Monday, March 16, 2009

The Tangled Bank Anthology: Submit Your Evolution Spec Fic

It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us.
~ On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin, 1859
As most of you probably know, 2009 marks the 200th Anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth, and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species. In celebration, Australian writer Chris Lynch is putting together an anthology of short speculative fiction and poetry. Here's the notice from his aptly named Tangled Bank Press:

It’s hard to overestimate the impact of Charles Darwin’s work on science and society — the theory of evolution has been described as the best idea anyone has ever had. Science fiction has been profoundly influenced: Gardner Dozois has gone so far as to say that science fiction began with The Origin of Species, by establishing an evolutionary sense of time that allowed science-fictional ideas to flourish. And yet Brian Stableford, in his entry on evolution in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, argues that “it is lamentably unfortunate that so few sf stories have deployed the theory in any reasonably rigorous fashion”.

H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine was a powerful late 19th century meditation on Darwin’s theory. More than a century later, Darwin’s theory remains socially controversial, despite an explosion of evidence and new ideas that build on Darwin’s insights. Why? What is it about evolution that refuses to catch the imagination of so many? What does evolution mean in the early 21st century? What will it mean in the future? The Tangled Bank is an attempt to answer these questions in an entertaining and thought-provoking way.

Explore the process of evolution in any of its forms. Breed us a story that engages the heart and the brain, a story that explores what evolution means to you, a story that evokes wonder or fear, laughter or despair. Take us on a voyage of discovery. Bring back specimens from old worlds, or new ones. Shine a light on dark corners. Illuminate what it means to be human, or inhuman. It could be a hard sf story, a contemporary tale of atheists and creationists, a magic realist story in Charles Darwin’s backyard, a myth of origin, a fairy tale, steampunk, cyberpunk, horror, new weird, old weird, or something entirely different.

Sounds right up my alley.

Contributions can be short fiction (1000-7500 words), poetry or artwork. If you are interested in submitting, check out the guidelines.

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