In a pair of posts on his extraordinary MORE RED INK blog, editor Marty Halpern discusses his latest project Bruce Sterling’s PIRATE UTOPIA.
From Editing in Process: PIRATE UTOPIA by Bruce Sterling
Then in the fall of 2014 (September 18, 2014, to be exact), when I was on the hunt (and still am!) for a new novella for Tachyon Publications, I immediately thought of contacting Bruce Sterling. Of course, to be fair, not only is Bruce one of my fave authors, but Tachyon publisher Jacob Weisman had previously informed me that he was a huge fan of Bruce’s writing as well, particularly Bruce’s short stories. Over email, Bruce and I discussed word length, fees, and such, and that was that. About ten months later, on July 14, 2015, I followed up with another email to Bruce. By this point, two of Tachyon’s recent novellas on which I had worked had won awards: Nancy Kress’s Yesterday’s Kin had won the Nebula Award, and We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory had won the Shirley Jackson Award. If one is trying to promote a publisher’s novella program, it always helps to have had previous novellas win awards.
Bruce responded the very next day, stating that he just happened to have a novella available – PIRATE UTOPIA: “a 25,000 word dieselpunk alternate history yarn set in Italy in 1919.” (The story actually takes place in 1920.) And, as “they” say, the rest is history, or, at least, alternate history.
About PIRATE UTOPIA: Following the Great War, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States and tyrant of the League of Nations, gave Fiume away to Yugoslavia, which resulted in the Fiume rebellion and the rise of the Regency of Carnaro. The story opens in Occupied Fiume, in January 1920: Lorenzo Secondari, the Pirate Engineer, and his group of Croatian pirates are off to the cinema to celebrate their new and improved torpedo, recently built at his Torpedo Factory. Adventures ensue…including an eventual meeting with a team of American Secret Service Agents.
In my previous blog post on Bruce Sterling’s new novella, PIRATE UTOPIA, I mentioned that the cover artist was John Coulthart, and that he had also written a 1,000-plus-word essay, “Reconstructing the Future: A Note on Design,” to be included in the book.
What I didn’t mention at the time is that John is also providing interior illustrations for the various sections of the novel. I didn’t mention this because I didn’t have access to any of the illos, then.
But I do now….
In that blog post I also stated that the story opens in Occupied Fiume, in January 1920: Lorenzo Secondari, the Pirate Engineer, and his group of Croatian pirates are off to the cinema to celebrate their new and improved torpedo, recently built at his Torpedo Factory. Here’s the illustration for Section One: The Pirate Cinema:
And here’s the illustration for the PIRATE UTOPIA title page:
And lastly, here’s the illustration for Section Two: The Ace of Hearts, who was a charismatic combat air ace and renowned expert in aerial reconnaissance (see “Cast of Characters” in my previous blog post):
For more info on PIRATE UTOPIA, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover and images by John Coulthart