Hello, world, and happy new year.
I can’t guarantee I’ll get more posts out this year but I can start with a bang. I last co-edited Playground of Lost Toys with Ursula Pflug. The anthology was nominated for an Aurora Award, as well as one author being nominated for an Arthur Ellis Award, and three longlisted for the Sunburst Award with Catharine MacLeod’s Hide and Seek winning in short fiction. Now, to hopefully repeat that sucess, I will be editing an anthology of speculative fiction, due to be published by Exile Editions in the spring of 2018. Read on for Alice Unbound guidelines.
Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson) explored childlike wonder and the bewildering realm of adult rules and status, which clashed in bizarre ways. Many characters in his tales are anthropomorphic, whether talking cards, crying mock turtles or saucy Tiger Lilies. Over 150 years later, people still recognize characters from Carroll’s works. Who doesn’t know of vorpal blades and tardy white rabbits, protagonists and antagonists that resonate in a primal part of the human psyche. They hearken to the mysticism and mystery of the ancient world, when one wondered how the rain fell, or which gods empowered madness through drink, or whether a person was separate from an animal or could become one.
Centuries passed and myth became fairy tale, evolving to resonate with each era, showing the triumphs of the common man, the humble and generous woman who outsmarts tempters, jailers, and evil stepmothers, or the trials and tribulations of seeking the unknown. Carroll’s characters jumped forward, not just following the regular metamorphosis of an age-old tale, but leaping off the cliff of the familiar into something altogether new, different and endearing. We might not truly want to live in the world of Alice or have to deal with mad queens and bandersnatches, but what if that Wonderland ceased to exist on a separate plain, and melded with our modern world? How would these characters fit in, and what would they bring or change? Are we ready to accept Alice Unbound into our hearts and let the Jabberwock in the back door?
Alice’s Adventured in Wonderland was Carroll’s most famous work but there are other stories and poems (some within the greater works) where madcap creatures abound. Alice Unbound should contain an element of the speculative and may embrace fabulist, weird, myth, SF, fantasy, steampunk, horror, etc. Other speculative elements or characters may be combined in any way. I don’t want to see rehashings of Carroll’s tales but stories taking place in a modern or slightly futuristic world. I’ve seen many of the Alice as well. If you have a talking cat, it must be recognizable as the Cheshire Cat. I will consider a few very select poems, but they must have a storyline and not just be an observation or an image. You should not be copying Carroll’s style but telling a new tale in your voice. Too many stories submitted with the same character will limit chances of the story being accepted. The anthology needs to go beyond Alice in every way.
Whether the Mad Hatter, the mock turtle, or Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, use Carroll’s elements and characters to write a new tale. QUILTBAG or people of colour as characters are encouraged. Alice doesn’t have to be white and blonde. I will accept any characters from the following works . I have not read everything so if you want to write about another character that fits into Carroll’s fantastical tales, please write first and ask.
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
- Through the Looking Glass
- The Hunting of the Snark
These are story examples only but not requirements:
- The caterpillar is the owner of a medical marijuana store but turns out to be part of a moonlighting superhero team by night.
- The Walrus and the Carpenter’s strange relationship is strained farther when they both fall for a mermaid, who crusades for the murdered oysters.
- The Snark is as elusive as the Sasquatch, but when they vie for the same space in endangered environment, what happens?
- The last Jabberwock is captured and used to battle an overpopulation of vampires.
Writers must be Canadian citizens (living in Canada and/or paying taxes in Canada) or permanent residents of Canada. LGBQLT, POC are encouraged to submit. I will read cover letters last and will choose stories on merit first. This resource may be of use in your research: www.alice-in-wonderland.net
Length: 2,000-5,000 words. Poetry: minimum 1,000 words.
Submission window: Feb. 1 to May 31 at: https://exilepublishing.submittable.com/submit (submitting before will see you end up in another anthology’s guidelines)
Simultaneous submissions: No; if you submit to me, please do not send it anywhere else until you receive a rejection.
Multiple submissions: You may send one story, or two poems. Please wait until I’ve sent a rejection before you send anything else. I may hold some pieces until the submission window is closed.
Acceptances: Final acceptances will go out a month after the submission window closes. I may ask for rewrites before making a final decision.
Manuscript format: Please use standard manuscript format (Google William Shunn): CDN spelling, double-space (except for poems), no extra spaces between paragraphs, indented paragraphs, title, etc. Failure to follow formatting may see your piece rejected unread.
Now, don your Mad Hatter’s cap, clean out the teapot and start writing.