I’m the editor of a Kickstarter anthology project called Beyond The Sun, which has four multi-award winning headliners–Robert Silverberg, Nancy Kress, Mike Resnick and Krisine Kathryn Rusch–and many successful midlist writers as well. Bestselling novelist Jean Johnson, novelist Erin Hoffman, Hugo/Nebula nominee & Analog regular Brad R. Torgersen, Analog regular Jamie Todd Rubin, Interzone regulars Jason Sanford and Matthew Cook, fellow editors Cat Rambo and Jennifer Brozek–do any of these names sound familiar? All of them are attached to write new space colonists stories for this project. The fact that they’re all also friends of mine just makes it better.
I love helping writers. And I’m a big believer that networking matters. And when you have a track record and a good network, you don’t have to wait for opportunity to come to you, you can create it. With NASA downsized and scientific exploration being downplayed, there’s a need for the kind of inspiration those shuttle launches and moon landings once provided. For imagining the world beyond that which we know and the possibilities that exist “out there” somewhere. Beyond The Sun is an attempt to fill that gap while, at the same time, giving writers work that pays fair rates and allows up and coming writers the opportunity to reach a larger audience both, by appearing alongside big name headliners, and by being involved in something aimed at a larger audience.
Beyond The Sun is not intended to be academic, but it is intended to be academic friendly and family friendly–writers are free to explore a variety of subjects but graphic violence, language and sex should not be employed to do so. Neither should heavy-handed politics or religion. We have stories that touch on both, just not in a prosletyzing manner. For example, Bob Silverberg’s “The Dybbok Of Mazel Tov IV” is about what happens when Jewish settlers, tired of fighing over Israel, instead immigrate to a planet to start a new homeland. When a spirit (Dybbok) appears in a native alien of the planet which speaks with the voice of one of their own, they find themselves asking can aliens be Jews? What does it mean that things their modern sect gave up for old fashioneed have occurred in their midst? It’s an interesting story and the only one in which Silverberg touches on his Jewish heritage.
Mike Resnick’s Africa tales have won numerous awards. And he’s writing a new one for this project. Nancy Kress’ work has explored colonization in many forms, from her Hugo-winning “Beggars Of Spain” to her short stories and she’ll explore it again here. And Kris Rusch’s work is so diverse yet powerful, I can’t wait to see what she comes up with. The easiest part of the project has been recruiting writers. The SFF crew love this concept. It’s a theme everyone loves to explore. The hard part is the Kickstarter, and that’s where you come in.
Because a lot of anthologies today just stick with cover art, we’re hoping to raise money to have interior b&w illustrations, like the one shown for Silverberg’s tale. It adds a visual connection to the story that aids thee imagination for readers and we writers love to see how artists interpret our vision as well. Special art prizes are in the rewards as well because award-winning digital artist Mitchell Bentley has come up with a great cover (currently in mockup.) And I get the chance to nurture and encourage writers, which is what I love, but also to do it around a subject I’m passionate about. I got the chance to do it before with Space Battles, which I edited in 2011 and was published in April 2012 and as a freelance book editor. But I want to do more, so I created the opportunity.
It’s also an opportunity for you to see some great artwork and stories from both established and up and coming artists and writers. And a chance to revisit the part of your childhood and mind that still wants to know what’s out there and longs to see it for yourself one day. Just writing those words gets me excited. I’m hoping many of you feel the same. Thanks for supporting us!
Bryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and editor of adult and children’s speculative fiction. His debut novel, The Worker Prince(2011) received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble Book Club’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases for 2011. A sequel The Returning followed in 2012 and The Exodus will appear in 2013, completing the space opera Saga Of Davi Rhii. His first children’s books, 102 More Hilarious Dinosaur Books For Kids (ebook only) and Abraham Lincoln: Dinosaur Hunter- Lost In A Land Of Legends (forthcoming) appeared from Delabarre Publishing in 2012. His short stories have appeared in magazines, anthologies and online. He edited the anthology Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 (2012) and is working on World Encounters and Space & Shadows: SpecNoir with coeditor John Helfers, both forthcoming. He hosts #sffwrtcht (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer’s Chat) Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on Twitter and is an affiliate member of the SFWA.