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ACROSS THE UNIVERSE: tales of Beatles that might—or never could have—been. Please help us on this magical mystery adventure. Let it be.
258 backers pledged $8,010 to help bring this project to life.

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$8,010

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What if the Beatles had never met? Would we enjoy Dave Clark Five-mania (as Spider Robinson suggested)?

What if Brian Epstein hadn’t managed the band? What if George Harrison hated sitar music? What if Ringo had been the true star of the band all along?

What if the Beatles had been aliens? Or magic users? Or zombies? Or <gasp> American?

Help us answer those questions, and many more, as we gather together some of the biggest names in speculative fiction — and some wonderful musicians — to create Across the Universe: an anthology of speculative Beatles fiction. The writers who’ve already clamored for places in the anthology will be writing a series of speculative fiction stories across the genre-verse: horror, science fiction, and fantasy. Some humor, some not.

And once the book is funded, we'll also be opening up some slots for story submissions from you! (Story submissions will be judged on their merit, not on whether or not the author supported this project.) The editors will announce guidelines and how to submit at that time.

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Spider Robinson warns of the Dave Clark Five Mania we avoided thanks to the Beatles

Spider Robinson

David Gerrold

Jonathan Maberry

Alan Goldsher

Cat Rambo

Keith DeCandido

Jody Lynn Nye

Lawrence Watt-Evans

Gail Z. Martin

with notes by Janis Ian and Nancy Holder

Why this book?  Because this is Something we've been wanting to do for a while. We sought out great writers Here, There, and Everywhere and invited them to Come Together and participate. (A few gave No Reply.) They're All Together Now excited about it, because they have a Real Love for the Beatles. There's a Place for each one. Every Little Thing is working out, because we don't want to come at this project all Helter Skelter.

With your Help, We Can Work It Out. If you contribute now, you will Get Back a wonderful book full of great stories. It'll be nothing short of a Revolution. We can't Wait! We promise it's going to be amazing. And when you get to The End, you'll say "Yes It Is."

From the editors, Michael & Randee (Two of Us)

At $6,000, the approximately 70,000-word anthology will be funded. (So that's not really a "stretch" goal.)

At $7,000, we’ll add two stories to the book. [One by a name author and one open submission slot; backing this Kickstarter campaign will not increase your odds of being chosen for the slot.]

At $8,000, we’ll add two more stories to the book. [One by a name author and one open submission slot; backing this Kickstarter campaign will not increase your odds of being chosen for the slot.]

At $10,000, we’ll add a hardcover limited edition, and a new pledge level.

At $12,000, we’ll guarantee a second book in this series, and guarantee all backers at or above the $5 level an ebook copy of that book when it becomes available.

Quick Explanation: Kickstarter doesn’t really have an intuitive way to do add-ons, and the process can be confusing, so here’s a quick explanation. To add one of the below onto your current pledge, just click on the “Manage Your Pledge” button at the top right of the page, click in the “Pledge Amount” box, and change the pledge amount to reflect the addition of the amount of the add-on you want. Example: if your current pledge amount is $10, and you want to add a $5 add-on, you would click into the “Pledge Amount” box and change the pledge amount to $15. At the end of the Kickstarter campaign, we’ll send out a questionnaire to find out what add-ons you contributed for. NOTES: all ebooks listed available in .epub, mobi, or .pdf, unless indicated. Also, we can autograph a book to whomever you want and you can order more than one copy of the same book when doing an add-on.

$5 — Add a limited edition cloisonné “Across the Universe” pin. This pin will ONLY be available to Kickstarter supporters and the contributors to the book.

$7 — Add an ebook copy of Release the Virgins, edited by Michael A. Ventrella.

$7 — Add an ebook copy of Science Fiction for the Throne, edited by Tom Easton and Judith K. Dial.

$7 — Add an ebook copy of Fantasy for the Throne, edited by Judith K. Dial and Tom Easton.

$7 — Add an ebook copy of Trafficking in Magic, Magicking in Traffic, edited by David Sklar and Sarah Avery.

$14 — Add a trade paperback copy of Release the Virgins, edited by Michael A. Ventrella.

$14 — Add a trade paperback copy of Science Fiction for the Throne, edited by Tom Easton and Judith K. Dial.

$14 — Add a trade paperback copy of Fantasy for the Throne, edited by Judith K. Dial and Tom Easton.

$14 — Add a trade paperback copy of Trafficking in Magic, Magicking in Traffic, edited by David Sklar and Sarah Avery.

$15 — Add a personally autographed full-color print of the Abbey Road in Dryer Lint art piece by Heidi Hooper

$25 — Add a personally autographed full-color print of the cover art from Dave Alvarez

Michael A. Ventrella writes humorous adventure novels like Big Stick, The Axes of Evil, and Bloodsuckers: A Vampire Runs for President. His short stories have appeared in various anthologies, including the Heroes in Hell series and the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series. He’s edited the Baker Street Irregular anthologies (with Jonathan Maberry), the Tales of Fortannis fantasy series, and Release the Virgins! As a musician, he has played in many bands that loved to do Beatles covers. His web page is michaelaventrella.com.

Randee Dawn is a Brooklyn-based veteran entertainment journalist for outlets including Variety, The Los Angeles Times, and The Today Show by day, and a speculative fiction writer by night (sometimes also by day). Her fiction has been published in magazines and anthologies including Fantasia Divinity, Where We May Wag, and Children of a Different Sky. She is the co-author of The Law & Order: SVU Unofficial Companion. More information available at randeedawn.com.

Dave Alvarez is an animator and cartoonist who has worked on films and comic books for Warner Brothers (Looney Tunes) and Disney studios, as well as his own comic strip Yenny. For more of his art, see dascomics.com.

Spider Robinson is the creator of the beloved Callahan’s Place series, and also well-known as a musician. With his wife, choreographer Jeanne Robinson, he co-wrote the Stardance trilogy. He is the winner of three Hugo Awards and one Nebula Award, as well as the Robert A. Heinlein Award for Lifetime Achievement. He was a Guest of Honor at the 2018 World Science Fiction Convention. spiderrobinson.com

David Gerrold is the winner of the Forry and Skylark awards, as well as the Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker awards, but he will probably be longest remembered as the creator of Star Trek’s tribbles in his script for the original series episode “The Trouble with Tribbles.” He also created the Sleestak race in the TV series Land of the Lost. And he is the author of the wonderfully moving “The Martian Child.” He was a Guest of Honor at the 2015 World Science Fiction Convention. gerrold.com

Jonathan Maberry is the author of V-Wars (soon to be a major series from Netflix). More generally, he is a suspense author, anthology editor, comic book writer, playwright, and teacher. His early writings focused on martial arts, before he branched out into folklore, the occult, and thrillers. He is the winner of five Bram Stoker Awards, and was nominated for nine others. jonathanmaberry.com

Lawrence Watt-Evans is the winner of the Hugo Award for “Why I Left Harry’s All-Night Hamburgers.” He was an officer for both the Horror Writers Association and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. watt-evans.com

Alan Goldsher is an author and musician. His ten novels include Paul Is Undead: The British Zombie Invasion and My Favorite Fangs: The Story of the von Trapp Family Vampires. His music journalism has appeared in Bass Player and Guitar Player, and his sportswriting has been seen in ESPN The Magazine. As a professional bassist, he has recorded with Janet Jackson, Cypress Hill, and Naughty by Nature; toured the world with Digable Planets; and performed at the 1994 Grammy Awards. alangoldsher.com

Cat Rambo is a science fiction, fantasy, and technology author. She co-edited Fantasy Magazine and Ad Astra: the SFWA 50th Anniversary Cookbook, and has been nominated for the Nebula, World Fantasy, and Compton Crook Awards. She is the president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. kittywumpus.net/blog

Keith R.A. DeCandido is an author, editor, musician, and martial artist. He has written tie-in fiction in more thirty different licensed universes from Alien to Zorro, and was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers in 2009. He also writes original fiction taking place in the made-up cities of Super City and Cliff's End as well as the somewhat real locales of New York and Key West. He's been a professional percussionist for 25 years, backing up dozens of rock, blues, and folk musicians. http://decandido.net/

 Jody Lynn Nye is the author of over 50 books and more than 160 short stories. Alongside her own work, she has collaborated with some of the best names in the SF/fantasy field, including Anne McCaffrey and Robert Asprin. She worked with Asprin on his humorous fantasy MythAdventures series, and has continued them since his death. jodynye.net

Gail Z. Martin is best known for her Chronicles of the Necromancer series. She has also written steampunk adventures, urban fantasy, mysteries and more. ascendantkingdoms.com

Nancy Holder is a writer, editor, and game designer. She is the winner of five Bram Stoker Awards and the Scribe Award. She contributed to the design of FTL Games’ Dungeon Master, writes a column for the SFWA Bulletin, and teaches writing. nancyholder.com

Janis Ian is a singer-songwriter whose most widely recognized song, “At Seventeen”, was released as a single from her 1975 album Between the Lines, which reached number 1 on the Billboard chart. She’s the winner of two Grammy Awards (out of ten nominations in eight different categories). In the 21st Century she has become a science fiction fan and author, with stories appearing in several anthologies (including Stars: Original Stories Based on the Songs of Janis Ian). janisian.com

Ian Randal Strock’s Fantastic Books has been publishing new and reprint speculative fiction since 2010. Fantastic Books authors include Grand Masters Tanith Lee and Michael Moorcock, as well as the best up-and-coming authors of today. Last year, the company ran the successful Kickstarter campaign which resulted in the publication of the anthology Release the Virgins, and previously published the short sf anthology Science Fiction for the Throne (which was the subject of our first successful Kickstarter campaign) and its sibling Fantasy for the Throne. Without consciously setting out to do so, the company specializes in single-author collections of short fiction, and is now moving into the realm of new and reprint anthologies. fantasticbooks.biz

"Abbey Road in Dryer Lint" by Heidi Hooper
"Abbey Road in Dryer Lint" by Heidi Hooper

Music has always been a big part of my life, always playing in the background, even though my complete lack of ability made eight years of piano lessons pure torture on whoever was listening. I’m better at the 101-key keyboard, which makes words rather than sounds.

As a publisher, I frequently have authors approaching me with ideas for books. Some interest me, some don’t. In a swimming pool last summer, Randee Dawn said “what about an anthology of alternate Beatles stories?” I said it might be a good idea, but she’d need to flesh out the idea before I could say yes, do it. And besides, I was in the midst of another big project (Release the Virgins). At a convention soon after, Michael Ventrella approached me with an idea: “once we’re done with Release the Virgins, how about an alternative Beatles anthology?” I couldn’t respond. I just grabbed his arm, dragged him over to Randee, and said “repeat that.”

So I put the two of them together, saying “obviously, this is an idea whose time has come. I see a synergy with your two backgrounds.” And in a very short time, it went from a “hey, this could be neat,” to this fully fleshed-out plan.

The responses they got from the authors they asked—even those who didn’t have the time to participate—were almost unanimously “what a great idea!” So we’re presenting it to you. We hope you agree that it is a great idea, that these are stories you just need to read (as soon as they’re written).  — Publisher Ian Randal Strock

Risks and challenges

The book will not be published unless it is funded through this campaign, but publisher Fantastic Books has an excellent record of producing funded projects.

The contributing authors have promised to write stories if/when the project is funded, but there is always the chance that one or more of them may be unable to do so.

The publisher reserves the right to decline to include a name (other than the real name of the person pledging).

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    Publisher Ian Randal Strock relaxes by baking, and he’s been baking his great-grandmother’s mondel bread (for those outside the family, they call it Jewish sugar cookies) since he was a child. He’ll bake you a batch of it at this level. Also, you’ll get a trade paperback copy of the book, an electronic copy of the book, the Limited Edition Cloisonne “Across the Universe” Pin, and we’ll list your support in the book.

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    Ian Randal Strock's Editorial Universe

    Publisher Ian Randal Strock offers a mentor-level manuscript read/analysis for a story (up to 15,000 words), plus a trade paperback and ebook copy of Across the Universe. Also includes a Limited Edition Cloisonne “Across the Universe” Pin, and we’ll list your support in the book.

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Funding period

- (30 days)