Sunday, February 17, 2013

Self-publishing Technology, Steampunk & Atom Punk

A performer at the first Sacramento Steampunk Emporium
Photo Credit: Steven Rose, Jr.

It's been a very busy month and so I apologise for the two or three week hold on my posts. Part of this has been due to a change of plans for The Fool's Illusion. I've been kind of working on the publishing part through a self-publishing organisation that I'm a member of. Part of the project in this group was to make a sample/excerpt of books that each of us are planning to publish. So I'm in the process of puting together my sample booklet of Fool's Illusion. I would like to give you  free e-copies of it once I put it together and show it to my self-publishing group. The problem is that I am not a digital graphic designer. That is not my primary line of work. I've taken some graphic design courses, including some that emphasises graphic design software such as Adobe and QuarkXpress. But I am not tech saavy when it comes to graphic design as I am saavy with freehand art and design.

Don't get me wrong. By all means I love computer technology and that includes graphic design software. But I'm a relatively recent convert to the "Techno Geek Not-so-orthodox Church". (And I mean "Not-so-orthodox" in a good sense, as in innovation.) It takes me a while to learn and apply the software in book design. I'm still learning how to get several files of the excerpt booklet under one file. That said, I only have Adobe Reader which is not primarily made so much to format documents as it is to open and read them. That's why it's called Adobe Reader. I've got desktop publishing software but I'm still learning how to use it, not to mention that it's somewhat outdated and I'm not in a position to purchase an updated version at this time. (I use PrintShop Pro Publisher.) So I've been spending hours, it seems, trying to figure out how to use the two software packages. So I ask that you bear with me. I will get the book out there; I never start anything big that I'm passionate about that I don't finish.

I attended one of the first steampunk cons today here in Sacramento. I'm not a steampunker myself, though I've taken up the role from time to time for the clubs that I am theoretically a member of. I'm actually more atom punk. For those of you not familiar with steampunk, it's a subgenre of science fiction that was in many ways inspired by cyberpunk, but instead of digital technology dominated future societies it has more to do with Victorian/Industrial Age futures and alternative histories. For a better idea of what steampunk is, you can read about it in my most recent article at The article was made to announce Sacramento's first Steampunk Emporium which I attended today. Unfortunately, it was only a one day con, but it had a great turnout. There were over 40 venders, including artists selling and displaying their work, and the vast commercial space the con was held in was nearly packed wall to wall. I wouldn't be surprised that if they have it again next year that they'll extend it to at least a two day event. So the announcement of the con in my article is yesterday's news, but I explain in more detail what steampunk is, so feel free to take a look at it.

As I mentioned, I'm more atom punk than I am steampunk. Now what is atom punk? To put it in a nut shell (uh, or should I say "atom bomb shell"?) it's a subgenre of science fiction inspired by steampunk, but instead of Industrial Age themes it uses mid 20th century/Cold War era themes. But like steampunk it depicts retro-futures and therefore futures that derive more directly from a past era and through alternative histories based on that era. For a really good idea about this subgenre I strongly suggest reading author Philip Reeve's post at his blog.

I'll leave you with that for now.

Until next time . . .