Much like the award-winning anthology Steampunk World, Steampunk Universe will be a multicultural anthology of steampunk stories. But this time, the anthology will focus on characters with exceptionalities.*
This call for submissions is aimed particularly at marginalized writers, especially those who are identify as members of a minority, LGBTQ, or living with exceptionality. Whether or not you qualify and feel this call for submission is appropriate for your work is at your discretion.
Stories are due by June 1, 2016 to email@example.com. Ideally, decisions will be made by July 1, and the anthology will be crowdfunded shortly thereafter. Writers will be paid $.06/word for original stories. I’m not looking for reprints at this time. Deadline extensions will not be granted. Your story should be submitted in Standard Manuscript Format (please check and double-check that your name and email address are on the first page!) as an email attachment in .doc, .docx or .rtf format. The subject of your message should read [Submission: Story Title by Author Name]. If your submission doesn’t conform to these specifications it may be deleted unread.
What I’m looking for:
Your story should take place in a non-Western culture. I’d love to have a variety of stories that take place in the diverse cultures of Central/South America, Asia, and Africa.
Your story should contain a character with at least one exceptionality. It should be a major element of the story, providing the character with extra challenges but maybe also special insight or abilities. I want to explore how steampunk technology changes the lives of people with exceptionalities, for better or for worse. I’d love to see characters who are also members of other marginalized groups (such as LGBTQ characters).
Your story should contain steampunk elements. I get a lot of submissions with steampunk exoskeletons and dirigibles, but not many with spaceships or submarines. I’d really like authors to stretch themselves and instead of just writing alternate history, set the story in a parallel universe or on another planet. Read Tobias Buckell’s excellent story “Love Comes to Abyssal City” for an example.
If your story lacks one of these three elements, it will very likely be rejected, even if it’s an excellent story.
I’m unlikely to buy stories that:
-Take place in North America, England or China (or feature characters from those cultures)**
-Feature characters with prosthetic limbs, steam-powered hearts, or who are blind**
-Involve the protagonist bravely sacrificing himself/herself at the end of the story so the characters without exceptionalities can survive (seriously, this is becoming a cliché)
-Are longer than 5,000 words (bonus points if you can keep it under 4,000)**
-Contain graphic sex or violence, rape, women in refrigerators, etc.
-Have only magical elements and no technological ones. I love a good gaslamp fantasy, but this is not the market for it. I want gadgets and goggles!
If you have questions, please comment here or hit me up on twitter @steampunkpanda. You can also email me but I respond faster to blog comments and tweets. The best way to tell what kind of story I’m likely to buy is to read Steampunk World.
Now, go get your write on! ^_____^
*The publisher and I prefer the term “exceptionality” to the term “disability,” because disability is often heavily influenced by perception and culture.
**I’m unlikely to buy this type of story because I have already committed to purchase stories that fit this description.