Interview with Editor Sarah Hans

This week we are talking with Sarah Hans, editor of Steampunk World and Steampunk Universe.


Airship Ambassador: Hi Sarah, thanks for joining us for this interview.

Sarah Hans: Thanks for having me!


AA: There is quite the list of published works on your website, including An Ideal Vessel in The Crimson Pact: Volume 1, Among the Stars in  Time-Traveled Tales, Volume 1, and Shadows of the Darkest Jade in Whispers From The Abyss, Vol. 2. Among your editing credits are Steampunk World and the upcoming Steampunk Universe. What is the theme behind each one?

SH: Most of my short stories are horror, though many of them also contain steampunk elements. Steampunk World and Steampunk Universe are decidedly not horror, though there are definitely some dark stories included. Steampunk World is a collection of multicultural steampunk stories from around the world. Steampunk Universe is a collection of steampunk stories about disabled and aneurotypical characters.


AA: As the themes are different, what is the goal for each anthology?

SH: My goal with both anthologies is the same: to broaden the representation of steampunk characters in the hopes that steampunk fiction will more closely represent our wonderful, diverse steampunk community.


AA: That a great concrete way of being inclusive. What got these projects started? Why create them?

SH: I’ve been involved in steampunk cosplay and the community for about 6 years. During that time I also started writing and selling short stories. Steve Saus at Alliteration Ink asked me whether I had any ideas for short fiction anthologies, and I proposed Steampunk World. It was the inevitable collision of my two great loves, steampunk and short fiction! I was inspired by the amazing multicultural steampunk looks I saw at conventions like WindyCon and TeslaCon for Steampunk World. The inspiration for Steampunk Universe hits a little closer to home, because not only am I a person with a disability, but I’ve dedicated my career to teaching students with disabilities. I’ve seen the incredible technological advances changing the lives of disabled people firsthand, and it made sense to explore what steampunk technology could do for disabled people in an alternate history setting.


AA: With your background, then, you bring experience and perspective, which will be valuable in setting the feel and voice of the anthology. Why specifically choose steampunk as the aesthetic and feel for these stories to tell?

SH: Because of my involvement in the steampunk community and my success writing steampunk short stories, it felt natural. Like, of course I should edit a steampunk anthology!


AA: There are eighteen authors contributing to Steampunk World. How many are you expecting in Steampunk Universe, what can you share with us about their backgrounds, and what we can expect from them?

SH: Currently there are 16 authors involved in Steampunk Universe, but just between you and me, a few more might be added before the end of the Kickstarter. Some of the authors self-identify as disabled or aneurotypical, myself included. Others are POC or LGBTQ. I’m really excited to have big names like Ken Liu, Jody Lynn Nye, and Maurice Broaddus involved, and of course I’m thrilled to have some returning authors like Emily Cataneo and Malon Edwards. One of the best things about editing an anthology is also discovering new voices, and I can’t wait to bring you stories by Matthew Bright, Suna Dasi, and other writers you may not have read just yet.


AA: This will be GREAT! How did you find everyone? Was there an open call and selection process?

SH: I started by inviting most of the authors who had submitted to Steampunk World. Then I held an open call. The call lasted about 12 months. That means the writers whose stories had already been accepted had to let me sit on their stories for a year! I gave them the option to sell the stories elsewhere, which a few of them did, but a lot of people really wanted Steampunk Universe to be the first publication of their story. I can’t tell you what an honor and pleasure that is.


AA: It says a lot about what they think of you and the project. Without giving spoilers, what interesting things will readers find along the way in each anthology?

SH: Each anthology ended up with a secondary theme that developed based on the stories I received and selected for the anthology. The secondary theme of Steampunk World was definitely anticolonial. A lot of the stories are about indigenous people overthrowing colonial regimes, which I think is wonderful because steampunk can have colonial overtones. The popularity of the anthology reflects a desire by readers, writers, and steampunks to subvert that narrative. I’m still working on Steampunk Universe, but so far the secondary theme is, I would say, finding the ability in disability, making your disability part of your unique identity, finding strength and gifts that other people might not possess as a result of it. It’s shaping up to be a really powerful statement about the experiences of disabled and aneurotypical people, the hardship and trauma that we endure, but also our adaptability and optimism in the face of great struggles.


AA: Those are very engaging themes and I’m sure people will have plenty to think about after reading teh stories. What are some of the objects which help tell a story?

SH: One of the things that makes a story “steampunk,” for me, is the inclusion of cool gadgets and technology. In Steampunk Universe we’ll have everything from steam-powered hearts to exoskeletons, as well as a steampunk visor that helps a blind girl to see. There’s even an entire spaceship!


AA: How many more stories were there which just couldn’t be squeezed into the final book?

SH: I received 75 submissions, in total, for Steampunk Universe.


AA: Wow! Any plans for a third volume?

SH: Nope. This will be my final foray into steampunk anthologies.


We’ll pause in chatting with Sarah while I get deal with pending reading withdrawal, knowing there’s no ‘planned’ next book.

Join us for part two when she talks about being a writer as well as an editor.

Keep up to date with Sarah’s latest news on her website and on Twitter.

You can support Sarah and our community by getting your copy of Steampunk World here. Be on the look out for Steampunk Universe!

Published in: on October 31, 2016 at 7:51 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , ,

Press Release – Airship Ashanti Presents 2017 Multicultural Steampunk Calendar


In an effort to showcase the diversity of its local steampunk scene, Airship Ashanti is selling copies of its new 2017 multicultural steampunk calendar this fall. The calendar features members of the Cincinnati/Dayton steampunk community as well as holidays from cultures and religions around the world.
HRA Ashanti Captain Mandisa Njeri says the group created the calendar to be more inclusive of the various beliefs, religions, and backgrounds that make up the world around us.
“For several years, the HRA Ashanti has stood behind its calling to support its local community through multiculturalism,” she adds. “This calendar is a step in the right direction of inclusive society that embraces the different cultures throughout the world.”
You can purchase a calendar for $15 from an Airship Ashanti member in person at the November 5 and December 3 steampunk salons at Molly Malone’s in Cincinnati, at Pandoracon in Blue Ash, Ohio (Nov. 11-13), or at the group’s table at Teslacon in Middleton, Wis. (Nov. 18-20). If you aren’t attending any of these events, you can contact the group via email at to inquire about purchasing a calendar.

Proceeds go to Airship Ashanti’s future programming and philanthropic initiatives. There are only 50 copies available so get ’em while they’re hot!

Published in: on October 28, 2016 at 1:10 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , ,

Interview with Editor Joyce Chng, Conclusion

Welcome back for the conclusion in our chat with Joyce Chng, co-editor of The Sea Is Ours: Tales of Steampunk SEAsia.

Read Part One here.

Read Part Two here.


Airship Ambassador: What do you consider your first real writing or editing experience? Was it at school or something you just did on your own?

Joyce Chng: Define ‘real’ writing. Do you mean real as being published? Then if this were so, I was published in my school newsletter. The story was about dragons. I was heavily influenced by Jane Yolen.

Then in 2000, I had a story in Fang, Claw and Steel. It was fun writing it, because it was a short story about female werewolves who went around beating up domestic abusers.

My first (semi-pro) story was published by Crossed Genres. It is a steampunk/alt-history tale about Imperial China, woman captains and ships that could fly.

All these writing experiences have always felt as if they were the first for me, because I learned something new in each experience.


AA: How have you and your work grown and changed over time?

JC: I am 41, about to turn 42. So, physically, I am definitely older than my idealistic 25 year old self. Writing-wise, my style has become more sparse, less overkill. Now it’s basically every word counts. No need for long info-dumps or paragraphs filled with adjectives or descriptions: a simple word or phrase will punch and mean more than a lengthy monologue.


AA: It like that comment often heard from all kinds of designers – less is more. Knowing when to edit out is a valuable skill. What are some of your methods to stay motivated and creative?

JC: Enjoy life, observe things, people-watch, do a bit of photography, make bread, exercise (swordwork).


AA: If you weren’t an editor and author, what else would you be doing now?

JC: Teaching. Looking after my kids. Doing artwork, reading up on medieval history.


AA: Most of the authors I’ve talked with have some type of day job and that writing is their other job. What has that situation been for you?

JC: My dayjob is (adjunct) teaching. I used to teach full-time in Singapore. Teaching is part of the civil service. Then I left the teaching service, and returned to it later on adjunct/part-time basis. So, basically, yes, I am balancing day job and writing. It is not a bad thing to have a day job. It is not a bad thing because it pays the bills. And it is not a bad thing to have a day job because full-time writing is not for all. Of course, if the world is perfect, everybody would be writing full-time. Unless you have sufficient savings, an understanding spouse, or an extreme successful writing career, having a day job is not a bad thing.

So, in my case, I might not have privilege nor access to attend conventions or conferences. ICFA this year was a miracle for me, since it fell within a school holiday week, and I had help from Con Or Bust (and for which I am immensely, immensely grateful).

Likewise, as I did mention above, I write at night, so… it is not a hindrance per se. Hopefully, I might take a break in 2017… to re-charge and – perhaps – to write…


AA: Looking beyond steampunk, writing and working, what other interests fill your time?

JC: Photography, gardening, swordwork, and baking.


AA: We could talk plants sometime! How do those interests influence your work?

JC: Photography is visual story-telling. Things like light, composition and framing… remind me all the time about settings and environments. I am a visual person, so being out with my camera (when I have the time!) is a good thing.


AA: There’s only so much time in a day – what interests don’t you have time for?

JC: I would like to have an allotment or a small garden where I could grow local greens and herbs. Likewise, I would like to focus on researching more on Joan of Arc and female knights/warriors.


AA: What other fandoms are you part of?

JC: Star Trek (mainly), a bit of Star Wars. I am pretty much eclectic, with everything in between, because I have always assumed science fiction and fantasy is just science fiction and fantasy.


AA: Are there people you consider an inspiration, role model, or other motivating influence?

JC: The late Professor Philippa Maddern, who was my MA thesis supervisor. She gave me a book about Wiscon as my MA graduation gift.


AA: What is the best advice you’ve been given?

JC: “Stop the over-kill.”


AA: Any final thoughts to share with our readers

JC: Go forth and create!


Thanks, Joyce, for joining us for this interview and for sharing all of your thoughts. We look forward to hearing about your next projects!

Keep up to date with Joyce’s latest news on her website and on Twitter.

You can support Joyce and our community by getting your copy of The Sea Is Ours here.

Published in: on October 27, 2016 at 7:31 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , ,