* “Fatal Error” by Michele Lang
“For a while now, I’ve wanted to write some short fiction set in the universe I explored in my book NETHERWOOD. I missed Talia and her outlaw lover, and I looked forward to revisiting their world.
I wanted to write about their first meeting, but I didn’t know any details, only that they met in cyberspace, in avatar form, and that danger surrounded them from the beginning. So I knew the characters, and the beginnings of the action. But the stuff I had didn’t have enough life yet to germinate into a story.
I found the seed of this story in a most unlikely place. Recently, I visited New York City, and in my wanderings I paused at Madison Square Park, near the Flatiron Building. An artist had installed a cluster of tree huts in the branches overhead, and as I looked way up and saw the huts half-hidden in the leaves, I knew I had found Talia’s portal into another, wilder world.
I now had three pieces of evidence to go on: the characters, the tree hut portal, and the title of the story. Those three “what if” fleeting thoughts cross-pollinated, and a spark shooting somewhere through the primordial soup of my brain brought it to life. And voila – “Fatal Error” was born.”
* Tanglefoot: A Story of the Clockwork Century by Cherie Priest [Steampunk]
“It is 1880. The American Civil War has raged for nearly two decades, driving technology in strange and terrible directions. Combat dirigibles skulk across the sky and armored vehicles crawl along the land. Military scientists twist the laws of man and nature, and barter their souls for weapons powered by light, fire, and steam.”