In 2012, UFO Publishing released the first Unidentified Funny Objects anthology, and we did it with the help of Kickstarter and generous support of science fiction fans everywhere.
We believed there aren't enough humorous short stories being published, and that there are plenty of readers who would enjoy a collection of such stories. There was nothing out there that filled this exact niche in the SF/F publishing world. So we created UFO and collected a great bunch of stories.
We'd like to do it again.
In fact, we hope that UFO will become an annual anthology, like Triangulation or Sword & Sorceress. But it's best to take one step at a time, so the goal now is to fund and create an awesome volume 2!
We had several ambitious goals in creating the original project that also apply to the 2013 volume:
* Create an awesome collection of funny SF/F - Since its release in December 2012, UFO has received a lot of praise from critics and fans alike. There are some very nice things being said about this book on Amazon and Goodreads. It has been reviewed at Locus Online, Tangent, and mentioned in Analog magazine.
Our team worked very hard to select the best stories out of nearly 1000 submissions and we'd love an opportunity to do that again this year.
* Create a professional venue for humor genre fiction - There isn't as much humorous SF/F being published as we'd like. Sure, there's an occasional short story and some great novels out there, but UFO remains, to our knowledge, the only collection of its kind published in the 21st century.
UFO collected 29 stories totaling more than 80,000 words. In addition, we used some of the funds raised last year to publish six additional stories on our website, which are available to read for free. All those authors were paid professional rates.
Although some magazines and anthologies can take months to read their submissions, we responded to most submissions in under a week and kept authors constantly updated as to the status of what's going on with their story. UFO1 features stories from award-winning authors as well as stories from up-and-comers. Except for a few invited headliners, all open submissions were read blind by associate editors -- so an author's publishing history or lack thereof did not influence our decisions. We very much like the meritocracy of this process and plan to continue using it this year.
The volumes of the stories we can buy this time around will partially depend on the how much money we can raise. Last year's campaign exceeded its goal by $1000 and this allowed us to buy extra content for the web site and have it available for everyone to read for free. We'd love to continue posting a free monthly story at ufopub.com in addition to releasing the book.
Check out a couple of samples:
The Alien Invasion As Seen in the Twitter Stream of @Dweebless by Jake Kerr was published in UFO1, but we also had a great time encoding it to look like an actual Twitter stream and posting it online.
Morte Cuisine by Kara Dalkey was originally published on the UFO web site thanks to the funding from the last year's campaign. This is the sort of thing we hope to do more of.
* Involve great headliners - We want to include stories from some of the speculative writers best known for their humorous short stories and novels. We had some excellent headliners last year (and some of them are back in 2013) but plan to feature stories from even more awesome authors whose names you probably recognize this time around.
So far we already have three stories accepted into the book:
Hannibal's Elephants by Robert Silverberg
Robert Silverberg is a multiple winner of Hugo and Nebula Awards, a member of the Science Fiction Hall of Fame and a Grand Master of SF. His 9000-word novelette Hannibal's Elephants is about an alien invasion of NYC's Central Park. (How appropriate for a UFO book!)
On Safari by Mike Resnick
Mike Resnick is the most award-winning science fiction writer in the genre's history and an editor of many great anthologies. He recently teamed up with Arc Manor Publishing to launch Mike Resnick's Galaxy's Edge Magazine, which is available to be read online. His 5000-word short story On Safari is about a wildlife sightseeing excursion on an alien planet, gone wrong.
The MSG Golem by Ken Liu
Ken Liu was the first writer in history to win the Hugo, the Nebula and the World Fantasy awards in the same year, in 2012, and he is already on the Nebula ballot in multiple categories in 2013. Ken's stories regularly appear in Best Of anthologies and he's been published in just about every major SF/F magazine. In The MSG Golem (6000 words), God reaches out to a young Chinese girl and instructs her to build a golem in order to hunt down the rats plaguing an interstellar cruise ship.
Stories from Mr. Resnick and Mr. Silverberg are reprints, but they're obscure enough that most readers won't be familiar with them. All other stories in UFO2 will be originals.
Other headliners who agreed to contribute stories to UFO2 include:
Hugo and Nebula award winner and renowned author of humorous science fiction & fantasy, Friesner is the author of approximately 40 novels and the editor of many anthologies.
Hugo award winner and a nominee for Nebula, Stoker and Sturgeon awards, Pratt is the author of a dozen novels (including the popular Marla Mason series) and many short stories.
Jody Lynn Nye
Author of approximately 40 novels, Nye is well known for her humorous writing. She collaborated with Robert Asprin on many of the Myth Adventures books, wrote a number of other collaborations, as well as many novels on her own. She teaches an annual writing workshop at DragonCon.
Jim C. Hines
Winner of the Writers of the Future contest and the Best Fan Writer Hugo Award, Jim C. Hines is the author of 11 novels, including the very funny Goblin Quest series of books.
We hope to make a couple more headliner announcements this month.
The money raised in this campaign will be used to pay all writers professional rates, commission cover art, pay for quality copy-editing, book design and printing. Those who have seen UFO1 generally agree that the book looks like it was produced by a major publisher and we don't want to ever compromise on quality.
If we're able to exceed our funding goal, we will invest the extra money into purchasing additional content for our web site (optimally to continue publishing one story every month), spend some money on advertising with e-zines who can also use the money (for UFO1 we bought an ad at Clarkesworld Magazine), and otherwise look for ways to make the book more awesome (interior illustrations? More stories? Sky's the limit!)
How can you help?
Anything you can contribute to this campaign is greatly appreciated. The editors are donating their time to the project and are not getting paid. All funds collected will be invested into the book.
Not everyone has money to spare and we appreciate that. Another way you can help is by spreading the word about this project on social media, your blog, and elsewhere.
If you're an artist, cartoonist, or graphics designer who would like to help us with cover design or interior illustration, please reach out and show us your portfolio.
Risks and challenges
Just like with the first volume, UFO Publishing is committed to releasing this book. If we fail to raise the funds in this campaign, it will be a thinner book and we'll have less to spend on cover art, copy-editing, etc. -- but this book will happen.
All the rewards have been designed to revolve around the book. We're not spending your money to print t-shirts and posters. We want to give you copies of the books and the best reading experience we can.
Perhaps the greatest challenge we faced in producing UFO1 was deadlines. We released the book almost 2 months later than anticipated. The delay was partly due to the learning curve (as this was our first book) and partly due to Hurricane Sandy hitting the areas where both the editor and the designer of the book live.
For UFO2 we are shooting for a September release, and although there is a possibility it will take a bit longer, we hope that our track record in fulfilling all of our backer obligations from the previous Kickstarter campaign will help make you feel confident about our ability to produce this book as promised.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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