Release Date: May 31, 2016
Available from: Writerpunk Press
Formats: Kindle and Paperback (348 Pages)
A clockwork raven. Two sets of irresistible teeth. A house brought to life by nanobots. A heart that won’t stop beating. All this and much more in the Writerpunk Press version of the beloved suspense stories by Edgar Allan Poe. We’ve pulled out all the stops this time around to bring you the very best punked versions of classic Poe tales, complete with shiny gears and tiny bots! In addition to the more familiar Cyberpunk and Steampunk, we’ve added Bio, Deco, and Dieselpunk genres to the mix. The resulting volume is a dynamic take on horror of which the Master of Macabre himself would be proud. Profits are to be donated to PAWS Lynnwood, an animal shelter and wildlife rescue located in the Pacific Northwest.
“Things of the Future” ~ AR DeClerck
A futurepunk story inspired by “Mellonta Tauta”
The Grand Balloon Skylark
Below us is the vast ocean that never ceases. I write to you from my perch high upon the pinnacle of our great transport. I find myself wondering why we cannot go faster, as other balloons pass us by at more than one hundred and fifty miles per hour and we move at less than one hundred. The captain says that we must conserve, but I find that what was once the peace of the blue waters below is nothing more than a sinister and lonely wasteland to me now.
I cannot say that I am not intrigued by the idea that nothing exists below us. I have seen ships on the waters, their propellers churning as they move. I might have worried that they will someday run out of fuel, but the captain assures me they, too, have perfected the drying and burning of the great gutta pucka fungi that provides fuel for us all. One bit of the pungent plant that grows upon the top of the sea can keep us running for days. The boats are far more crowded than our own vessel, the throngs of poor and unwashed below me eliciting my pity and some admitted relief that they are below and I am up here.
The question we all ask ourselves remains unsaid. Will we find land again? We have traveled much, from the only bit of soil that remained untouched after the great cataclysm, searching for some bit of terra firma that may exist across this ocean. None of us recall the days of walking upon the land, and I myself was born upon a ship much like the one I sit upon now. What would it be like to feel real dyrt between my toes, as my grandfather used to expound upon to us on hot nights. Even when we started out, the captain tells me, there was only that small island of sand remaining upon which to build our vessels for this trek.
How much time has passed since humanity left that sand dune in ships and boats? There is no real guess. Days grow longer now, and the dual orbs in the sky keep it light for twenty seven of our hours. The captain has a theory about this, as well, and he says that the rotation of the planet has slowed thanks to the appearance of the Alpha Lyrae in the sky. It is why the days stretch on to forever, and we age much more slowly than our parents and grandparents. Wiggins, the captain, has even suggested that we are as near to immortal now as our species will ever be.
“Red Sky at Morning” ~ Jeffrey Cook
A steampunk story inspired by “The Masque of the Red Death”
Four months passed without a sign of trouble. The noblemen and women, hidden behind their masks, gloves, and fancy clothes, danced, and as the ship moved, and the sun with it, the lights danced with them—red in the earliest or latest parts of the day, depending on the ship’s facing, and then each of the other shades of the stained glass, sometimes only blue, or only green, or one of the others when the sun hit just so, and sometimes the lights danced and mixed amidst the revelers, moving as if in time to the music.
The call went up one morning, “Red sky by morning.” The crew begged the Prince to go below decks, to send the dancers and musicians and all of the crowd to quarters, that they might take down the glass, extend the sails, and try to run as far and as fast as the engines might take them.
The Prince would hear none of it, chastising the frightened sailors, insisting that he trusted in their skill, and the sheer size of his airship, and the good fortune they’d enjoyed so far. Instead, as he’d done before when the news seemed worst, the Prince tried to dispel it with the greatest of his parties yet. The entertainers were all called at once, that no part of the deck would be without spectacle, and he called all of his friends to come and enjoy the day. He had the cooks and servers prepare a feast, holding nothing back. Wine flowed freely, and the Prince looked upon all he had wrought, and was pleased.
A shift in the wind moved the ship about, and the blues and whites of the reflections abruptly shifted. The sun struck the uneven red pane, disappearing where the streaks of coal dust marked it, and uneven shadows played amidst the dozen shades of red that danced over the revelers as midday neared.
A singular figure that none could recall joined the dance. The figure was slender, wearing trousers, polished shoes, and a shirt of black. The jacket and top hat, however, were of the richest red crushed velvet, soft to the touch. The mask was the simplest of all the revelers, plain white porcelain, but wherever the figure moved, the light through the red window always caught it, dancing red lights shifting across the reflective surface.
“The Clockwork Raven” ~ Carol Gyzander
A clockpunk story inspired by the poem “The Raven”
My device sat waiting on the work table in front of me. I removed the cloth cover and looked at it with a critical eye. Peering back at me were two fixed, black, beady eyes and a strong, almost menacing beak. Trailing away from the head, dark feathers lay smoothly across the back and flowed out to the wings. The feet curved into sharp talons.
I turned it over and opened the plate on the underside. I smiled at the array of miniature gears and pulleys inside—this was one of my masterworks. I inserted the key into the first of three winding points. Turning the key in each one, carefully, until I met resistance, I listened to the ratcheting sound of the clockwork mechanism as it wound. When I removed the key the final time, closing the plate and turning it upright, I could hear a faint tapping sound.
The bird stretched its wings and looked at me with those black, beady eyes. Considering the key still in my hand, I shook my head. Yes, it was working for now, but one winding would not last the time required. I opened my own volume of ancient lore, turning the pages to find what I sought. Speaking low and clear, I read the words and performed the gestures recorded so long ago, watching the Raven as I worked.
The eyes came alight with an internal fire. Its head tilted to one side as it peered at me, and it flapped its wings once, again. I concentrated for a moment and inclined my own head, searching inside my mind, and saw through the Raven’s eyes: an image of myself looking back. As I moved around the room, the bird’s eyes followed me, and the image changed.
“It’s working,” I said, and heard the words in my mind as the Raven heard them.
A feeling of faintness came over me under the Raven’s steady gaze. My shoulders sagged. I braced myself against the work table and fought off a sudden wave of fatigue; held a hand to my brow, blocking its view. I was not the one from whom it should draw its energy. Not the one who must be drained.
Who needed to pay for what he had done.
Donning my coat, I tucked the clockwork Raven under my arm and headed back out into the night. This would do—only this and nothing more.
We are a small, somewhat anarchic writers’ collective–a community of authors, illustrators, bloggers, poets, artists, graphic designers, and readers from all walks of life who are fans of cyberpunk, steampunk, dieselpunk, and associated genres.
Sound and Fury: Shakespeare Goes Punk, our first anthology of stories based on the Bard’s work, was published in March 2015. The second anthology, Once More Unto The Breach: Shakespeare Goes Punk 2, was released in December 2015. We have taken the plays that audiences have enjoyed for hundreds of years and reinvented them as cyberpunk, dieselpunk, Teslapunk, and steampunk tales. Featuring comedies and tragedies as well as a wide variety of punk genres, these collections have something for everyone. The anthologies have even been added to high school and college curriculums.
Our third collection, Merely This and Nothing More: Poe Goes Punk, will be published on May 31st. In this anthology, we have punked classic tales penned by the Master of the Macabre. In addition to the more familiar cyberpunk and steampunk, we’ve added bio, deco, and dieselpunk genres to the mix. As with all Writerpunk Press publications, a spirit of subversive fun is strongly encouraged.