THE ART OF BEING HUMAN KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN – WEEK 2!

What a fantastic ride we’ve had so far, hitting our funding target in just three days, and then almost 50% of that again! We’ve got some big stretch goals to reach for still, and some exciting announcements about the book to come.

Today I have for you a little round up of the online activities some of our brilliant contributors have shared so far about their stories in The Art of Being Human. I always love these behind-the-scenes peeks into the writer’s mind, and as an editor, it absolutely fascinates me to see how a theme can spark an idea…

Joyce Chng shares a very personal insight into the genesis of her story “The World Has Gone Silent” – https://awolfstale.wordpress.com/2022/08/10/the-year-of-tears-and-the-fight-for-hope/ 

Helen Vivienne Fletcher (and her gorgeous pupper!) shares a video talking about her story “The Library” – https://www.facebook.com/Helenvivienne/videos/506745707791990/

Ephiny Gale not only digs into a bit of the inspiration about her story “Neuro”, but shares a sneak peek! – https://ephinygale.com/2022/08/14/neuro-in-the-art-of-being-human-kickstarter-live/

Juliet Marillier shares a snippet of her story “Greatheart” and talks about the power of music and stories to heal and teach – https://www.julietmarillier.com/2022/08/14/bagpipes-a-monster-and-the-power-of-storytelling/

Kirstyn McDermott draws on the impact of capitalism on our capacity for creativity in discussing her story “Seeding Trouble” (and offers another sneak peek!) – https://kirstynmcdermott.com/2022/08/11/the-art-of-being-human-seeding-trouble/

Steve Quinn talks about how wealth inequality helped inspire his story, “The Maiden, the Statistician, and the Architect” – https://www.steve-quinn.net/2022/08/14/the-art-of-being-human-anthology-kickstarter/

Tansy Rayner Roberts has been sprinkling little nuggets of joy all over the internet about her story “Welcome to the Death Trade” – check out her Facebook and Insta feeds!

You can read more about the book and the crowdfunding pre-order campaign over at Kickstarter – thanks for being part of the journey!

Are you ready? The Art of Being Human Kickstarter campaign is LIVE!!

It has been two long years in the making, but we are beyond excited to begin our pre-order campaign for The Art of Being Human!

The purpose of this campaign is to offer early access to The Art of Being Human anthology to all backers, and to provide the ONLY opportunity to purchase the book in print.

Ready to back? Click here!

Want to know more? Read on!

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/NGA

What is the book about?

In 2020, the world was tipped upside down and shaken in ways we could barely have imagined, except perhaps in the post-apocalyptic and dystopic worlds of story. Amidst pandemic illness and death, political machinations and despair, one of the casualties has been, at least in a financial sense, the Arts. Governments across the world have slashed funding, galleries, theatres and entertainment venues have closed amid lockdown restrictions, money is being carefully metered with jobs more uncertain than ever, meaning our creatives across all industries are suffering. And yet, more than ever, we are turning to art to stay sane in lockdown, to keep our spirits up in isolation, and to remind us that despite the hardship, there is beauty in this world.

To that end, FableCroft came out of hiatus to publish a brand new original anthology, The Art of Being Human. Co-edited by Tehani Croft and Stephanie Lai, this anthology seeks to remind readers of the hope and beauty of the Arts, and the way our engagement with writing, music, film, theatre, artworks in all media, and craft of all kinds are at the core of our humanity.

If the time since COVID began to dominate our global society has taught us anything, it is that connection is crucial to our wellbeing. While so many of the stories that make up this amazing anthology have a core element of grief to them, they also speak to hope, connection, community, and yes, ART, and how important these threads are to the very centre of humanity. 

Who does the book feature?

We had around 350 submissions equalling well over 1.5 million words from at least 30 countries – I’m pretty sure it’s FableCroft’s biggest submission call ever! We are absolutely delighted with the lineup of stories we have selected, but it was a very difficult task. We could easily have accepted dozens more, so high was the quality of submissions. The stories selected range across the speculative fiction genres, and come to you from all over the world. We can’t wait for you to read them.

Table of Contents

“Pieced together” by K G Anderson  

“Birdsong” by Joanne Anderton  

“The world has gone silent” by Joyce Chng  

“The ocean, the lighthouse keeper and the sunset” by Lee Cope  

“The library” by Helen Vivienne Fletcher  

“The icecutter’s daughter” by Aiki Flinthart

“Neuro” by Ephiny Gale  

“Everyday wonder” by Valerie Hunter  

“A trail of blue paper flowers” by Nikoline Kaiser  

“Spools of silk, shards of stone” by Karin Landelius  

“Drawing blood” by Gerri Leen  

“Greatheart” by Juliet Marillier  

“That feeling when you ask me to dance” by Cara Mast  

“Seeding trouble” by Kirstyn McDermott  

“Among the faded woods” by Faith Mudge  

“Exposure” by Jason Nahrung  

“The light in the attic, the bones in the earth” by Spencer Nitkey  

“The maiden, the statistician, and the architect” by Steve Quinn  

“She is not in heaven” by Rivqa Rafael  

“All dressed up for the death trade” by Tansy Rayner Roberts  

“The mask makers” by Kristi Ross  

“When silence speaks” by Spencer Sekulin  

“Everything so slow and quiet” by Kaaron Warren  

“The poet’s tale” by Suzanne J Willis

kickstarter.com/projects/fablecroft/the-art-of-being-human-a-speculative-fiction-anthology

Table of Contents for THE ART OF BEING HUMAN

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/NGA

In 2020, the world was tipped upside down and shaken in ways we could barely have imagined, except perhaps in the post-apocalyptic and dystopic worlds of story. Amidst pandemic illness and death, political machinations and despair, one of the casualties has been, at least in a financial sense, the Arts. Governments across the world have slashed funding, galleries, theatres and entertainment venues have closed amid lockdown restrictions, money is being carefully metered with jobs more uncertain than ever, meaning our creatives across all industries are suffering. And yet, more than ever, we are turning to art to stay sane in lockdown, to keep our spirits up in isolation, and to remind us that despite the hardship, there is beauty in this world. 

To that end, FableCroft is coming out of hiatus in 2021 to publish a brand new original anthology, The Art of Being Human. Co-edited by Tehani Croft and Stephanie Lai, this anthology seeks to remind readers of the hope and beauty of the Arts, and the way our engagement with writing, music, film, theatre, artworks in all media, and craft of all kinds are at the core of our humanity.

It is our very great pleasure to announce the table of contents for The Art of Being Human. We had around 350 submissions equalling well over 1.5 million words from at least 30 countries – I’m pretty sure it’s FableCroft’s biggest submission call ever! We are absolutely delighted with the lineup of stories we have selected, but it was a very difficult task. We could easily have accepted dozens more, so high was the quality of submissions. The stories selected range across the speculative fiction genres, and come to you from all over the world. We can’t wait for you to read them.

So, without further ado, the forthcoming lineup!

Table of Contents

“Pieced together” by K G Anderson  

“Birdsong” by Joanne Anderton  

“The world has gone silent” by Joyce Chng  

“The ocean, the lighthouse keeper and the sunset” by Lee Cope  

“The library” by Helen Vivienne Fletcher  

“The icecutter’s daughter” by Aiki Flinthart

“Neuro” by Ephiny Gale  

“Everyday wonder” by Valerie Hunter  

“A trail of blue paper flowers” by Nikoline Kaiser  

“Spools of silk, shards of stone” by Karin Landelius  

“Drawing blood” by Gerri Leen  

“Greatheart” by Juliet Marillier  

“That feeling when you ask me to dance” by Cara Mast  

“Seeding trouble” by Kirstyn McDermott  

“Among the faded woods” by Faith Mudge  

“Exposure” by Jason Nahrung  

“The light in the attic, the bones in the earth” by Spencer Nitkey  

“The maiden, the statistician, and the architect” by Steve Quinn  

“She is not in heaven” by Rivqa Rafael  

“All dressed up for the death trade” by Tansy Rayner Roberts  

“The mask makers” by Kristi Ross  

“When silence speaks” by Spencer Sekulin  

“Everything so slow and quiet” by Kaaron Warren  

“The poet’s tale” by Suzanne J Willis

We still have a way to go on finalising the book, but keep an eye on our social media for pre-order options and release date!

UPDATE: The Art of Being Human anthology

Nick Youngson (CC BY-SA 3.0)

It’s been a busy few months and while we’ve posted some updates on Facebook and Twitter, I realised we really need to write a news post as well!

We received well over 320 submissions for The Art of Being Human  during the open period, totalling more than 1.5 million words, with stories from at least 30 countries – that one heck of a response! Far more than we anticipated, and it has affected our response time dramatically, I’m afraid.

The editors are steadily working through the submissions, but it is taking us longer than we had planned (with other RealLifeTM stuff also interfering, as it has a tendency to do). We would like to apologise to the creators who have entrusted their work to us, and thank them for their patience. Please bear with us – I sent a “received” response to every submission early on to note submission, and will contact every author regardless of the outcome, so if you haven’t heard from me with an acceptance or rejections, please know we’re still considering your work!

Thank you again to all who submitted – the standard is very high which makes this process both better AND harder! We can’t wait to share our TOC with you though – it’s shaping up to be amazing.

Three weeks until submissions close for THE ART OF BEING HUMAN

Submissions close: December 1, 2020

The world in 2020 has been tipped upside down and shaken in ways we could barely have imagined, except perhaps in the post-apocalyptic and dystopic worlds of story. Amidst pandemic illness and death, political machinations and despair, one of the casualties has been, at least in a financial sense, the Arts. Governments across the world have slashed funding, galleries, theatres and entertainment venues have closed amid lockdown restrictions, money is being carefully metered with jobs more uncertain than ever, meaning our creatives across all industries are suffering. And yet, more than ever, we are turning to art to stay sane in lockdown, to keep our spirits up in isolation, and to remind us that despite the hardship, there is beauty in this world. 

60801main_image_feature_186_jwrfull
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/NGA

To that end, FableCroft is coming out of hiatus in this year of social distancing and staying at home, to call for submissions on a brand new original anthology, The Art of Being Human. Co-edited by Tehani Croft and Stephanie Lai, this anthology seeks to remind readers of the hope and beauty of the Arts, and the way our engagement with writing, music, film, theatre, artworks in all media, and craft of all kinds are at the core of our humanity. We are looking at this through a broad context, seeking work that in some way demonstrates the beauty and hope of humanity through a lens of “the arts” in some form.

Stories should be between 2,000 to 20,000 words long, and not previously published. Poetry of any length is also welcome. Works are invited from all over the world, but must be primarily in the English language.

Stories must contain speculative elements – science fiction, fantasy and horror and their sub-genres are all welcome, but we recommend researching FableCroft’s past projects for an idea of the sort of stories we publish. Generally, no erotica or splatterpunk is desirable. Please query the editor before sending stories outside those limits.

SEE OUR SUBMISSION GUIDELINES FOR MORE INFORMATION.

Submissions OPEN! The Art of Being Human anthology

The world in 2020 has been tipped upside down and shaken in ways we could barely have imagined, except perhaps in the post-apocalyptic and dystopic worlds of story. Amidst pandemic illness and death, political machinations and despair, one of the casualties has been, at least in a financial sense, the Arts. Governments across the world have slashed funding, galleries, theatres and entertainment venues have closed amid lockdown restrictions, money is being carefully metered with jobs more uncertain than ever, meaning our creatives across all industries are suffering. And yet, more than ever, we are turning to art to stay sane in lockdown, to keep our spirits up in isolation, and to remind us that despite the hardship, there is beauty in this world. 

60801main_image_feature_186_jwrfull
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/NGA

To that end, FableCroft is coming out of hiatus in this year of social distancing and staying at home, to call for submissions on a brand new original anthology, The Art of Being Human. Co-edited by Tehani Croft and Stephanie Lai, this anthology seeks to remind readers of the hope and beauty of the Arts, and the way our engagement with writing, music, film, theatre, artworks in all media, and craft of all kinds are at the core of our humanity. We are looking at this through a broad context, seeking work that in some way demonstrates the beauty and hope of humanity through a lens of “the arts” in some form.

Stories should be between 2,000 to 20,000 words long, and not previously published. Poetry of any length is also welcome. Works are invited from all over the world, but must be primarily in the English language.

Stories must contain speculative elements – science fiction, fantasy and horror and their sub-genres are all welcome, but we recommend researching FableCroft’s past projects for an idea of the sort of stories we publish. Generally, no erotica or splatterpunk is desirable. Please query the editor before sending stories outside those limits.

We are seeking original stories only – no reprint submissions please.

No simultaneous submissions please.

For multiple submissions, please query first.

Submission Guidelines:

E-mail to fablecroft@gmail.com as an attached RTF. We do not accept submissions via snail mail.

  • Please use a regular font, size 12, with margins of at least 2cm.
  • Indent the first line of each paragraphs by 0.5 (approx 1cm), 1.5 space lines, and indicate section breaks with a centered “#”.
  • Include name, address, phone number, email etc at the top of the document.

Submissions open: September 1, 2020

Submissions close: December 1, 2020

Anticipated publication date: May 2021

Payment will be AUD$100.00 for stories of up to 10,000 words (payment for poetry and longer stories accepted will be negotiated with the author) and a contributor copy of the ebook. 

We would also like to include artwork to support the stories, and illustrators are invited to send appropriate samples (previously published work welcome for this element) – payment to be discussed. 

NEW ANTHOLOGY IN 2020 – The Art of Being Human

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/NGA

The world in 2020 has been tipped upside down and shaken in ways we could barely have imagined, except perhaps in the post-apocalyptic and dystopic worlds of story. Amidst pandemic illness and death, political machinations and despair, one of the casualties has been, at least in a financial sense, the Arts. Governments across the world have slashed funding, galleries, theatres and entertainment venues have closed amid lockdown restrictions, money is being carefully metered with jobs more uncertain than ever, meaning our creatives across all industries are suffering. And yet, more than ever, we are turning to art to stay sane in lockdown, to keep our spirits up in isolation, and to remind us that despite the hardship, there is beauty in this world. 

To that end, FableCroft is coming out of hiatus in this year of social distancing and staying at home, to call for submissions on a brand new original anthology, The Art of Being Human. Co-edited by Tehani Croft and Stephanie Lai, this anthology seeks to remind readers of the hope and beauty of the Arts, and the way our engagement with writing, music, film, theatre, artworks in all media, and craft of all kinds are at the core of our humanity.

Stories should be between 2,000 to 20,000 words long, and not previously published. Poetry of any length is also welcome. Works are invited from all over the world, but must be primarily in the English language.

Stories must contain speculative elements – science fiction, fantasy and horror and their sub-genres are all welcome, but we recommend researching FableCroft’s past projects for an idea of the sort of stories we publish. Generally, no erotica or splatterpunk is desirable. Please query the editor before sending stories outside those limits.

Submissions open: September 1, 2020

Submissions close: December 1, 2020

Anticipated publication date: May 2021

Payment will be AUD$100.00 for stories of up to 10,000 words (payment for poetry and longer stories accepted will be negotiated with the author) and a contributor copy of the ebook.

I would also like to include artwork to support the stories, and illustrators are invited to send appropriate samples (previously published work welcome for this element) – payment to be discussed. 

Last chance to order a posted copy of The Tallow-Wife!

Pre-orders for pickup at Conflux have now CLOSED but for ONE MORE WEEK you can still order a copy for delivery to your door anywhere in the world! This limited edition hardcover collectible is a must have for any Angela Slatter or Kathleen Jennings fan, and is both a wonderful reading experience and a gorgeous package. Availability ends FOREVER on Friday September 29, 2017.

About the book:

Return to the dreaming streets of the cathedral-city of Lodellan, where a new generation of characters face fairy tales and nightmares. Cordelia Parsifal has an enviable life, hard won, but the ghosts of the past are soon to remind her that no sin or omission goes unnoticed.

A darkly mannered narrative of a family facing its downfall, and the hidden secrets within. Deftly told in Slatter’s seemingly effortless prose, “The Tallow-Wife” is unexpected and shocking, with depths to be explored. Paired with vignettes from the same world, and featuring an essay by illustrator Kathleen Jennings.

On Maps and Authorial Authority in Fantasy (guest post)

Should fantasy novels have a map?

No, for three reasons. First, almost every fantasy author lacks the necessary geographic skills. Not only do you need to understand the interaction of tectonics and geology with climate, vegetation and the distribution of fauna, you also need to grasp historical and contemporary migration, settlement, trade and cultural patterns. You even have to know something about toponymy and the way this varies within and between cultures. Unless you’re an expert (and even with a Ph.D. in geography, specialising in cartography. and a lifetime of academic teaching and research behind me, I often feel out of my depth) you’re going to look silly in the eyes of an expert, as evidenced by these recent discussions.

Second, your story should be self-contained. If it needs to refer to a map, surely that’s evidence of poor writing. And if it doesn’t refer to it, what use is the map? In fact, shouldn’t we be moving away from those tired old epic fantasies where you need a map to work out where the hell you are?

Third, and most important, due to western hegemony, maps have become instruments of colonial and capitalist oppression. While their makers have convinced us they’re neutral, objective and value-free scientific documents, maps have been used to dominate, divide and deceive. Maps are gendered, constructed using masculinist language. They are coded in the language of the military, as all ‘base’ mapping is funded initially for military use. Why else is the British mapping agency called the ‘Ordnance Survey’, and their chief cartographer the ‘Surveyor-General’? Their subject matter is what makes money or controls people, and they have been imposed by the West on other cultures as a grid to straighten them out – in many cases literally, as with the north/south and east/west road grids slapped on to indigenous lands around the world, obliterating indigenous places and names. Go read up on the Radcliffe Line and come back to this discussion after you’ve dried your eyes.

So, as I was saying, every author needs to draw a map. Was I saying that? I was, really. Even if your map doesn’t end up in the book, if you’re creating a secondary world or a modified earth, you need to keep your story spatially straight. Even though you’re unlikely to ever become an expert, if you’re creating a secondary world you should understand enough geography to convince a reader they can trust you. Forget about the experts: they’ll always find a flaw in your work because they refuse to suspend their disbelief. You’re aiming at enough verisimilitude to get readers to trust you.

And here’s where a good map can work wonders. There’s a gazillion books out there. Who’s a reader to trust? You can signal to your reader by means of a well-conceived, thoughtful and comprehensive map that you’re one they can commit their time to; or you can put in a cursory map and convince them to go somewhere else. If your map’s not above average, please don’t include it. Or consider getting a professional to assist you.

Frontispiece map from the author’s current work in progress.
This is a thematic map of a secondary world showing earthquake frequency. It forgoes all the pointy-witches-hats and faux-medieval dressing, serving as an artifact for the story, having been drawn by one of the characters.

Sounds like a lot of work? If you’re writing in a secondary world you’re already doing the work required, or you should be. You’ve had to think about all the pesky geography I listed above. You’re on top of the all-important minutiae lending your story moment by moment believability. You’re striving for consistency and verisimilitude. A map is a visible expression of this.

But shouldn’t your story be self-contained? Sure it should. So let’s not put a cover on a book either, or a blurb on the back. These are devices for short-cutting the reading process, after all; to give the reader some idea of what’s coming, of the flavour of the experience in store for them. As is a map. In fact, your map plays an important role in keeping your story self-contained. Imagine a Lonely Planet guide without maps. You want to explore a new country, but you have to go somewhere else to get that necessary spatial overview. Defeats the purpose of the book, right? In the same way, if you don’t give readers the opportunity to pop their heads above the canopy of your story and get a look at the terrain – to see how far they’ve come in both a literal and metaphorical sense – the may well get lost in the forest of your words.

But my fantasy story doesn’t involve travelling! It takes place entirely inside a person’s clutch-purse! Do I need a map? Well, does the purse have geography? Do you have competing social organisations? Are there territories? Do they have conflict? Are the boundaries and liminal zones important? Would it benefit the reader to see these? Would it help establish the ‘otherness’ of your story in their minds? I bet it would.

And what of the notion that maps are devices to dominate, divide and deceive? Ah, here we have a chance to do what we authors do best: to subvert the hegemonic discourse. By all means, use the language of oppression, but remake it. Co-opt it! You don’t have to draw a pointy-witch’s-hat faux-medieval map. You can draw an oblique perspective. You can fill your map with misdirection. You can scrawl annotations over it and make it an actual artifact of your story. You can make geological maps, three-dimensional cutaways, cartoons, whatever suits your story. In fact, I await the day when authors realise they can be as creative – and subversive – with their maps as they are with their text.

I wish I’d thought this through when I began writing my fantasy trilogies in the 1980s. But now I have, and I’m hard at work on something I hope will subvert fantasy cartographic tropes. If enough of us do this, remaking the language of maps, perhaps maps will become relevant again. They still have plenty to offer us.

Dr. Russell Kirkpatrick is a New Zealander currently living in Canberra. His two fantasy trilogies are published by HarperCollins and Orbit (UK and US). Until 2014 he lectured in Geography at the University of Waikato, specialising in cartography. His atlases have won prestigious awards, including from the British Cartographic Society.