THE ART OF BEING HUMAN story snippets

Just FIVE HOURS left of the pre-order campaign, so today we shared a glimpse into every story and poem in The Art of Being Human over on Twitter. You can check them out in the hourly threads there, or through the gallery of screen caps below.


60 hours to go for IN YOUR FACE!

There are just over 60 hours left in ourĀ In Your Face crowdfunding and pre-order campaign. Thank you so much toĀ every person who has shared or backed the campaign, and to our incredible authors who have talked about the often very personal genesis of each of their stories (read about them via the links here).

We’re still chasing our stretch goal of pro-rates for all the original stories in the collection, so this last 60 hours could be huge!

The book comprisesĀ original and reprinted speculative fiction stories that deal with very provocative themes. These stories areĀ confronting but with a firm purpose ā€“ they are pieces that will perhaps make readers uncomfortable because they are a bit too hard-hitting or close to the bone, but which interrogate these themes and ideas, and make a point about the world we live in.

If you’d like to support the book and pre-order your copy (in print or ebook ā€“Ā still fantastic pre-order prices available), you can back the campaign here, for as little as $8.00 for an ebook.


Ten days left for crowdfunding IN YOUR FACE

We are so very delighted to have now tripled our target, with the tally passing $1500 earlier today ā€“ to all our wonderful backers, THANK YOU! To every single person who has shared the campaign with their networks, friends, families and random people on the street, THANK YOU! To our amazing authors, who continue to astonish with their thoughtful posts about their stories, THANK YOU!

The tally so far means that we have been able to addĀ several more stories to the anthology, taking us to 21 pieces (including fourĀ reprints), and a total of over 135,000 words (check out the amazing Table of Contents). We’ve also been able to increase the payment for authors of stories longer than 5,000 words (to pay them for the full length of the story), and the payment for reprint pieces. That’s fantastic!

But we’ve still got a dream! In order to pay pro rates of six cents per word for the original stories in the anthology, we estimate we need to reach a goal of $4,500 ā€“ and we’ve still got ten days to try for it! We’re happy to aim for the stars even if we don’t quite make it though, because even if we only get to $2,500, we can increase the per word payment, which would be fabulous.

So please, tell your friends! Share with your networks and check out the blog posts about the stories ā€“ this book is going to knock your socks off!

If you would like to support the the In Your FaceĀ Pozible campaign, you can do so here ā€“Ā thank you!


Sparking In Your Face: Cat Sparks

Cat Sparks is a multi-award-winning author, editor and artist whose former employment has included: media monitor, political and archaeological photographer, graphic designer and manager of Agog! Press amongst other (much less interesting) things. Sheā€™s currently fiction editor ofĀ Cosmos MagazineĀ while simultaneously grappling with a PhD on YA climate change fiction.Ā  Her debut novel, Lotus Blue, is forthcoming from Talos Press in February 2017.

A friend of mine, an English teacher once remarked upon a curiosity amongst her class of 17-year-old boys. When asked for the worst thing they could think of in regards to their own futures, all apparently cited the same thing. That the absolutely worst thing ever would be to get blind drunk and wake up in bed next to a fat girl.

My friend was gobsmacked. Surely the boys were more worried about employment, or climate change, terrorism, HECS debt, rising house prices or maybe speeding and getting mangled in a car wreck? Nope. Unanimously fat chicks were the epitome of social and personal apocalypse.

Which got me thinkingā€¦

I reckon every Aussie woman larger than a size 14 has likely experienced a man criticising her appearance. I’m not talking about garment choices, I’m talking about overweight, and the invisible accompanying license to express contempt.

My In Your FaceĀ story, “No Fat Chicks”, is set in the near future where a mystery virus has rendered all women obese. The story focuses on a group of male friends not coping well at all with the situation.

Iā€™d had the idea for this one for some time, but hadn’t known where or how to start. I recognised the story would be tricky ā€“ but all my stories are difficult these days. Perhaps I should have realised a sci-fi semi-satire piece might prove particularly troublesome to place.

An Australian literary publication invited me to sub a story. They sat on “No Fat Chicks” for months before finally giving it the flick. My rejection came with a half page email mansplaining the intricate mechanics of human attraction. As far as that particular editor was concerned, I simply didn’t know how such things worked.

I sent the story out again a dozen times. A few submissions scored a polite ā€˜no thanksā€™ but other rejections read more along the lines of “ew ā€“Ā get this thing out of my face!” Even a sci-fi feminist magazine wouldn’t touch it. They weren’t sure why they didn’t want it, but they didn’t. A prominent editor friend had a look and advised me that the story was too misogynist.

It wasn’t the fact of the rejections that bothered me so much as the wording of them. As a writer of 25+ years in the saddle, I’m no stranger to editorial rejection, no kind of delicate little flower who expects her words to be regarded as precious gifts. Iā€™m an editor myself ā€“ and a bit of a hardarse ā€“ well aware that no can mean no for many reasons.

“No Fat Chicks” is not about #allmen, but the men it describes are absolutely real. For research, I waded through a swamp of unpleasant websites. The kind that advocate dating girls with eating disorders as theyā€™re hot in the sack and easy to control. And then there was the miserable hatefest known as @fatshamingweek. Donā€™t go there ā€“ I really wish I hadnā€™t.

To be fair on the editors who rejected my submissions, I tweaked the story every time it bounced. Perhaps my earlier drafts didn’t do my ideas proper justice. Perhaps my writing needed a bit more polish. But the overwhelming feeling I experienced with each no was that I wasn’t supposed to be telling this tale at all.

Western women are raised with the belief that it’s more important to be beautiful than anything. We can all name five supermodels or screen sirens, but how do we score naming five top female CEOs or scientists?

There are many men out there who consider ā€˜fat chicksā€™ a blight upon the landscape. They believe the world was made for them alone. That women and girls are servants and accessories, and all are supposed to be petite and small. Anything else is unnecessary and offensive. This story is about those men. It is not about all men everywhere, any more than any other story could be expected to reflect all men everywhere.

Thank you Tehani for giving “No Fat Chicks” a go.

Editor’s Note: Cat’s story is the true spark that brought the In Your Face anthology into being. I wasn’t going to do an anthology this year. “No Fat Chicks” is the reason the book came to life.Ā 

If CatĀ has sparked your interest in theĀ In Your FaceĀ anthology and the powerful stories it contains, you might like toĀ support the crowdfunding campaign by pre-ordering the book (and lots of other goodies) at Pozible. And please feel free to share with your networks!

You can find more posts by our authors linked here.


Announcement: Table of Contents for IN YOUR FACE

We’reĀ delighted to announce the preliminary table of contents for the In Your Face anthology. There may still be some additions over the coming weeks, but the following are firm acceptances!

Thoraiya Dyer Where The Pelican Builds Her Nest
Tansy Rayner Roberts Letters to Cleopatra
Stephanie Lai Cherries in Winter, Rivers in Spring
Simon Brown Rain from a New God (reprint)
Shauna O’Meara NoĀ one Here is Going to Save You
Sean Williams Lust, Entrapment, and the Matter Transmitter: a Case Study
Paul Haines Wives (reprint)
Marlee Jane Ward Fert
Kirstyn McDermott Accidents Happen
Kaaron Warren All Roll Over
Jo Anderton A pain that must be suffered
Jason Nahrung A House in Blue
Ian McHugh Tolerance
Dirk Flinthart Waters of Kati Thanda
David McDonald And Now Art Thou Cursed From the Earth
Darren Goossens Zero Sum Game
Craig Cormick The Lost Boys
Claire McKenna The Autumn Dog Cannot Live to Spring
Cat Sparks No Fat Chicks
Barbara Robson Absolution (reprint)
Angela Slatter Home and Hearth (reprint)
Alan Baxter Bodies of Evidence

If you would like to learn more about the stories, check out the authors talking about their piece via our link round up here. And if you are keen to get your hands on the book, you can pre-order via the crowdfunding campaign, with the added bonus of helping the authors earn more for their work!


Updating the IN YOUR FACE crowdfunding campaign

Well, we’re absolutely blown away by the fantastic response we’ve had to the In Your Face crowdfunding campaign. In five days we’re heading to nearly double the initial target, and all the early bird print rewards have been taken! But there is still a long way to go and plenty excellent rewards (particularly pre-orders of the book) still available. Based on the word count of stories we have in hand, we will need to hit around $4,500 in the campaign to be able to pay pro-rates for all original stories, so that is the target we’reĀ aiming for as a stretch goal.

You might also be interested in reading about the story behind the story that many of our authors are posting ā€“ we’ve rounded up the ones published so far here.

Thank you to everyone who has already backed the campaign ā€“ we look forward to having your book to you in late March. And a huge thanks to everyone who has shared the campaign with their social networks ā€“ it’s a massive help, and greatly appreciated!


Sparking In Your Face: Thoraiya Dyer

Thoraiya DyerĀ is a four-time Aurealis Award-winning, three-time Ditmar Award-winning, Sydney-based Australian writer. Her work has appeared in Clarkesworld, Apex, Cosmos, Analog and pretty much every FablecCroft anthology. Her collection of four original stories, Asymmetry, is available from Twelfth Planet Press and her debut novel, Crossroads of Canopy, first in the Titanā€™s Forest trilogy, is forthcoming from Tor books in 2017.

Dyer is represented by the Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency. She is a member of SFWA. A qualified veterinarian, her other interests include bushwalking, archery and travel. Find her online at Goodreads, Twitter (@ThoraiyaDyer) or

My In Your FaceĀ story,Ā ā€œWhere the Pelican Builds Her Nestā€, came from the collision of two emotions. One, my glumness that wildlife, so glorious when allowed to thrive in pristine wilderness, can be as corrupted by the environmental degradation of our cities as human beings are. Two, my anger that TV rapists are so often depicted as strangers.

When I think of pelicans, I want to think of them sailing in proud flotillas across the sapphire waters of Port Stephens in NSW, scavenging guts from recreational fisherpeople at worst!

Statistics from the ABS tell us that when we think of rapists, we should think, 68% of the time, about somebody known to the victim. I think of the brother-in-law from ā€œA Streetcar Named Desireā€ and how the sister stays with him in the end. That a scenario from a play written in 1947 remains probable is angry-making to me.

The title of the story comes from the poem by Mary Hannay-Foott, ā€œWhere the Pelican Builds Her Nest,ā€ which I love for its movement and imagery even though itā€™s about white settlement and all the disease, death and displacement implied in that process. You can read the poem at Bushverse here.

If Thoraiya has sparked your interest in theĀ In Your FaceĀ anthology and the powerful stories it contains, you might like toĀ support the crowdfunding campaign by pre-ordering the book (and lots of other goodies) at Pozible. And please feel free to share with your networks!

You can find more posts by our authors linked here.


Wow! Target met and aiming for the stars!

We’re very excited about meeting our initial target for the In Your Face crowdfunding campaign, less than 12 hours after launching! We deliberately set a modest target, but would really love to reach out for our stretch goal of increasing the per word payment for each story. The current rate is 3 cents per word for original stories, capped at 5000 words ā€“ our first goal will be to extend the rate to the full word count of each story. From there, we would love to increase the rate per word higher, with the ultimate goal being the 6 cents per word advised by SWFA as pro rates.

We’re currently finalising reading of original works, and hope to be able to announce the provisional table of contents in the next few days.

If you would like to back the project, we have limitedĀ early bird reward levels at discounted rates for both ebook and print copies ā€“ get in quick to nab a great pre-order price!


Welcome to an IN YOUR FACE kind of New Yearā€¦

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2016 ā€“ may it improve onĀ everything good from the year gone by and contain none of the rubbish bits!


We are very excited to leap straight into the new year (huh, which also happens to be a leap year!) with a brand new crowdfunding campaign for our forthcoming project,Ā In Your Face.Ā 

specfactionWith thanks to the group SpecFaction, who initially sparked off the project in the form of a financial grant intended for just one purpose, to produce an anthology showcasing Australian spec fic, we have been able to offer payment for original stories of 3 cents per word, and for reprints a flat rate of $50 per piece, for around 12-15 stories. This campaign is designed to expand the number of excellent stories we are able to include in the book by at least five stories.

As ourĀ goal is always to pay our contributors what their efforts deserve, while our initial target is quite low, our stretch goal once we reach our target will be toĀ increase the amount we are able to pay per story ā€“ the aim is to pay pro-rates of 6 cents per word, as per the SWFA guidelines, but we would be pleased to be able to increase the pay rate by any amount.

Rewards include ebook and printĀ editions of the anthology, as well as extra goodies in different bundles. And if you get in quick and support, there are super discounted pricesĀ for a limited number of earlybird backers!Ā 

I need to offer fair warning: the book will be made up of original and reprinted speculative fiction stories that deal with very provocative themes.Ā TheĀ stories we have already accepted areĀ challengingĀ and/or confronting but with a firm purpose ā€“ they are pieces that will perhaps make readers uncomfortable because they are a bit too hard-hitting or close to the bone, but which interrogate these themes and ideas, and make a point about the world we live in. It won’t be an easy book to read, but it is a powerful one.

If this sounds like something that’s right up your reading alley, jump on in and pledge your support! We also appreciate every share on social media that spreads the word ā€“ our unending gratitude to every person who does so!