Colin Coyle returns to the show to talk about a passion project of Colin Coyle and Parvus Press, the crowd-sourced IF THIS GOES ON anthology (kickstarter running through June 28), edited by Cat Rambo (president of SFWA) and featuring original short political spec fic stories by thirty authors.
In IF THIS GOES ON, contributing authors were asked to go 20-200 years from now, purposefully taking the current policies and climates to the worst extreme to communicate to audiences, “This is what we need to avoid.”
One or two of the stories are clearly political, but some are Gibson-esque time travel, character driven sociopolitical, or explore stored memory.
Parvus Press received 260 submissions for the anthology during the 90 day submission window.
Colin explains it’s pretty easy to tell, even just from the cover letter, when someone is trying to shoe-horn an existing piece into the theme.
A posse of slush readers was started by Cat Rambo and the submission call went out. All submissions submitted were reviewed without any identifying information so that the work was considered on its own merit alone.
The stories got a ranked pass based on relevance to the theme and quality of the story. It’s important for a slush reader to recognize there was something to a story even if they don’t know what it was. Each story was read by two of the slush readers then reviewed by Cat Rambo.
An advantage of anthologies is that not every story has to appeal to every reader who picks up the book, so Colin was able to put some different kinds of stories in there even if they were a risk, because he was confident there’s something in there for everyone.
IF THIS GOES ON involves a variety of tones and viewpoints as they explore the same ideas.
When you ask people how bad could it get in the next thirty years, multiple entrants came back with themes of us being reduced to eating “man’s best friend” (eating fido).
The first round was pretty high-level because of the budget and timeline, with only final notes and edits made rather than a developmental edit as a novel published by Parvus Press might receive.
Now, Parvus Press is fully committed to printing this book, but is running a Kickstarter campaign to help offset the extra costs involved since IF THIS GOES ON was added to their 2018 catalog somewhat last minute (after the Charlottesville marches). If the Kickstarter is successfully funded at their goal of $10,000, the anthology will cost about the same to produce as a normal novel (roughly $5,000). (Pretty please, back now to help keep Rekka’s next novel on track!)
If the funding reaches stretch goals, Parvus Press will be able to pay their initial readers a bonus for their time, and the stretch goals go up from there until they’ve shipped a copy of the book to members of the House of Representatives and Senate. They will also do the standard added bonus for the backers.
Science fiction is a prescient genre. You need people with a lot of imagination to warn us where this will go. Sometimes they get the details wrong, but the messages have frequently been right on the money. Speaking of which, there’s enough money in Star Trek to order your Tea, Earl Grey, Hot.
The rewards include anything from a digital copy of the book, a paperback plus digital plus any Parvus Press title from their catalog, a Cat Rambo anthology bonus ebook, to a hardback and even a “Presidential Edition” with a Russian language cover (printed on supremely white paper).
For writers, there are also rewards which include coaching, editing, and query critique from Colin, or a custom tailored workshop for your writing workshop or class. The very top tier includes all the rewards plus Colin will personally protest in front of the White House (or as near as he is permitted to get) with the messages of the top backers displayed and photos will be sent to the backers as well as the President of the United States.
The stretch goals have been announced, so go check out the campaign to learn what they are!
Kickstart lessons learned:
- Shipping costs and transaction fees are included in the project goal so calculate the goal based on that;
- Feature interesting reward levels at the top;
- Follow well-known Kickstarter Best Practices;
- 1/3 of pledges (at time of recording on 6/9) came from Boing Boing;
- Kickstarter favorited the campaign and drove 1/4 of pledges;
- Reached out to Margot Atwell, Kickstarter’s director of publishing, for publishing (remember: Kickstarter succeeds when campaigns succeed)
The book’s cover artist, Bernard Lee, was given free reign to explore the concept “a piece of American iconography that didn’t seem right” – this was before the submissions were in. The cover forms its own contribution to the anthology. There are probably lasers mounted on the sharks.
The stories range from just under 1,000 to just over 4,000 words each.
Anticipated publication date: Oct 16, 2018
Learn more at ParvusPress.com/itgo
The full Table of Contents, organized alphabetically by the author’s last name is:
- Cyd Athens – Welcome to Gray
- Steven Barnes – The Dayveil Gambit (referenced during the episode)
- Rachel Chimits – Dead Wings
- Paul Crenshaw – Bulletproof Tattoos
- Beth Dawkins – Tasting Bleach and Decay in the City of Dust
- Andy Duncan – Mr. Percy’s Shortcut
- Chris Kluwe – The Machine
- Kitty-Lydia Dye – Three Data Units
- Scott Edelman – The Stranded Time Traveler Embraces the Inevitable
- Judy Helfrich – A Pocketful of Dolphins
- Langley Hyde – Call and Answer
- Gregory Jeffers – All the Good Dogs Have Been Eaten
- Jamie Lackey – Fine
- Jack Lothian – Good Pupils
- Nick Mamatas – Hurrah! Another Year, Surely This One Will Be Better Than The Last; The Inexorable March of Progress Will Lead Us All to Happiness
- Lynette Mejía – A Gardener’s Guide to the Apocalypse
- Aimee Ogden – Twelve Histories Scrawled in the Sky
- Sarah Pinsker – That Our Flag Was Still There
- Conor Powers-Smith – The Sinking Tide
- Zandra Renwick – Making Happy
- Kathy Schilbach – Counting the Days
- Nisi Shawl – King Harvest Will Surely Come
- Priya Sridhar – Mustard Seeds and the Elephants Foot
- Marie L Vibbert – Free Wi-Fi
- Calie Voorhis – The Editor’s Eyes
- Tiffany E. Wilson – One Shot
- James Wood – Discobolos
- Sylvia Spruck Wrigley – Choose Your Own Adventure
- E. Lily Yu – Green Glass: A Love Story
- Hal Y. Zhang – But for Grace
Cover art by Bernard Lee. Design by Michael Altmann.
Mentioned in the episode:
Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury
Twilight Zone (1959)
PS: Electric Unicorn Coffee by Bones Coffee Co. Rekka failed to bring Brian the rest of the bag, for the record.