I will be editing another anthology of science fiction humor over the summer.
Tentatively titled FUNNY SCIENCE FICTION (Hey, it gets the point across, okay?), I envision it as being “just like the Unidentified Funny Objects anthologies, except it will all be reprints.” There are lots of funny stories out there that I love, and would have published in UFO without hesitation, except other editors got to them first. Still, it’s virtually impossible for anyone to read all the magazines and anthologies out there, and so I’m confident the anthology will feel fresh to the fans of the UFO series. You can expect the same variety of voices, styles and lengths, and the same wacky and occasionally difficult-to-peg down sense of humor.
The awesome picture displayed above is by Argentine artist Flavio Greco Paglia will be the cover art for this book.
Those are some of the similarities to UFO, but lots of things are different, too.
For one thing, this will be an e-book only release, at least for now. UFO books sell way better as e-books than in paper (partly because UFO Publishing is a tiny company with limited distribution). Also, e-books are way cheaper to produce. I can afford to do this on a shoestring budget and without a Kickstarter campaign or causing undue emotional harm to my wallet.
In case the book is super successful, I’m optioning the Print rights from authors. (As in, I will pay them a bit more money and be able to release the book in a print version.) Authors will be paid $0.01 per word for non-exclusive electronic rights outright, and another $0.01 per word if and when I want to exercise the print option. It’s not a lot, but unfortunately $0.01-$0.02 per word is pretty standard as reprint rates go. Ultimately I do not expect to make a ton of money from this project, but to use it as a way to promote the UFO series.
The second difference is that this book will include science fiction stories only. No fantasy. However, if it proves to be successful, the FUNNY FANTASY volume won’t be far behind! I have a fairly broad definition of science fiction, which includes superheroes, steampunk that doesn’t include magic, etc.
Also, there will be no submission window for this project as such. About half the stories will be solicited by me directly — they’re stories I’ve already read, I already love, and I will definitely include in the book if the authors let me. For the rest, I’m asking readers (and authors themselves) to recommend reading material to me. I’m looking for stories of 500-7500 words that are SF and that are funny. Please feel free t0 e-mail me, or simply post your favorites in the comments of this post. If you’re an author, it’s OK to recommend a few of your own stories. I’ll do my best to read everything that’s suggested, and may reach out to some authors directly and ask them to see their stories if they weren’t published online.
I’m looking to mostly include stories that were published in the last few years. (Original publication date of 2010 – present.) I may go back a few years more for my absolute favorites, but will include nothing from the 20th century. The idea is to showcase some of the best humor SF being written today. Go far enough back and the book will become filled with time-tested classics by Brown and Asimov and Sheckley, leaving little room for modern stories.
I began the process of reaching out to authors about their stories yesterday and already have three tales under contract:
“Observation Post” by Mike Resnick (Beyond the Sun anthology, Fairwood Press, 2013)
“Flying on My Hatred of My Neighbor’s Dog” by Shaenon Garrity (Drabblecast, 2013)
“Whaliens” by Lavie Tidhar (Analog, 2014)
I’m super excited to share these stories (and several others I’ve already solicited and am waiting on responses and/or contracts) with my readers.
I’ll be reading and slowly acquiring stories for this project over the course of the next month or so. Again, if you have a (recent) favorite, please let me know about it in the comments, on Twitter, Facebook, by carrier pigeon, or at a convention. Thanks!