Friday, January 7, 2011

Beta City, POW!erful Tale

The first book about the superhumans of Beta City, POW!erful Tales, cast a wide net. Their authors spun a wide variety of tales--humorous, exciting and tragic. This collection will hopefully be just as varied, but with a more focused over-arcing plot.

POW!erful Tales ended with the threat of an alien invasion--and the implication that meeting this threat was the reason for
Beta City's existence. In this volume, the threatened invasion from Gehenna (also known as Jupiter's moon, Io) arrives on Earth, and only the heroes of Beta City can stop it.

They are looking for finely-crafted tales of superhero fiction, set during the invasion of
Beta City. The forces attacking from Gehenna are diverse and cosmopolitan, so any alien rabble you can dream up can be used. Their methods are up to you -- classic spacecraft assaults, subtle sorcerous schemes, and unspeakable horrors let loose in dark alleys are all fair game. Whether your preference leans toward science fiction, fantasy, horror, or something else entirely, your story can find a home here. Similarly, while they love well-written superpowered action, they don't want to fill the book entirely with tales of hero vs. alien combat. With the invasion as a background, all sorts of stories are possible -- consider how many different kinds of stories have been set during World War II, from Saving Private Ryan to the Indiana Jones films to Casablanca. Find your own angle, and surprise them!

That said, stories need to keep the following invasion timeline in mind. While an ingenious story will get you past almost any requirement, you have to fit into the book somewhere. Your story should take place during one of the sets of events listed in the timeline below. You can stretch your story across more than one if you desire, but it's not recommended; doing so makes it harder to place your story, and lowers your chance of acceptance. Also keep in mind that they will probably need more stories from the middle than from either end; stories set at the beginning or end of the invasion will probably have fewer competitors, but will be competing for fewer spots.


1. The first ships arrive. Stories set in this period should start with things relatively normal, and in some manner touch on the chaos as the invasion begins and no one yet knows what is happening.

2. Conventional forces, aided by superheroes, attempt to stave off the invasion before it can get a foothold on the ground -- and fail.

3. The invasion fleet has landed. Superheroes continue to fight on their own, or conduct guerilla actions as the Gehennan forces establish themselves in
Beta City. Why is Beta City so important? Apparently it sits on the one place on Earth suitable for the construction of... (see #4)

4. The invasion has succeeded and
Beta City is occupied. Citizens march off to work camps to construct a huge pit in which Kharsear plans to create a new singularity to swallow the Earth. Heroes do what they can, particularly to sabotage the singularity project. For the most part they are disorganized and working solo.

5. The resistance becomes organized. Superheroes (perhaps working with surviving military or even some of their old supervillain enemies) have become resistance cells, and are working together to disrupt the occupation.

6. The resistance launches a counterattack. Together the heroes assault the occupation headquarters on a do-or-die mission to finish off Kharsear or drive him away. Note that the main story dealing with the counterattack has already been assigned; submitted stories can take place at the same time, but the final battle itself will be resolved elsewhere.


One thing they're not looking for this time is the ironic, tongue-in-cheek sort of superhero story that brings out the various tropes of the genre in order to poke fun at them. Those kinds of stories can be enjoyable -- they published a few in POW!erful Tales -- but for this book they're looking for stories that take the genre seriously and try to make it cool and exciting. Light-hearted and comedic are acceptable, but try to work within the genre.

Another unacceptable category is fan fiction. No characters (or anything else) owned by third parties, please. Not even the most vague or oblique reference is acceptable. They love the classic heroes of comics too, but they're not authorized to include them here.


Include a cover letter in the body of your e-mail with a brief (and I do mean brief) bit about yourself and your publication history. Please indicate in which part of the timeline your story is set (just the number from the timeline is enough).

Word Limit: 1000 - 8000 words
March 15, 2011
Payment: 1 cent per word + 1 contributor’s copy
Reprints: No
Multiple Submissions: No
Simultaneous Submissions: No
Postal Submissions: No
Format: Use standard manuscript format. If you don’t know what this is, find out quickly.

Send the story as an .RTF file to with the story title, your name, and the word count in the subject line. You should get a “story received” email within a week. After that, you may not hear from me until submissions close. Stories may be rejected before the deadline, but no stories will be accepted until after the deadline. You may only get one shot, so send in your best work!

No comments: