.

Whatcha waiting for? Hustle you way over and pick up your copy today at Amazon.

Books received 5/1/15

By popular demand, I’m resurrecting my books received feature. I don’t get as many physical books as before, but there is still plenty for me to post about.

Let’s take a quick look to see what’s arrived at the Geek Compound.

downloadThe Vorrh
by B. Catling
Book design by Jaclyn Whalen

Promo copy:

Prepare to lose yourself in the heady, mythical expanse of The Vorrh, a daring debut that Alan Moore has called “a phosphorescent masterpiece” and “the current century’s first landmark work of fantasy.”

Next to the colonial town of Essenwald sits the Vorrh, a vast—perhaps endless—forest. It is a place of demons and angels, of warriors and priests. Sentient and magical, the Vorrh bends time and wipes  memory. Legend has it that the Garden of Eden still exists at its heart. Now, a renegade English soldier aims to be the first human to traverse its expanse. Armed with only a strange bow, he begins his journey, but some fear the consequences of his mission, and a native marksman has been chosen to stop him. Around them swirl a remarkable cast of characters, including a Cyclops raised by robots and a young girl with tragic curiosity, as well as historical figures, such as writer Raymond Roussel and photographer and Edward Muybridge.  While fact and fictional blend, and the hunter will become the hunted, and everyone’s fate hangs in the balance, under the will of the Vorrh.

This sound fascinating. Complete with blurbs from Alan Moore, Terry Gilliam, Tom Waits, and Jeff VanderMeer!

Continue reading

Upping the Ante with Michael Moorcock


This coming Saturday, April 18 at Austin Books, I’m interviewing Michael Moorcock about his lengthy comics career. Rather than re-iterate his accomplishments (which I did at length in a Nexus Graphica column), I decided to relate this personal and previously untold tale about Michael Moorcock and comics.

I’d know Mike for about 5 years when the idea for a Captain Marvel (or Shazam! as the folks at DC refer to The Big Cheese) comic happened. My buddy John Lucas and I talked with Mike in his home office shooting the shit. This hazy wonderland of geek ephemera delivers a memorable experience with abundance of British pulps, comics (the modern graphic novel variety and the classic Golden Age variety), novels by the famous, talented, and those inbetween, and glass cases of toy soldiers. A cloth-covered table crafted from boxes of books, a comfortable old couch, miscellaneous art, a Gold Record commemorating Hawkwind’s Chronicle of the Black Sword, and the prerequisite overflowing bookcases complete the picture.

A commission by John Picacio

A commission by John Lucas

The three of us were/are big fan’s of C. C. Beck’s goofy creation and his extended family. I don’t remember the exact story we concocted except it dealt with Sivana sending the Marvels to different periods of history. The proposed four issue series would pick up immediately after the heroes final Golden Age adventure, ignoring all of the ensuing DC continuity for the character. Mike suggested tapping the legendary Walter Simonson as the penciller with Lucas inks.

Though now widely respected for his work on several Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse titles, at the time Lucas was practically a neophyte with his best know output in my Weird Business anthology and some work for Caliber. To say John and I were shocked would be an understatement, but Mike wasn’t done.

He picked up the phone and called Simonson. They became good friends while working together on Michael Moorcock’s Multiverse and held each other in high esteem.

After a brief pitch, Walt was on board.

Walter Simonson's Elric

Walter Simonson’s Elric

John and I exchanged amazed glances. Sure, I could call some relatively famous people and get them to work with me (Mike was a good example), but this speed and audacity was a whole new level for us.

He then upped the ante.

He called editor Mike Carlin, who was in charge of a good chunk of the DC mythos. Carlin took Mike’s call and listened to the pitch but politely declined. Apparently DC already had a high profile Captain Marvel project on the horizon, Jeff Smith’s Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil.

Sadly, the project never got beyond that stage. Lucas still has never inked Walt Simonson but that’s okay, he did eventually get to draw Mary Marvel for DC in Starman: The Mist and now routinely gets work (including a Mark Finn-scripted story in the recent Strange Sports Stories #2). Mike and Simonson worked together on several more projects together including Elric: Making of a Sorcerer. As for me, I’m still close with Mike and John and have worked with both of them numerous times over the years (never all three of us together), but my dreams of writing Captain Marvel are long gone.


The discussion on Saturday starts at 1 at Austin Books. Mike will be signing copies of the recently released graphic novels Michael Moorcock’s Elric Vol. 2: Stormbringer and The Michael Moorcock Library Vol.1: Elric of Melnibone as well as numerous other titles.