All the Night-Tide includes stories inspired by Poems written by Edgar Allan Poe.
Dissever My Soul by: Aiyana Jackson
Poem – ‘Annabel Lee’
The Brightest Eye by: Charie D. La Marr
Poem – ‘Impromptu. To Kate Carol’
No More Incorporated by: Jay Wilburn
Poem – ‘Silence’
Folie a Deux by: Ray Dean
Poem – Eldorado
The True Kingdom by: Kenneth Sebastian
Poem – Eldorado
Ever More by: Andrea Lake
Poem – ‘The Raven’
The Horn of Israfel by: Regina Hansen
Poem – ‘Israfel’
I had the opportunity to collect some comments from the authors of this anthology –
How were you introduced to Poe’s work?
Aiyana – I don’t actually recall exactly how or when I was introduced to Poe. I remember reading The Telltale Heart when I was in my early teens, but if I remember correctly, I’d already developed an obsession with Annabel Lee and The Raven by that point. There is something darkly and deeply beautiful about his poetry and even at a young age (c. twelve) I was oddly attracted to that.
Jay – I was introduced to Poe’s work in elementary school. For some reason, Poe’s gothic sensibilities connect with an American Southern audience so deeply that he is seen as acceptable classic literature for young children.
Ray – Poetry reading in my early grades was the introduction, but in college I was treated to a front row ticket to a one man play called “I Might Be Edgar Allan Poe” written and performed by Dawson Nichols. His performance of a number of Poe’s works really stuck with me though the years. (I’m NOT telling you how many years – don’t ask)
Andrea – My mother was a fan of Poe’s work. She introduced me to his poetry in my early teens. The first one she read to me was The Raven. This one had a deep impact and I was struck, not only by the Gothic nature of the poem, but also by the narrator’s regret and sorrow.
Kenneth – I first read Poe as a young child. The first story I remember reading was the Pit and the Pendulum. I started reading his poetry soon after, and I can vividly recall my delight upon reading the line: From the bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells.
For a bookish child with an ear for music, Poe’s poetry was a revelation
Regina – I ordered a book of Poe stories from the Scholastic Book Club when I was 9.
Charie – I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t in love with Poe. As a child, I devoured books and he was always one of my favorites. The Tell-Tale Heart was always my favorite. I love the first line.
What about his work interests you?
Aiyana – I’ve always been captivated by the fatalistic love story. Any fatalistic love story, not only in Poe’s work but elsewhere. Poe however did write some of my favourites, and he wrote them incredibly well. Although I love Shakespeare, in my book Romeo and Juliet has nothing on Annabel Lee; the depth of sorrow he is able to portray is simply stunning.
Jay – I connected more to his poetry over the years from the same gothic nature that attracted and mesmorized so many other Southerners. Something about his word choice and verbal mystery reminds me of the darkness I see around me in people and places.
Ray – The human mind has a multitude of dark corners and shadows and Poe is not afraid to go exploring.
Andrea – There is an element of realism to Poe’s work. He writes about feelings and pain, and this is something we can all relate to.
Kenneth – What has always fascinated me about Poe is how all of his work is driven by sound. Rhythm and melody are what define his style, which is almost musical in its intensity and repetition. One must also appreciate Poe’s penchant for strange words like tintinnabulation. Has anyone else ever used that word? No, because Poe owns it.
Regina – His language, the interior struggles of his characters, the ways in which he makes fantastic events seem normal and inevitable.
Charie – The psychological aspects. Poe was one author who always delved heavily into the minds of his characters. It scary to me to read about the workings of the human mind and the resulting actions.
Where did your inspiration for the story come from?
Aiyana – My inspiration from the story quite simply came from my love of the poem, and the fact I had always wondered what had led to the devastating state of affairs that we see within it – Annabel Lee is dead, shut up in her sepulcher, while her lover is doomed to his grief. When considering it as the inspiration for a Steampunk story, I very quickly set upon the notion that the higher powers described within the poem as being jealous of their love – angels and demons – were actually men, in the guise of religious figures, who traveled around robbing people of what little they had, basically taking anything that seemed valuable. The notion was that Annabel Lee was very valuable, for she was a beautiful maiden. The protagonist (whom I named Edward) attempts to save her from this fate, however his actions inadvertently reveal the depth of their love for each other, and it is this that ultimately dooms them, for that kind of love is far more valuable than any amount of gold.
Jay- The poem “Silence” has always felt like it had a story hidden between the lines with strange, disturbing characters playing with the notions of life and death.
Ray – The search for gold… better yet, a CITY of GOLD! That would be enough to drive sane men… CRAZY.
Andrea – Heaven? I thought about The Raven and how it was the end of someone’s story. I thought about how The Raven might also be a name of a ship or vessel and as I made notes, The Raven morphed into a spacecraft, one transporting prisoners. Lenore became a political prisoner from a prominent family, while the ‘narrator’ took on the role of the fated ship’s Captain. The story took shape and was developed over a couple of days.
Kenneth – I like to write fiction that is grounded in fact. Percy Fawcett is a historical figure. He disappeared in the Amazon in 1925, and people have been searching for him ever since; more than one hundred people, in fact, have died in the attempt to discover the truth about his final whereabouts. El Dorado has always been a favorite.
Regina- My scholarship is on religion and the fantastic, particularly depictions of angels, so a poem about an angel was a natural fit. I found the setting while wandering around Boston’s industrial waterfront, not far from Castle Island/Fort Independence where Poe was stationed his military service.
Charie – I read all of his poetry, searching for one that really sung to me. Finally, I decided on the shortest of his poems, Impromptu For Kate Carol. Only four lines. I loved the words and the challenge of creating something from very minimal information. It left more to my imagination.
Is this your first Steampunk story?
if so, what inspired you to write a story for this anthology?
if not, how is this story different from your other steampunk works?
Aiyana – This isn’t my first Steampunk story, I have written many others. My first novella, Encante, was published at the end of last year and that is the beginning of a Steampunk series, The Fifteen Solars, which will eventually consist of at least four novellas and a novel (possibly a trilogy). I wrote ‘Dissever My Soul’ so that it could fit into the Fifteen Solars world, however it is also perfectly capable of standing alone. It does differ from the other works in the series though, mainly in tone. It was after all based on a poem, and is consequently a little more poetic.
Jay – I’ve written a good bit of steampunk for publication in various markets and cross genre styles of steampunk in particular. When the call went out for Poe inspired steampunk, it felt like a call to me personally and one that may have seen the same hidden stories between the lines of his poetry that I had. The story felt like it was ready to be told. I tried to capture the gothic horror feel of Poe’s spirit in my own telling – both disturbing and beautiful.
Ray – Nope… the readers here at Steamed! have seen information on a number of my stories. This is my first story published in the UK. Very excited😀
Andrea – Yes – The chance to be published was a massive draw, but I had never thought of using someone else’s work as a catalyst for something else before. It gave me new ideas and a new direction and I am very proud of Ever More.
Kenneth – My story The True Kingdom, taking place in 1928, is technically dieselpunk as I understand the term. My work might be called ‘historical science fiction’ as it is set in a definite time and place and is accurate in almost all its details. Restaurants, hotels, trains, schools, etc are all factual. I’ve recently finished a novella, which takes place in 1911 in the Catskill Mountains, a short story set in 1909 in the New Jersey Pine Barrens about the Jersey Devil, and a trilogy about real mermaids that mostly takes place in the Bahama Islands in the year 1900 (also in Florida and New York City). All my work is loosely connected.
Regina – Yes. The chance to work with material by Poe and the opportunity to write about an alternative timeline. That last is how I found my way into Steampunk, which I do enjoy reading.
No, I have one other. But I really can’t say what it is because it is for an anonymous anthology. Every author was asked to choose a new name. I chose a male name—I wanted to think of myself as George Eliot. It is Steampunk/Clockpunk. I was married to a watch and clockmaker. I don’t think that it really is all that much [different from my other Steampunk stories]. Both are tragic love stories that involve medicine.
What is your current writing project or next upcoming publication?
Aiyana- I’m currently working on the next novella in the Fifteen Solars Series, Honour, as well as the two following novellas, Andromeda’s Keeper, and the fourth (currently untitled). In addition I have the novel(s) for this series to complete, and another novel, Briar, which is a straight Fantasy novel that I have been working on.
Jay – I’m working on a novel about a group of teachers from a dysfunctional middle school (grade school) faculty in a small Southern town that are driven one by one to quit and turn to lives of crime and shadow. As with most downward spirals, they find themselves in deepening darkness and greater danger over time.
Ray – I’ve had a few stories published recently. The next one due for publication is a Old West/Werewolf story coming out from Dark Oak Press. And I’m continuing to write for a number of other anthologies.
Andrea – I’m currently working on a children’s story. It is a sci-fi fantasy about a lonely girl who finds a friend in the last place she expects.
Kenneth – I am turning my attention to preparing my trilogy Mermaids of the Mid-Atlantic Currents for publication. It’s so vast, I had to put it down for a while in order to actually finish some smaller pieces. Weighing in at circa 300,000 words, with its own language (the mark of a quality fantasy) and, again, accurate as far as all of its verifiable details from history, MOTMAC is in its final stages.
Regina – My next publication (with Susan George) is Supernatural, Humanity and the Soul: On the Highway to Hell and Back, a collection of essays on the television series Supernatural. It will be published by Palgrave this fall. I have also completed a supernatural novel set in 1950’s Canada and am continuing my scholarship on religion in film.
Charie – I had an anthology called Terror Train come out today. It is a series of horror stories that take place on a train. The journey begins with my story in New York City and ends in California. My story is satirical Noir—another genre I am quite comfortable writing. And the novel I am currently working on for MorbidbookS is Laugh to Death—in a genre I created called Circuspunk. It is a serial killing circus clown story. Very graphic. I like switching genres around.
As a contributing author in a number of anthologies, Ray Dean enjoys writing about many different cultures. Steampunk speaks to her in a retroactive futurism that opens so many possibilities. Her blog, My Ethereality (http://www.raydean.net), explores history, culture, war and love in eras and countries that influence the Steampunk world.