That was a busy summer, wasn’t it? I feel like I never stopped. When I finally went on holiday I still had work on the back of my mind. I was planning on releasing another little ebook right about now, but I couldn’t even find the time for that — and self-publishing little ebooks is basically my only job (if by “job” you mean “the thing that you do the most but which pays the least”, anyway).
There’s a reason for that failure, though, and I think it’s going to be a giant win.
I’ve been a member of the forums of SFFWorld.com for several years, mostly hanging around the writers sub-forum, and since 2012 we’ve been putting out a yearly anthology of members’ work. Editor N. E. White started the ball rolling with The End, a timely collection of apocalyptic tales (given that the world ended that year, maybe you remember), followed it up with the self-explanatory Lucky or Unlucky? in 2013 (geddit?), and for the centenary of the start of World War One drew together a collection of alternate history pieces called Wars to End All Wars.
Thanks to Nila, and to a small, generous group of established authors, we enthusiastic wannabes have had a chance to share our work commercially, with all the potential exposure that can offer — and it’s working. One of last year’s writers was nominated for an award at the World Science Fiction Convention for his piece (The Girl with the Flaxen Hair, by Igor Ljubuncic), and a story from the first anthology has given rise to a novel — Drake, by Peter McLean, soon to be published by Angry Robot Books.
This year, however, real life intervened in Nila’s plans, so she asked me to take over the editing role. I snatched it from her hand and ran away hooting in a most uncivilised manner. As a result, all summer I’ve been wrangling authors, reading and feeding(back) on submissions, discovering just how much I need to learn about being an editor (often at the expense of those same poor authors’ peace of mind, for which I apologise), and generally pulling my beard out because I don’t have enough hair left to pull out instead.
But the end result is… magic.
Our fourth anthology has an environmental theme, though being a collection of science fiction and fantasy we received some inventive and flexible interpretations on the prompt. That, specifically, was “ecotones”, a term referring to the point of contact between different ecosystems. The final line up of stories includes comedy, romance, action, horror, with plenty of variety within each of those areas and some genuinely moving writing too. In effect, we’ve created a complex ecotone of our own, which is convenient, since that’s the anthology’s title:
As with previous years, the anthology also includes a number of established writers of real quality, who are lending their words and names to give a boost to those of us who have plenty of the one but not yet much of the other. We’re delighted to have best-sellers and award winners in Tobias S. Buckell, Lauren Beukes and Ken Liu gracing our cover, but we are lucky enough to have the authors Matthew Hughes and Stephen Palmer amongst SFFWorld‘s membership, both of whom offered work as well.
Yet the real purpose here is to raise the profile of those less celebrated, so allow me to name and acclaim the rest of our participants: Daniel Ausema, Victor Espinosa, Kurt Hunt, Christina Klarenbeek, Jonathan Laidlow, Igor Ljubuncic, P. J. Richards and Rebecca Schwarz (and, ahem, also myself… this was too good an opportunity to pass up, so I’m glad the rest of the reading team gave my submission the green light!).
The cover art is yet to be finalised (although the graphic above hints at the style), but you can check out the anthology blogsite for teasers of the stories, bios of the authors, and to receive news about what’s coming soon.
And something is. Go find out what.
I’ll say no more here, other than to express my thanks to all the authors and to encourage you to keep tabs on this — there’s a good book coming out for Xmas…