I know I have asked you before to support a publisher’s Kickstarter campaign. Luckily, it succeeded and I thank those of you who contributed.
Now I’m asking you again to support another campaign, this time an Indiegogo campaign from Bundoran Press for its anthology Second Contacts.
So what is Second Contacts?
The description on Indiegogo says:
Second Contacts will seek stories, from the best writers in the field, which explore the consequences of first contact, for us, for them, for our shared future. The possibilities are endless — conquest, collaboration, assimilation, or separation. On earth, in space, or on alien planets, what will happen to individuals and societies after two generations or more of staring into alien eyes?
First Contact stories and novels are a staple of science fiction but few SF writers have explored the long term consequences of meeting ET. Second Contacts will explore a multitude of outcomes and, maybe, by doing so, find new ways to understand our history on this planet and how we might build a better future.
Bundoran is running an Indiegogo to fund a marketing campaign as well as offer professional payment rates to attract top talent to the project. Like all the anthologies Bundoran has done so far, there will be an open submission process, which means anyone can submit.
Why are you supporting Second Contacts?
I support this anthology because it deals with one of my favourite themes: the spaces in between.
One of my favourite novels is It by Stephen King. It’s long, overwritten in spots and has more unneeded subplots than The Towering Inferno, but I love it because of the 30-year gap in the Losers’ memories. Who were they between the time they were scared kids and terrified adults. What stories would they tell about changing, growing, learning?
Brent Hayward’s Filaria is similar. It follows four characters as their world falls apart, none of whom fully understand what’s happening. But if the reader can put the pieces together, they can find the true story in the spaces between these characters.
Michael Marshall Smith’s “This Is Now” falls into this space as well, where four 40-something friends reminisce about their past, and how the terrifying moment that defined their lives is long past. And the horrifying realization this brings.
Second Contacts takes a look at the space in between. Most alien contact stories deal with a mysterious first contact, violent invasion, or are set years later when things have normalized. Second Contacts looks like it will explore the disruption that a second contact with alien life will bring. The ripping away of a comfortable denial that first contact was an isolated incident. Or, the boundless joy of the return of wondrous creations the current generation was not yet born to see.
For me, this theme could present disruption, panic, thwarted utopias, power-hungry villains, and the face of humanity as noble, brutal or both.
I can’t wait.
Why do they need the money if anyone can submit?
Today’s top writers of science fiction are professionals, meaning they make their living writing. Short fiction usually doesn’t pay as much as novels, so to attract the best writers it needs to be worth their while. Lower payment rates won’t attract these writers.
As for why top writers still need to submit like everyone else, I will assume that it is an issue of fairness for award-winning editor Hayden Trenholm. The best fiction will be published at rates it deserves.
Aren’t you and Hayden friends?
Yes we are. I have known Hayden going on five years.
So doesn’t this benefit you?
No, probably not. I have submitted to Hayden’s previous two anthologies: the Aurora Award-winning Blood and Water and then Strange Bedfellows. Both stories were rejected. I tend to lean toward horror, even when writing science fiction, which doesn’t line-up with Hayden’s vision.
Based on its description, Second Contacts is likely to focus on hard science fiction, which I tend not to write. I will likely not even submit to Second Contacts.
But I have contributed. I hope you will, too, so we can attract the best stories we can.