About this project
I’ve been editing sf/f/h short fiction for over thirty years. I was fiction editor of OMNI Magazine and SCIFICTION and have edited more than fifty anthologies, including the annual Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror for 21 years and the Best Horror of the Year for the last five years. My most recent anthologies are Blood and Other Cravings, Supernatural Noir, Teeth, and a young adult dystopian anthology titled After (with Terri Windling).
I’ve won multiple World Fantasy Awards, Locus Awards, Hugo Awards, Bram Stoker Awards, International Horror Guild Awards, and Shirley Jackson Awards for my editing. I was the recipient of the 2007 Karl Edward Wagner Award and recently honored with the Life Achievement Award given by the Horror Writers Association.
The business of publishing is rapidly changing. It’s always been hard to sell non-themed anthologies, but in today’s publishing climate, it’s especially difficult. This project is close to my heart, which is why I’ve decided to appeal to the public through Kickstarter in order to fund it. This is an experiment. Although I’ve donated to Kickstarter projects, I’ve never been involved with one before.
Fearful Symmetries will be an unthemed anthology of about 30 original stories from both veteran talent and new voices, and will be published by ChiZine Publications. I have a stable of writers whose work I love and who I regularly publish; writers like Laird Barron, Kaaron Warren, Elizabeth Hand, Lucius Shepard, Sarah Pinborough, Jeffrey Ford, Joe. R. Lansdale, and others. And while I intend to include writers like these, I also plan to have an open reading period, something I don’t do often, to give a chance to new talent that I may not be aware of.
While I love editing themed anthologies, there’s something especially challenging and fun molding an anthology with fewer boundaries. The contributors will not be constrained by thematic chains but can write the stories they’ve always wanted to and perhaps couldn’t because there was no venue for them.
I’ve decided to partner with the Canadian publisher ChiZine because I enjoy what they publish and I love their production values and commitment to good-looking books. They also have excellent distribution, which means their books are available in most bookstores. Fearful Symmetries will be about 125,000 words, and will be released as a trade paperback and an e-book.
The money we’re asking for will go toward paying the contributors professional rates, paying an artist, graphic designer, copy editor, proofreader, production costs, publicity, and of course my feline companions and I have to eat, too.
I’m really excited about Fearful Symmetries and hope you’ll support its publication.
Risks and challenges
From Ellen Datlow:
While we can’t swear that the contributors who say they will write new stories will actually write those stories or write stories that are good enough to be chosen for the anthology, I have enough contacts in the publishing world to solicit writers or select stories of the same high quality to take their places should that be necessary.
From ChiZine Publications:
In our going-on-five years of operating, we've never had a trade paperback book delayed past its publication date. But if issues arise, we'd draw on our fifteen years of experience and piles of authors/agents/publisher friends in this field, and come up with a solution pronto!
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