Is there a Steampunk backlash? So says Design Observer via io9.

Myself, I do think one should distinguish between backlash as in: “Michael Phelps is a God!!…Oh, you know what, actually, he’s kinda boring…” and a backlash wherein something that has underlying intrinsic value gets copied/cheapened/ruthlessly exploited till it means nothing and then folks exclaim what a load of bollocks. Because to my mind “backlash” should be reserved for the former rather simple scenario, wherein we realize that it was a load of bollocks to begin with, and the latter scenario, wherein that which is lovely has been rendered a load of bollocks by forces larger that the original lovely thing.

Then to bring this post full circle—from one anthology edited by my host, to another:

Jeff’s Steampunk anthology -> Steampunk generally -> Paul DeFilipo, author of, inter alia The Steampunk Trilogy -> the Weird Universe that Paul just emailed me about this AM, totally check it out -> ta-da! Jeff and Anne’s other Tachyon anthology The New Weird!

(Ah, I love it when a post comes together…)

There’s Only Fun Left to Be Had

When I was a kid, my parents had a few couples of friends with whom they used to play cards on Saturday evenings. Whether it was bridge night or canasta night, we almost always had someone over for dinner on Saturday. This led me to believe that having guests was somewhat a fatality for my poor parents. At about the age my daughter Stefana has now, one of these visiting couples made the mistake to ask me what I wanted to become when I’ll grow up. I answered without hesitation: “I wanna be a guest!”. They laughed politely and my mom, knowing me, tried to move on with the conversation, but the lady who had asked me in the first place wanted to know more: “Why a guest?” And the answer silenced her (and sent my dad to the bathroom, where from we almost instantly heard him laughing histerically): “Yes, a guest, because guests always come when the house is cleaned, the food is ready and there’s only fun left to be had”.

I remembered this anecdote (one that my dad used to bring up whenever there were not so welcomed guests around) today, thinking that I have finally achieved my childhood dream. I am a guest, and a guest-blogger at that: the blog is here, the audience ready-built and eager for my words. In consequence, it’s time to have fun!

No, no more letters from my lawyer this time. Fun has become a peculiar notion for me, the almost forty-year-old publisher and reviewer (I do the occasional book reviews on my blog or for Nautilus, a webzine hosted by my fiercest rival in Romanian publishing but edited by my friend, writer Michael Haulică) who spends most of his time reading and writing about books. Fun is NOT reading books for review or publishing consideration purposes. Fun is spending time with my girls and doing carpentry work at the country house I bought this spring. And fun is also reading books for my own pleasure. I might end up reviewing them or even publishing them, but the initial impulse is, ALWAYS, aimed at having fun. I buy them from or B&N (they finally lifted the ban from Romanian ordering) or in the local bookstores or at bookfairs. Sometimes friends send them, sometimes I find them (on this blog, sometimes). I read them in days or merely hours. And these are the books I always end up recommending to others, even if I’m not their publisher, even if my best interest would be to push my own books. These are the ones that get pictured in my now regular bookporn blog posts, with their covers displayed to be seen by all, with sometimes even their first page being offered, scribbled with an autograph, to the salacious eyes of voyeur readers.

And, since being a guest is about having fun, I thought I’d show you some of the books I’ve had fun with this year, so far. [Read more…]