Title: The Astrakhan, the Homburg, and the Red Red Coal
Author: Chaz Brenchley
Description, by Lois Tilton [Locus]: "Martian steampunk. Let’s assume that the British Empire, before it was quite an empire, colonized Mars and subsequently employed it as a penal colony, rather on the lines of Australia in our own timeline, although apparently less brutal. Our narrator and his companions have been exiled there for the crime of sexual deviancy, or, as he says, “so many names for our kind–leering, contemptuous, descriptive, dismissive . . .” There is a newcomer among them, a famous individual that readers will certainly recognize, despite a bit of coyness on the part of the author concerning his name. But their gathering is interrupted by an officious official who wants to draft them into an experiment, communicating with a telepathic alien species also residing on Mars....."