Friday, October 15, 2010

Steampunk, Anyone?

Matthew Mayo

My Western steampunk short story, "Scourge of the Spoils," is due for release on November 2, 2010, in the DAW Books anthology, Steampunk'd, edited by Jean Rabe and Martin H. Greenberg (softcover, DAW Books, 320 pages). Fellow WF member Robert Vardeman also has a story in this anthology. The stories in this all-original collection explore alternate timelines and have been set all over the world, running the gamut from Western to science fiction to mystery to horror to a melding of these genres.

My selection is in most ways a traditional Western tale, save for a few steampunky elements. Wait ... what's steampunk, you ask? It's "what the past would look like if the future had come along earlier." Think "Wild, Wild West," and you're close. According to Wikipedia, "steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction involving an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century and often Victorian-era Britain. Works of steampunk often feature anachronistic technology or futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them. This technology may include such fictional machines as those found in the works of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne...."

The American West of the 19th century is an ideal setting for steampunk tales, and it's a great way for the Western genre to stretch and grow in new and unexpected directions. Hopefully we'll see many more Western steampunk stories in the near future. In the meantime, though, there's no better place to begin than with your very own copy of Steampunk'd. It's available for pre-order today! Here's a link:


  1. Congrats, on the short story sale, Matt. You're a trailblazer.

  2. Matt, I picked up the cover image from the DAW Books site just yesterday, so I can run it in the next Black Horse Extra where, along with Nik Morton and Gary Dobbs, you are debating on the topic of western writers' other reading. (Thanks, guys!)

    I was also wondering if the allegedly unclassifiable short story "The Unreal Jesse James" fits into the steampunk category. It was written around 2002 but you can find it -- and its hero's fulminations against the Age of Steam -- in David Cranmer's splendid new anthology, "Beat to a Pulp: Round One."

  3. There's something about Steampunk that tickles my fancy. I'm steampunking my next time-travel Gunsmith book, so there's a lot of that going around. Congrats on your sale, Matthew.

  4. I love steampunk and Matt's writing. So it's a no brainer when it comes to snagging a copy of this one.

  5. Thanks, everyone. It promises to be a fun collection!