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Taking Submissions: Terraforming Earth for Aliens – Global Warming Themed
June 30, 2020
Deadline: June 30th, 2020
Payment: $20 for stories between 300 and 8,000 words, $10 for flash fiction (under 300 words not counting the title), and $10 for poetry.
Theme: Global warming causing or exacerbating a global epidemic or pandemic.
The initial submission window closed on January 1st, 2020, but I’m briefly reopening the anthology (until June 30, 2020) for submissions of an additional, very specific type of global warming story:
I’d thought the anthology was complete, but recent events proved that there’s one type of story missing from the cli-fi anthology: a story or stories about global warming causing or exacerbating a global epidemic or pandemic. For example, malaria mosquitoes have been moving farther north, but rather than using malaria, write about a fictional pandemic that’s caused or exacerbated by global warming. You can build on what we currently know about COVID-19, or even mention that your fictional pandemic is “worse than the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020/the early 2020s/the 2020s” (God help us if the COVID-19 pandemic lasts the entire decade), but your pandemic story must also have a tie-in to global warming. For an idea of some real science behind such a story, read this article: “The Next Pandemic Could Be Hiding in the Arctic Permafrost“.
Please follow the guidelines below. Payment is $20 for stories between 300 and 8,000 words, $10 for flash fiction (under 300 words not counting the title), and $10 for poetry. Again, the submissions window is now open only for pandemic stories involving global warming.
To all authors who submitted works in 2019: Feel free to submit a second story involving an epidemic or pandemic caused (or exacerbated) by global warming.
All submissions from 2019 have been reviewed, and 36 stories and poems were accepted, written by authors from nine (9) different nations representing four of Earth’s continents! All authors have been notified if their story or poem was accepted. I’m now in the process of sending out contracts and payments to authors (payments will be sent after the contract is returned to me), then editing the submissions.
Again, public submissions have been reopened only for cli-fi stories about an epidemic or pandemic that’s caused or exacerbated by global warming.
Other than the specific topic, follow the original call for submissions below:
Call for Submissions!
Short stories (originals or reprints), poems, or song lyrics wanted for a Cli-fi anthology titled:
Terraforming Earth for Aliens
(a Cli-Fi Anthology of Global Warming Fiction)
Payment is $20 for short stories (300-8,000 words), $10 for flash fiction (under 300 words), poems, or song lyrics. All profits from the anthology will go to environmental charities, including the Sierra Club.
Cli-fi stands for climate fiction, which is usually (but not always) science fiction.
Cli-fi stories can take place in the present day, near future, distant future, or even the distant past.
Why is an anthology of climate change fiction needed?
Climate change, also known as anthropogenic global warming (AGW), is the greatest challenge facing our generation and all future generations, as it threatens the survival of humanity and millions of other species on Earth. One need only listen to the words of the last President of the United States:
“No challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change… Fourteen of the fifteen warmest years on record have all fallen in the first fifteen years of this century.”
-President Obama, State of the Union speech, January 20, 2015
In December 2015, a total of 195 nations signed on to the Paris Agreement on climate change, but in June 2017, one rogue nation withdrew from the treaty. Unfortunately, that rogue nation is the world’s second-biggest polluter, the United States of America, led by climate-science denier Donald Trump, who has called global warming a Chinese hoax:
“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
-Donald J. Trump, climate-science-denier-in-chief, in a tweet (of course), November 6, 2012
This is only one of many times Trump has called AGW (climate change) a hoax. See this link: Yes, Donald Trump did call climate change a Chinese hoax.
Why is now the right time for an anthology of climate change fiction?
With our climate-denying so-called “President” up for re-election in 2020, I’m hoping that publication of this anthology will draw more attention to the urgent issue of global warming, or climate change. Donald Trump’s withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement turned America into the one rogue nation that’s putting the entire world at risk of sea level rise, drought, floods, hurricanes, typhoons, tornadoes, extreme heat, and ultimately extinction. Without the United States (the world’s second-biggest polluter) taking prompt action to avert catastrophic climate change, Earth’s climate may be doomed, and humanity along with it.
The title of the anthology, Terraforming Earth for Aliens (a Cli-Fi Anthology of Global Warming Stories) was inspired by the sci-fi/horror/cli-fi 1996 movie The Arrival, starring Charlie Sheen (a title often confused with other science fiction movies with similar or identical names, such as the 2016 movie Arrival and the 1991 movie The Arrival). In the 1996 movie The Arrival, aliens among us are secretly releasing greenhouse gasses into Earth’s atmosphere to raise the planets temperature, in a plot to not only kill off humans, but make the planet more hospitable for themselves. When an American scientist (played by Charlie Sheen) discovers the alien plot, the alien leader points out, “We’re just finishing what you humans started.”
Submission deadline: June 30, 2020 for epidemic/pandemic global warming stories (the deadline was December 31, 2019 for all other types of global warming stories)
Maximum story length: 8,000 words
Genre: Cli-fi (climate fiction), which is primarily science fiction, but could also be political, horror, humor, or any mixture of the above.
Publication date: In 2020, before the 2020 Presidential election.
Publisher: Silver Sword Press®, a registered trademark of award-winning YA fantasy novelist David Harten Watson (author of Magic Teacher’s Son, Fortress of Gold, and the rest of the Magicians Gold series).
Setting: Stories can take place anywhere, e.g. on Earth, in Earth’s oceans, or on a distant planet.
Protagonists can be human, animal (polar bears, anyone?), or alien.
Stories can take place in any time period, but please state in your title page which time period they take place, e.g.:
Medieval times (not the restaurant),
A specific year or specific number of years in the future,
How to submit stories:
Send an email to [email protected]
with a subject line containing the words “Cli-Fi Anthology”
Include your story as an attachment in MS-Word or compatible format (.docx, .doc, or .rtf).
Title Page: Make sure your story has a title page with your name, contact information, title of story, word count, time period (present day, near future, far future, etc.), and subgenre of cli-fi (e.g. science fiction, horror, humor, political, etc.)
In the body of the email (and/or on the story’s title page, if you can fit it there) also include the following:
Subgenre of cli-fi (sci-fi, political, horror, thriller, humor, etc.),
Setting (e.g. Egypt, Greenland, Antarctica, or a small planet in the vicinity of Betelgeuse)
Time period (e.g. present, near future, distant future, or a specific year),
Brief, one-paragraph synopsis of plot, suitable as an intro for the story. If your story requires readers to know specific scientific facts that aren’t common knowledge, then rather than doing an “info dump” in the story itself, you can also include those facts in your brief (maximum 200 words, preferably less than 100 words) synopsis.
Any relevant expertise, publications, scientific experience, or scientific credentials
And don’t forget your contact information, which must be on the title page, not just in the email.
Format: Your story should be in standard manuscript format, double-spaced and in an easily readable font. It should have a header on the top right corner of each page (except the title page) showing author’s last name / story title / page x of y. For example, if Charlie Sheen authored it, the top of each page might say:
SHEEN / THE ARRIVAL / page 4 of 7
$20 for stories between 300 and 8,000 words (not counting the title),
$10 for flash fiction stories (stories under 300 words, not counting the title),
$10 for each accepted poem or song lyrics.
All profits from the anthology will go to environmental charities, including the Sierra Club.
Most importantly, you will forever be able to tell your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren that your story may have played some small part in helping save humanity from extinction due to climate change!
Rights granted to Silver Sword Press:
Author agrees to grant Silver Sword Press first English-language rights to the story, or in the case of previously published stories owned by you, reprint rights. These are non-exclusive, English-language rights to publish the author’s story as part of the cli-fi anthology in both print and digital formats. This includes the first edition of the anthology as well as any future editions, updates, or corrections to that same anthology.
Rights revert to author after publication:
After publication, print and digital rights will revert to the author. This means as soon as the anthology is published, authors will be free to sell the same story elsewhere, but authors must disclose that the work was previously published in the anthology.
Authors keep the movie rights to their own story, but must disclose to the movie producers that your story has been previously published in this anthology.
Story suggestions and examples, to help give you ideas:
Stories about climate change can focus on either the problems, or on the solutions.
Stories about the problem might include, in approximate chronological order:
Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, droughts, blizzards, and other extreme weather (already happening),
Massive wildfires fueled by extreme heat and drought (already happening),
Famines from AGW-caused drought, heat, or floods (already happening),
Lethal heat waves (already happening)
Climate refugees (already happening)
Wars or revolutions fought over climate-change (some say this is already happening, that the “Arab Spring” revolutions of 2010 were partly caused by climate-change-associated food shortages)
Animal extinction (already happening, 100 species going extinct every day)
Polar bears, deprived of sea ice and their natural diet of seals, decide to change their favorite food to humans, instead. (Polar bears have already started becoming a problem in Alaska for these reasons, but turn it into a horror story, because polar bears are as dangerous as any fictional “land-shark”!)
Coastal cities flooded due to sea-level rise from melting ice sheets
Island nations submerged due to sea-level rise
Low-lying American states underwater (not only just coastal states but also states in the Mississippi river valley),
Human civilization regressing to mostly subsistence farming in a harsh new climate
Human extinction, and finaly:
Aliens landing to discover the remains of former human civilization
Solution stories might include:
Green energy solutions (wind power, solar power, fusion power, etc.),
Conservation by “powering-down” our society to sustainable levels,
Carbon-capture and storage (CCS),
Mitigating sea-level rise (levies, dikes, moving cities to higher ground, houses on stilts, or even entire cities on stilts),
ZPG (zero population growth) as a solution
NPG (negative population growth) as a solution
Weather control technology
Climate control (not the kind in your car!) technology
Humans evacuating Earth (after destroying its climate) and moving to a greener planet
What about climate-change skeptic stories?
If they’re good stories, I’ll consider them, but I prefer climate change skeptic stories to be ones that portray the climate-change denier(s) as idiots. For example, stories where the climate-denier is the villain who gets his golf course in Mara Lago destroyed (see next item below), humorous stories that poke fun at climate-science skeptics, or sarcastic stories in which (for example) a climate-skeptic character might whine and complain (imagine hearing this in Donald Trump’s voice), “Sea levels didn’t rise as much as scientists feared, so now here we are after the Green New Deal, stuck with nothing but clean air, clean water, and American energy independence, when we should have just kept burning imported oil, fighting oil wars in the Middle East, and having 500,000 Americans die every year from air pollution from coal-burning power plants!”
Bonus points for the following type of story!
Special consideration (but no guarantee of publication) will be given to your story if it portrays a climate-denying politician’s home, office, or private golf course (e.g. Mara Lago) being destroyed by extreme weather caused by the very global warming that he’s denied! This could include stories in which Mara Lago or another one of Trump’s golf courses, the White House, Capitol Hill, Washington DC, or the Governor’s Mansion of a climate-denying governor is destroyed by a Category-5 hurricane, Cat-5 tornado, sea level rise, flash flood, and/or dam break. Hey, we can all dream, can’t we? Special consideration doesn’t mean a guarantee of publication, however, because your story must also be a good one. Obviously we can’t have the entire anthology composed of stories about Donald Trump’s properties being destroyed, so only the best of these stories will be published.
Good cli-fi movies you can use for inspiration:
1) The Day After Tomorrow, which was the mother of all cli-fi movies.
2) The Arrival (1996 movie), the afore-mentioned sci-fi/horror/cli-fi movie starring Charlie Sheen (not to be confused with other science fiction movies with similar or identical names, such as the 2016 movie Arrival or the 1991 movie The Arrival).
3) Interstellar (2014), in which humans seek to move to a better planet after destroying Earth’s climate.
4) An Inconvenient Truth, by Al Gore. This is a climate documentary rather than cli-fi, but it’s the best climate documentary I’ve seen.
Bad cli-fi movies to avoid:
1) Waterworld, a ridiculous attempt at a cli-fi movie in which all of Earth’s continents, including mountains, are buried by miles-deep water, which is obviously impossible! Basically, the producers tried to film “Mad Max on water,” but only succeeded in filming one of the most expensive flops in history. Even Kevin Costner fans like me were disappointed with Waterworld. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
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Stuart Conover is a father, husband, published author, blogger, geek, entrepreneur, horror fanatic, and runs a few websites including Horror Tree!