About a year ago, Chris and I decided to create a Dieselpunk anthology. The problems with creating this sort of anthology are:
- It’s already around, but not in literary form. Yes, there are some stories and some anthologies out there, but Dieselpunk: An Anthology is, as far as we can tell, helping to shape this story telling medium. Simply put, there’s just not a lot available. This isn’t horror or detective or magical realism fiction. It’s Dieselpunk.
- There’s a community out there who live, walk, dress, and discuss this subgenre already. It’d be like renaissance fairs being around BEFORE Tolkien wrote his books. Can you imagine what kind of onus would be on The Hobbit these days if there were no fantasy books already in print?
- It’s very specific. It deals with the 1910s (the WW I part), the 20s, 30s, and 40s (but not after the bomb). While not ALL of our stories deal with this specific time frame (we do have some fantasy stories that are clearly not set in the same dimension as ours), they all embody the aesthetic of the Diesel-era, which Chris and I felt was more important.
- Not many authors had stories just laying around. So no authors could just pick one gathering dust and go: “Hey, editors, I’ve got the perfect Dieselpunk story right here!” So, there was a lot of fingernail biting on whether or not we’d even get enough stories of sufficient length to fill the book. Luckily, we did and it’ll be the same size as our previous PULP! books.
- All of our stories are, by their nature, longer than average. One (mine) approaches a novella in length. Why is that? Well, two reasons: world building in Dieselpunk is important in some cases, because you’re creating an alternate version of the world the reader is used to. If you don’t world build, you have no context for the story you’re telling. But doing that takes space, which means words that aren’t driving plot. Most other genre short stories are focused on a character, and how that character changes. Add in setting, and sometimes you top out that comfortable short story length most publishers seem to like (6000 words). Luckily, we at Twit don’t like what most other publishers like.
- It’s obscure. I don’t have to explain horror or fantasy or crime or western to anyone. I can just say: This is a crime anthology dealing with A and it has these stories by these authors. With Dieselpunk, you have to describe the genre, which is weirder than it sounds. Have you ever said, “Oh, it’s a horror story” and had someone give you a blank look? Exactly. Doesn’t happen. On top of that, you add #3 into the mix, and you’re having to educate newbies on what you’re even talking about. So there’s that hurdle, too.
So those are the biggest hurdles I could come up with. Sure, some of these things could lump in together, but I think they were all separate problems.
Next, we’re going to talk about funding. That’s right, we’re going to Kickstart this sumbitch to try and reach as many potential Dieselpunk fans as possible. After all, books are relatively cheap to produce (compared to movies), and they have the potential to easily spread. Chris and I like Dieselpunk as a genre (more than Steam, truthfully), because of the seedy 20s-40s feel you can inspire with it, or the awe-inspiring looking to the future for a better world feel you can alternately inspire. You can also just look back at history and poke it, or shake it, to see what happens. We think readers will love it as much as we do.
So we’re going to look to Kickstarter as an option and try to crowd source the production costs of this book. We thin this is a golden opportunity to reach new people. After all, 20s fashion and media is coming back, and in a big way.