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Steampunk Trails #1

Steampunk Trails #1
Steampunk Trails
Steampunk Trails brings the world of steam and gadgets right to your fingertips. In the inaugural edition enter a world of machines with ill intent, hearts of gold, and evil. You will find assassins, unlikely heroes and people just trying to survive in a domain overrun by the establishment. Encounter places where mosquitoes are actually useful and airships dominate the skies.

Steampunk Trails Website

A review by Sandra Scholes

The first of anything new is daunting, but also interesting. Steampunk Trails is a new magazine by David B. Riley, editor of Science Fiction Trails and Low Noon. His choice of quality fiction can be seen here as he has gathered several of the well-known names from his previous magazines and novel compilations; Carrie Vaughn, OM Gray, Quincy Allen, Henrik Ramsager, Lyn McConchie, Vivian Caethe, Sam Knight, Rhye Manhattan and Mike Cervantes.

The editor has a love of the steampunk culture, its art, fiction, fashion and unusual creations that the Victorian era brought. J.A. Campbell enjoys researching airship pirates and primitive tech along with magic. Steampunk in this magazine means more than just standard fiction. Here the genre is a mix of fantasy, science-fiction and horror as vampires tend to be featured here. David B. Riley thought it was time to broaden his horizons after publishing Science Fiction Trails for several years. He thought that steampunk stories might prove different to his usual fare as each story is unique and covers the different perspectives on the era and its rich history. Riley felt that he wanted to create a new magazine that featured stories about the kind of steampunk that ardent fans would also take seriously as they would know if any writers were faking their interest in the genre.

As this magazine is new, he hopes that readers will enjoy it and if it has the interest of many, it might start being more than an annual, and turn into a more regular publication. When you take into account that Science Fiction Trails is now ten years old and already part of a niche fiction market, who knows what Steampunk Trails will become. Maybe this will end up at issue 10 after all. Judging from the fiction inside these pages, there is a good enough chance that it will.

You would think that the magazine would start with a story, but in Carrie Vaughn's case, it begins with an article about steampunk fashion. Vaughn points out that whatever you make it has to look genuine as people who are into steampunk will notice. The article is about the ideas of steampunk fashion, mentioning her experience at a Halloween party when she turned up as a "steampunk adventurer," and no one recognised what she was supposed to be. No one would have known as at that time as steampunk had not become mainstream. Since then, steampunk outfits have been made in both amateur and professional capacities by convention goers in the US as steampunk has grown in popularity. Her article highlights the history as well as the interest people from all walks of life have with the genre.

In "Karl's Corner," Karl the dinosaur Sheriff tells us that dragons feature a lot in steampunk stories and novels as part of the fantasy twinned with SF mythos. In "Kira Rocks Her Doggles" by J.A. Campbell reviews the most important piece of eye protection a dog can have. If convention goers are adamant that they are taking their prize mutts along with them, then in their minds there is no better fashion accessory for Fido than some specially made Doggles. They baffle the dog, but look cool for the owner and other convention goers. What J.A. Campbell does say about the Doggles is this:

  "All in all, every time she wears her Doggles, she gets more used to them and no longer objects to wearing them. I can't say how she feels about their sunglass-like attributes, but she sure does look damn cool with them on."  

One thing about this new magazine that impresses me is the articles and reviews. So for those who enjoyed reading Science Fiction Trails #10, Science Fiction Trails #11 is on its way in Spring 2014, so be prepared for this new magazine and many more titles from them.

Copyright © 2013 Sandra Scholes

Sandra has been published in many magazines and on websites as well as blogs; Albedo One, Hellnotes, The British Fantasy Society and Fantasy Book Review are where she likes readers to see her work -- the rest of the time she's amazed at the amount of sun she is getting in winter. Magazine.

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