by Joshua Palmatier
Amazing Stories invited me to guest here at the blog today so that I could talk about the small press Zombies Need Brains and our current Kickstarter (check out tinyurl.com/ZNBPortals) attempting to fund three brand new SF&F anthologies. I thought it might be nice to explain where the themes for these three anthologies came from.
First, the lead anthology, which is really my own little baby. I grew up reading fantasy novels in the 80s, which means I read a ton of novels with characters from our world transported to another world. Books like Andre Norton’s WITCH WORLD or Stephen Donaldson’s CHRONICLES OF THOMAS COVENANT. There were many, many others, but I noticed that I hadn’t seen or read many “portal novels” in either fantasy or sci-fi recently. I loved those stories, so thought, “Why not do an anthology with portals as the theme?” Hence, PORTALS was born (although the original name I had for the anthology was WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE; I think PORTALS is much more concise and explains the theme rather well though). Even though this was my concept, I decided I’d let Patricia Bray and S.C. Butler edit it. I expect I’ll read a fair amount of the submissions to the open call though, perhaps stick my nose in occasionally with a thought. *grin*
The second anthology in the Kickstarter is TEMPORALLY DEACTIVATED. This theme came about when I received a spam email from a bank I didn’t have an account at that warned: “Your account will be temporally deactivated unless you respond to this email now and confirm your account! [suspicious link here]” Zombies Need Brains had just released the anthology TEMPORALLY OUT OF ORDER (to great success) and I immediately thought “SEQUEL”! I added it to my list of potential themes and then promptly forgot about it … until David B. Coe got the same email a few years later (these things never die) and pinged me about it. He’d had the same thought: “SEQUEL!” And so the theme was revived and of course David B. Coe is now editing it with me.
The last anthology for this Kickstarter came out of the blue. I’d honestly been considering doing just two anthologies this time, but Steven H Silver emailed me with this cool concept for an alternate history anthology, ALTERNATE PEACE. Most alternate history novels and stories begin with a change in the outcome of some kind of violent event, such as a different result for a battle or a war. His idea was to find alternate history stories where the divergence from our own timeline came from a peaceful change, such as a discovery (or lack of) in science or a societal culture change. That change could lead to violence, but the change in the timeline itself was peaceful. I liked the concept and thought it fit well with the other two themes, so I decided to add it to this year’s roster.
So that’s how the three themes for this year’s Kickstarter were selected. If you’ve got a moment, swing on by the Kickstarter at tinyurl.com/ZNBPortals and make a pledge! Help bring these themes to life! It’s only $15 for the ebooks and $48 for the paperbacks. And once the Kickstarter is funded, there will be an open call for submissions, so anyone can submit a story for consideration.
And if you haven’t heard of the small press Zombies Need Brains before, we are a relatively new press with 10 anthologies under our belts. We’ve been recognized by the Science Fiction Writers of America (SWFA) as a professional market and we have had three of our past stories in anthologies up for the WSFA Small Press Award. Two of those stories are up this year and we hope that one of them wins! Fingers crossed!