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Taking Submissions: Far Worlds: The Third Bolthole Anthology

November 20, 2013


Deadline: November 20th for synopsis, December 15th for first draft
Payment: A portion of the book’s royalties

The Premise:

Out in the universe, there is predicted to be millions of planets harbouring sentient life, thousands of civilisations of sapient races, going about their lives; struggling, fighting, maybe loving, having adventures, maybe suffering under dystopian tyrants, or in societies of harmony and peace and complacency. These worlds, due to the nature of the speed of light and relativity, will never meet each other in person across the vast stretches of space, and any messages or signals sent between them wouldn’t reach their destinations for millions of years, long after both civilisations are gone.

The premise of our anthology is themed very specifically towards being an anthology which collects stories from these diverse worlds and settings. Each short story would be a snapshot of that location and time. The only motif linking the stories will be the mysterious Drift Engine; an outwardly-featureless cylinder exactly one kilometre long, and one hundred metres in diameter; a strange wandering machine from some forgotten corner of the universe, travelling the universe, searching out and documenting these settings.

Writer Guidelines

What we want from any writers looking to contribute to the anthology is both very broad and very specific (if such a thing is possible). We want people to submit any kind of short story. Any genre you can think of. Techno thrillers, horrors, political dramas, tragic romance stories, comedies, hard sci-fi, space operas, high fantasy stories, low-fantasy stories, utopias, dystopias, stories of exploration or discovery; literally any genre you like. In fact, the more diverse and different synopses we get, the better. However, there are three cast-iron stipulations; breaking any of them means your synopsis cannot be accepted. They are as follows:

1) Your story cannot be set on Earth. It cannot even mention Earth. As far as your characters are concerned, they and their people evolved in your setting, and have no links to Earth. Your alien characters can still be humanoid, or even functionally identical to humanity, but your setting (be it a single world, or one world in an interplanetary or interstellar empire, or whatever) should seem to be self-contained for the most part.
2) No ability to travel faster than light. This is important, as if you have faster than light travel; it undermines the anthology’s setting fundamentally. Just don’t bother with it.
3) At some point in your story, the Drift Engine will enter your system; take a week to pass through, before accelerating away from your setting, never to be seen again. How you handle its brief cameo appearance is entirely up to you. It might simply appear as a comet in the night’s sky that a character mentions in passing, or it could be emphasised more within your tale; the importance you place upon the cylinder is entirely at your discretion. However, the Drift Engine is functionally indestructible (no blowing up my connecting narrative device! *shakes fist*) and generally won’t react to outside contact. If you think your story really needs to contact the cylinder, make your case when pitching your synopsis to us, and we will consider it.

Submission Guidelines

1) Story must be between 2000-10000 words long, give or take 200 words.
2) You must first send me or one of the other editors a 200 word synopsis, explaining your plot and your genre, and perhaps an idea of how Drift Engine enters the story.
3) All stories written in 12pt Times New Roman Font please, with single line spaces between paragraphs, and a centred ‘###’ for scene breaks. Also indent your new paragraphs.
4) We’d also prefer speech marks to be used for speech, instead of inverted commas/apostrophes.
5) Please limit the types of file you use for your attachments to ODT, .RTF or .DOC formats.
6) UK English is preferred, but not mandatory.
7) Use three periods for ellipsis… like so.
8) Send your stories to andyaston80[at]yahoo[dot]co[dot]uk. The title of the email should be like this; ‘Far Worlds Anthology:[Your story title]’. Your attached submission document should be titled thusly; ‘Far Worlds: [Story Title]by[Author Name]’
9) The Deadline for your synopses is 20th November.
10) After that, you’ll have until December 15thto get your First Drafts done. However, the earlier you get your drafts in, the earlier we can get them back to you, and the sooner you get your story in. This anthology, unlike the previous two will be illustrated inside. The earlier you get your stories to the final draft stages, the more likely they are to get an illustration (and I am sure many of you would like that).

Source: The Bolthole


November 20, 2013