“Women writers have always been an essential part of the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres, but are still underrepresented in TV, film, and books. An anthology like this not only circumvents the barriers to women, it can help to knock some of them down – by connecting women writers with each other, mentoring new talent, and shattering the myth that women just aren’t as interested in writing speculative fiction.” – Kate Orman
What is Liberating Earth?
Liberating Earth is a fantasy and science fiction anthology, written entirely by women, which will be published by Obverse Books in May 2014.
The anthology concept
In the 1953 short story The Liberation of Earth by William Tenn, two warring alien species take turns “liberating” planet Earth from each another, until the planet is wrecked and its inhabitants are doomed. Tenn was satirising the cold war, and the way the superpowers, vying with each other for territory, insisted that it was all for the inhabitants’ own good.
This anthology pits two Cousins from Faction Paradox against each other. As members of the Faction, the Cousins, named Tefen and Triphis, have the ability to travel in time and change history. Tefen alters Earth’s reality, so that it has been conquered and colonised – a definite improvement, according to Tefen. Triphis thinks she can do better; she alters the planet’s reality once more, so that a different set of conquerors rules the Earth.
Tefen and Triphis continue to take turns, creating one alternative reality after another, trying to best one other – so that in each story, we visit an Earth on which human beings are at best second-class citizens and at worst slaves.
What do I need to know about Faction Paradox to write for this anthology?
Other than what’s in this document – pretty much nothing! I’ll provide Faction-related content in the form of small stories that fit between each story in the anthology, featuring Tefen and Triphis and their competition. However, if you are familiar with the series, feel free to use its mythology in your pitch.
If you would like to know more, Lawrence Miles’ introduction to his creation is online at:
What genres and styles of short story can I pitch?
Each story needs a strong science fiction or fantasy element. We might see the Earth conquered by extraterrestrials, machines, memes, ghosts, mermaids, intelligent cosmic rays, mutant dogs, gods from a parallel dimension… the more original and weird your invasion force, the better. (Please avoid these heavily used fantasy creatures: vampires, werewolves, fairies, dragons, and zombies.)
However, the stories can present that SF/fantasy element within any genre: romance, horror, comedy, espionage, adventure, police procedural, technothriller, historical intrigue, psychological drama, you name it.
Any setting on Earth is appropriate, and any time, past, present, or future. The well-researched use of non-Western settings, culture, and mythology is encouraged. Characters of colour, characters with disabilities, and characters with alternative sexualities are also welcome. Adult content is fine, but please avoid sexual violence and child sexual abuse.
The stories can be told from the point of view of the subjugated humans – victims, collateral damage, resistance, collaborators, dupes, ordinary people just trying to get on with their lives – or from the POV of the conquerors; but each story will show some of the consequences of colonisation for the human race.
Are unpublished women writers welcome?
Extremely! I’ll be setting up an (optional) online workshop so that the anthology’s contributors can read and give feedback on each others’ work.
If you have not previously been published, please include the first thousand words of your story with your pitch.
Why an all-woman anthology?
The majority of the writers published by Obverse so far have been men. This anthology is an attempt to circumvent whatever barriers are preventing Obverse from connecting with a larger number of talented women.
I’m a transwoman. Can I pitch?
Absolutely! You too, genderqueer folks.
The crucial information
Pitches: email an outline of your story, up to 1000 words (if you have not yet been published, please also include the first 1000 words of your story) to firstname.lastname@example.org, in Word (.doc, .docx) or RTF format, or as plain text in the body of your email.
Story length: 7,000-8,000 words
The money: £25
Deadline for pitches: 30 June 2013
Deadline for first drafts: December 2013