Tuesday, August 12, 2008


more tales of beauty and strangeness

CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 2: More Tales of Beauty and Strangeness is the next volume in the annual anthology series edited by Mike Allen, scheduled to be published by Norilana Books in July 2009. The anthology's literary focus is on the high end, and it is open to the full range of the speculative and fantastic genres.

Editor Mike Allen says: "CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 2 is a home for stories that sidestep expectations in beautiful and unsettling ways, that surprise with their settings and startle with the ways they cross genre boundaries, that aren't afraid to experiment with storytelling techniques. But experimentation is not a requirement: the stories in the anthology must be more than gimmicks, and should appeal to genuine emotions, suspense, fear, sorrow, delight, wonder. I will value a story that makes me laugh in its quirky way more than a story that tries to dazzle me with a hollow exercise in wordplay.

"The stories should contain elements of the fantastic, be it science fiction, fantasy, horror or some combination thereof. A straight psychological horror story is unlikely to make the cut unless it's truly scary and truly bizarre. The same applies to a straight adventure fantasy or unremarkable space opera — bring something new and genuine to the equation, whether it's a touch of literary erudition, playful whimsy, extravagant style, or mind-blowing philosophical speculation and insight. Though stories can be set in this world, settings at least a hair or more askew are preferred. I hope to see prose that is poetic but not opaque. I hope to see stories that will lead the reader into unfamiliar territory, there to find shock and delight."

Update for the second volume: "Over the course of reading for the first volume, I developed some criteria for stories that aren't likely to interest me (though exceptions are always possible). These include straightfoward retellings of well-known fairy tales; stories in which a Machine Discovers Its Humanity; stories that aim to prove Christianity/Religion Is Bad; stories about a Privileged Schmuck who comes to understand Oppression Is Bad; stories whose entire plot can be described as X Commits a Murder; stories of wish-fulfillment with little complication — i.e.: character longs for something; character is granted that something; end of story.

"My aim with the CLOCKWORK PHOENIX books is, somewhat selfishishly, to create books that satisfy my own tastes as a reader. And as a reader, I enjoy stories that experiment, that push the envelope, that dazzle with their daring, but I'm often personally frustrated when an experimental story ends without feeling complete, without leaving an emotional crater for me to remember it by. At the same time, I find myself increasingly bored with the traditional, conventionally-plotted and plainly-written Good Story Competently Told. For better or for worse, I envision the CLOCKWORK PHOENIX books as places where these two schools of story telling can mingle and achieve Happy Medium; where there is significance to both the tale that's told and the style of the telling."

RIGHTS PURCHASED: First English Language Rights and non-exclusive electronic rights. The anthology will be published by Norilana Books in a trade paperback edition in July 2009, to be followed by an electronic edition to be produced later.

PAYMENT: $0.02 a word on acceptance as an advance against royalties, then a pro rata share of royalties after earnout, plus a contributor copy.

WORD LENGTH: Stories should be no longer than 10,000 words, preferably shorter. This is a firm limit for unsolicited stories.

READING PERIOD begins August 23, 2008; ends Nov. 16, 2008. Any unsolicited stories sent before Aug. 23 will not be read until sometime after the reading period starts.

SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS: Submissions are electronic only. Please submit your story via e-mail, as an RTF file attachment. Your e-mail subject line should say "Submission: Story Title". Include a brief cover letter in the body of your email. It should have your name, address, e-mail address, title of story, number of words, and brief biographical information in case we don't know you, with most recent publishing credits, if applicable. We are open to new writers and seasoned veterans alike.

EDITORIAL ADDRESS: clockworkphoenix@gmail.com

For further updates, check Mike Allen's LiveJournal, THE PLASTEEL SPIDER FACTORY.

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