About this project
Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling is an anthology of short stories and poems that highlights the long-standing tradition of writers who identify tropes and cliches in science fiction, fantasy, and horror and twist them into something new and interesting.
This anthology, which is edited by Monica Valentinelli and Jaym Gates, collects dozens of contributions from Apex authors such as Maurice Broaddus, Haralambi Markov, and Sara Harvey in addition to writers like Anton Strout, John Hornor Jacobs, Delilah Dawson, Rahul Kanakia, Sunil Patel, Kat Richardson, Nisi Shawl, Michael Underwood, Alyssa Wong, and many other fine storytellers.
Each author was asked to identify which unique trope they wished to smash, bend, and flip upside down as the theme for their story. The specifics of how these tropes were flipped was left to the discretion of the author. For example, some writers used humor to tell their stories, while others took a more serious approach. The tropes were also addressed in various ways. Some authors decided to literally turn their tropes upside down, while a few pursued a subtler means of introducing them.
Tropes and cliches our authors examined for Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling include:
- Chainmaille Bikini
- The Magical Negro
- The Super Soldier
- The Chosen One
- Guys Smash, Girls Shoot
- Love at First Sight
- Damsels in Distress
- Heroine Loves a Bad Man
- Yellow Peril
- The Black Man Dies First
- The Villain Had a Crappy Childhood
- The City Planet
- Prostitute with a Heart of Gold
- The Singularity Will Cause the Apocalypse
- First Period Panic
- Girlfriend in the Refrigerator
- Retired Pro's "Last" Job
- ...and many more!
With your help, not only we will be able to cover the costs for this anthology, we'll be able to explore additional ways to enhance its contents and further reward our contributors for their hard work.
The anthology was conceptualized by Monica Valentinelli, and was produced in conjunction with co-editor Jaym Gates for Apex Book Company.
Jaym Gates is an editor, author, and communications manager. She’s the editor of the Rigor Amortis, War Stories, Exalted, and Genius Loci anthologies, as well as a published author in fiction, academic nonfiction, and RPGs.
Monica Valentinelli is an editor, writer, and game developer who lurks in the dark. Her projects include stories, games, essays, and comics for her original works and media/tie-in properties such as Firefly and Vampire: the Masquerade. Her new book The Gorramn Shiniest Dictionary and Language Guide in the ‘Verse will debut from Titan Books in April 2016. She is also editing the Vampire: the Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition Dark Ages anthology which will debut August 2016. For more about Monica, visit www.mlvwrites.com.
Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling is a collection of speculative fiction. Our storytellers include:
Maurice Broaddus’ fiction has been published in numerous venues, including Asimov's Science Fiction, Cemetery Dance, Apex Magazine, and Weird Tales Magazine. He co-edited Streets of Shadows (Alliteration Ink) and the Dark Faith anthology series (Apex Books). He authored the urban fantasy trilogy, Knights of Breton Court (Angry Robot Books). Learn more about him at www.MauriceBroaddus.com.
Adam-Troy Castro's 26 books to date (with more contracted and imminent) include three novels about his profoundly damaged far-future murder investigator Andrea Cort, four novels tie-in novels about Spider-Man, and six novels detailing the adventures of that very strange boy raised by shadows, Gustav Gloom. The concluding volume of that series is GUSTAV GLOOM AND THE INN OF SHADOWS, due out in August 2016. Adam's fiction has won the Philip K. Dick and Seiun awards, and been nominated eight times for the Nebula, three times for the Stoker, and twice for the Hugo. Adam lives in Boynton Beach, Florida, with his wife Judi and a rotating selection of insane cats.
Delilah S. Dawson is the award-winning author of Hit, Strike, Servants of the Storm, the Blud series, Star Wars: The Perfect Weapon, a variety of short stories and comics, and Wake of Vultures, written as Lila Bowen. She teaches writing classes online with LitReactor and lives in the north Georgia mountains with her family. Find her online at www.whimsydark.com.
Shanna Germain claims the titles of writer, editor, leximaven, and Schrodinger's brat. She is the co-owner and creative director of Monte Cook Games, the author of myriad books and short stories, and the lead designer of the family RPG, No Thank You, Evil! Her most recent works include Bound by Lust, The Lure of Dangerous Women, and As Kinky As You Wanna Be. Find her online at www.shannagermain.com.
Sara M. Harvey lives and writes fantasy and horror in (and sometimes about) Nashville, TN. She is also a costume historian, theatrical costume designer, and art history teacher. She has three spoiled rotten dogs and one awesome daughter; her husband falls somewhere in between. She tweets @saraphina_marie, wastes too much time on facebook.com/saramharvey, and needs to update her website saramharvey.com.
John Hornor Jacobs is the award-winning author of Southern Gods, This Dark Earth, the young adult Incarcerado series, and the critically acclaimed fantasy series, The Incorruptibles and Foreign Devils. Jacobs resides in the American South and spends his free time when not working on his next book thinking about working on his next book. Learn more about him at johnhornorjacobs.com or follow him on Twitter at @johnhornor.
Rahul Kanakia’s first book, a contemporary young adult novel entitled Enter Title Here is coming out from Disney-Hyperion in August 2016. Additionally, he has stories appearing or forthcoming in Clarkesworld, The Indiana Review, Apex Book Company, and Nature. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins, and a B.A. in Economics from Stanford, and used to work in the field of international development. Currently, he lives in Oakland, CA and makes his living as a freelance writer and content creation consultant. If you want to know more about him then please visit his blog at www.blotter-paper.com or follow him on Twitter at @rahkan.
Alethea Kontis is a princess, author, fairy godmother, and geek. Her bestselling Books of Arilland fairytale series won two Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Awards (Enchanted and Tales of Arilland), and was twice nominated for the Andre Norton Award. Alethea also penned the AlphaOops picture books, The Wonderland Alphabet, Diary of a Mad Scientist Garden Gnome, Beauty & Dynamite, The Dark-Hunter Companion (w/Sherrilyn Kenyon), and a myriad of poems, essays, and short stories. Princess Alethea lives and writes on the Space Coast of Florida with her teddy bear, Charlie. You can find her on her YouTube channel, all the social media, and at www.aletheakontis.com.
Valya Dudycz Lupescu is the author of The Silence of Trees (Wolfsword Press) and founding editor of Conclave: A Journal of Character. Valya earned her MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and her poetry and prose have been published in literary and genre magazines that include The Kenyon Review, Strange Horizons, Mythic Delirium, Gone Lawn, Scheherezade's Bequest, and Abyss & Apex. Co-written with Stephen H. Segal, her newest book, Geek Parenting: What Joffrey, Jor-El, Maleficent, and the McFlys Teach Us about Raising a Family will be out with Quirk Books in April 2016. Valya currently teaches at DePaul University in Chicago.
Haralambi Markov is a Bulgarian critic, editor, and writer of things weird and fantastic. A Clarion 2014 graduate, Markov enjoys fairy tales, obscure folkloric monsters, and inventing death rituals (for his stories, not his neighbors…usually). He blogs at The Alternative Typewriter and tweets at @HaralambiMarkov. His stories have appeared in Geek Love, Electric Velocipede, TOR.com, Stories for Chip, The Apex Book of World SF and are slated to appear in Genius Loci and Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling. He’s currently working on a novel.
Sunil Patel is a Bay Area fiction writer and playwright who has written about everything from ghostly cows to talking beer. His plays have been performed at San Francisco Theater Pub and San Francisco Olympians Festival, and his fiction has appeared in Fireside Magazine, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, Flash Fiction Online, The Book Smugglers, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, Asimov’s Science Fiction, and Galaxy's Edge, among others. Plus he reviews books for Lightspeed and he is Assistant Editor of Mothership Zeta. His favorite things to consume include nachos, milkshakes, and narrative. Find out more at ghostwritingcow.com, where you can watch his plays, or follow him @ghostwritingcow. His Twitter has been described as “engaging,” “exclamatory,” and “crispy, crunchy, peanut buttery.”
Kat Richardson is the bestselling author of the Greywalker novels, as well as a small tantrum of short fantasy, science fiction, and mystery stories. She is an accomplished feeder of crows. Find her at katrichardson.com and greywalker.com.
Nisi Shawl’s story collection Filter House co-won the James Tiptree, Jr. Award. She was a Guest of Honor for WisCon 35 in 2011 and for SFRA in 2014. Shawl coauthored Writing the Other: A Practical Approach; edits reviews for the literary quarterly Cascadia Subduction Zone; and co-edited Strange Matings: Science Fiction, Feminism, African American Voices, and Octavia E. Butler. And “Stories for Chip: A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany” also appeared in 2015. Shawl’s Belgian Congo steampunk novel “Everfair” is forthcoming from Tor. She serves on the boards of Clarion West and The Carl Brandon Society. She’s fairly active on Twitter and Facebook, and promises to update her homepage soon.
Ferrett Steinmetz's debut urban fantasy FLEX (and its sequel THE FLUX) features a bureaucracy-obsessed magician who is in love with the DMV, a goth videogamemancer who tries not to go all Grand Theft Auto on people, and one of the weirder magic systems yet devised. He was nominated for the Nebula in 2012, for which he remains moderately stoked, and lives in Cleveland with his very clever wife, a small black dog of indeterminate origin, and a friendly ghost. He Tweeters at @ferretthimself, and blogs entirely too much about puns, politics, and polyamory at www.theferrett.com. (Or, if your work has blocked his site, try it mirrored at theferrett.livejournal.com.)
Anton Strout was born in the Berkshire Hills mere miles from writing heavyweights Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville and currently lives in the haunted corn maze that is New Jersey (where nothing paranormal ever really happens, he assures you). He is the author of the Simon Canderous urban fantasy detective series and The Spellmason Chronicles for Ace Books, a division of Penguin Random House. Anton is also the scribbler of short, mad tales published in a variety of anthologies. The Once & Future Podcast is his latest project, where he endeavors as Curator of Content to bring authors to listener's ear holes one damned episode at a time. In his scant spare time, his is a writer, a sometimes actor, sometimes musician, occasional RPGer, and the worlds most casual and controller smashing video gamer. He currently works in the exciting world of publishing and yes, it is as glamorous as it sounds.
Michael R. Underwood is the author of several novels and novellas, including the Ree Reyes comedic urban fantasies (GEEKOMANCY, CELEBROMANCY) and the forthcoming science fiction series in novellas GENRENAUTS. By day, he’s the North American Sales & Marketing Manager for Angry Robot Books. Mike lives in Baltimore with his fiancé and an ever-growing library. He is a co-host on the Hugo-nominated Skiffy and Fanty Show.
Alyssa Wong is a Nebula-, Shirley Jackson-, Bram Stoker-, and World Fantasy Award-nominated author, shark aficionado, and 2013 graduate of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop. Her work has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Strange Horizons, Tor.com, Uncanny Magazine, Lightspeed Magazine, Nightmare Magazine, and Black Static, among others. She is an MFA candidate at North Carolina State University and a member of the Manhattan-based writing group Altered Fluid. She can be found on Twitter as @crashwong, and her website is www.crashwong.net.
...and many more! We hope to announce additional authors during the Kickstarter.
The introduction for Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling will be provided by Geoffrey Girard.
Geoffrey Girard first appeared in WRITERS OF THE FUTURE in 2003 and has since sold 60-plus speculative stories and several books, including the Stoker-nominated PROJECT CAIN, published by Simon & Schuster. He has a BA in Literature, an MA in Creative Writing, and is currently working on an MFA in creative nonfiction. When not writing, he is the Dept. Chair of English at a private high school in Ohio.
Our cover art was beautifully illustrated by Galen Dara. This art has been used for our Kickstarter video and promotional materials, as well as the cover for this anthology.
Galen Dara likes monsters, mystics, and dead things. She has created art for Uncanny Magazine, 47North publishing, Skyscape Publishing, Fantasy Flight Games, Tyche Books, Fireside Magazine, Lightpseed, Lackington’s, and Resurrection House. She has been nominated for the Hugo, the World Fantasy Award, and the Chesley Award. When Galen is not working on a project you can find her on the edge of the Sonoran Desert, climbing mountains and hanging out with a friendly conglomeration of human and animal companions. Her website is www.galendara.com plus you can find her on Facebook and Twitter @galendara.
The video for this Kickstarter was produced by John Hornor Jacobs, using Galen Dara's cover art, and additional graphics support was provided by Meredith Gerber.
The volunteer narrator for our video was author Dan O’Shea, whose voice may also be heard on The Twelve-Fingered Boy book trailer. Please consider supporting Dan by checking out his books; they include Rotten at the Heart, a Shakespeare-inspired novel.
What started as a single quarterly print magazine of dark SF short stories (the well-regarded Apex Science Fiction & Horror Digest) has turned into a busy small press with over 40 titles in print and the monthly ezine Apex Magazine. Along the way, Apex has had the opportunity to publish some of the most exciting and interesting writers in speculative fiction: Brian Keene, Damien Angelica Walters, Douglas F. Warrick, Nick Mamatas, Jennifer Pelland, Lavie Tidhar, Chesya Burke, Chris Bucholz, and many, many more.
Our books and magazine have been the recipient of some of the top awards in science fiction, fantasy, and horror: the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, the Stoker Award, the World Fantasy Award, among others. In 2014, the third anthology in our international SF series, The Apex Book of World SF: Volume 3, was selected as one of NPR's top 40 books of the year.
We're seeking to raise a minimum of $10,000 to fund this anthology. While Apex Publications will produce this collection, this amount allows us to pay all of our authors a professional (SFWA) rate of $.06 per word, and our cover artist her professional rate.
Your pledge will go towards helping pay our editors, authors, and cover artist, but it will also cover graphic design, layout, copyediting, and typesetting, as well as providing copies of the physical and electronic books to backers. What we have left over will go towards fulfilling backer rewards, stretch goals, shipping costs, and incidentals such as lost shipments, increased printing fees, etc.
Our proposed stretch goals are designed to enhance the contents and presentation for Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling, as well as further reward our contributors. Should we achieve these goals, we will announce a new stretch goal that will allow us to add a second volume.
UNLOCKED!!!! $12,000: Essays & Nonfiction
To flesh out our collection, we will add essays that examine tropes from unique perspectives. Our contributors include Patrick Hester, Lucy A. Snyder, and A.C. Wise.
Patrick's essay is tentatively titled "I'm pretty sure I've read this before...The orphan kid is the hero, but if anyone has sex, they're all gonna die..." Read enough stories and you start to see the patterns and how they repeat themselves. But you still read on, because every writer puts their own spin on the golden oldies so the cliches don't feel quite so cliche, and the tropes, well - they're still the tropes, aren't they?
Lucy has pledged to write an essay for us about the Dark Tower's Detta/Odetta character, and how it relates to the gothic trope Jekyll and Hyde. And, A.C. will be exploring the differences between the hero's journey and the heroine's journey using examples like the movie Labyrinth.
Patrick Hester is an author, blogger, 2013 & 2014 Hugo Award Winner, and an all around Functional Nerd. He (mostly) writes Science Fiction and Fantasy of all shapes and sizes. He tweets too much on his Twitter stream, posts writer memes to Facebook like any good writer should, and lives in Colorado with a cat named Shadow and an impressive collection of old and out dated computer bits and bobs he can’t seem to throw away. He produces and hosts the SF Signal podcast (nominated for multiple Hugo’s and Parsec awards), the Functional Nerds podcast (also nominated for multiple Parsec awards), and for a few years, produced ‘I Should Be Writing‘, the podcast for wannabe fiction writers created/hosted by 2013 Campbell Award Winner Mur Lafferty. He writes for his website, atfmb.com, for SFSignal.com, FunctionalNerds.com and KirkusReviews.com. His fiction is out there in the aether – if you have Google-fu, you’ll find it – if you don’t have Google-fu, just click here to see a bunch of it.
Lucy A. Snyder is a four-time Bram Stoker Award-winning writer and the author of the novels Spellbent, Shotgun Sorceress, and Switchblade Goddess. She also authored the nonfiction book Shooting Yourself in the Head For Fun and Profit: A Writer's Survival Guide and the story collections While the Black Stars Burn, Soft Apocalypses, Orchid Carousals, Sparks and Shadows, and Installing Linux on a Dead Badger. She lives in Columbus, Ohio and is a mentor in Seton Hill University's MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction.You can learn more about her at www.lucysnyder.com and you can follow her on Twitter at @LucyASnyder.
A.C. Wise's fiction has appeared in publications such as Clarkesworld, Apex, Shimmer, and The Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2015, among other places. Her debut collection The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again was published by Lethe Press in October 2015. In addition to her fiction, she co-edits Unlikely Story, and contributes a monthly Women to Read: Where to Start column to SF Signal. Find her online at www.acwise.net and on twitter as @ac_wise.
UNLOCKED!!!! At $15,000 we will increase the word rate for our short story and poetry contributors from 6 cents a word to 8 cents.
UNLOCKED!!! At $20,000 we will unlock a hardcover edition with dust jacket of Upside Down: Inverted Tropes of Storytelling. This volume will also be offered to backers as a reward.
At $25,000 we will increase our editors' and cover artist's payment by 50%, and increase our essayists' word rate from 6 cents a word to 8 cents. We will also have enough funds to offer a gift to Dan O'Shea for donating his time to our Kickstarter video, and to John Hornor Jacobs for creating it.
$25,000 and Beyond???? If we achieve this level of success, we will be able to plan and announce new stretch goals for a second volume of trope-busting stories.
Please note that if we unlock a hardcover edition of Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling, we will adjust backer levels and add-ons to add more options for you.
Pledge $5 Extra: Receive a digital copy of Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling.
Pledge $10 Extra: Receive an annual digital subscription to Apex Magazine at 50% off the standard price of $19.95. Your subscription includes 12 issues.
Pledge $15 Extra: Receive a softcover copy of Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling. Shipping is an additional $5USD for U.S. backers, $20 for Canada/Mexico, and $30USD for international.
Pledge $20 Extra: Receive an annual digital subscription to Apex Magazine at 50% off the standard price of $39.95. Your subscription includes 24 issues.
Pledge $25 Extra: Receive a hardcover copy of Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling. Shipping is an additional $8USD for U.S. backers, $25 for Canada/Mexico, and $35USD for international.
Pledge $25 Extra: Receive (2) softcover copies of Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling. Shipping is an additional $8USD for U.S. backers, $30 for Canada/Mexico, and $45USD for international.
Pledge $30 Extra: Receive a digital set of Apex Magazine Issues #1 through #78. Edited by: Jason Sizemore, Catherynne M. Valente, Lynne M. Thomas, and Sigrid Ellis.
Printing & Fulfillment
The physical books will be printed by Apex Publications in accordance with their existing printer; the magazine subscription will be fulfilled by Apex Magazine, which is an arm of Apex Publications.
The eBooks will be designed and created by Apex. Their fulfillment to backers will be done in conjunction with DriveThruFiction.com, and the eBooks are offered in multiple formats and are device-agnostic.
Risks and challenges
Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling is scheduled for a Fall 2016 release, and we hope to celebrate its publication at WorldCon 2016 in Kansas City. To achieve this goal, we recently conducted an open call, and we are making our final selections for the Table of Contents. We hope to announce new authors during the Kickstarter in backer updates.
Both the costs and estimated time for fulfillment are calculated based on our previous experiences with Kickstarter, and an increase in shipping costs that occurred at the start of the year.
While we are on schedule for an August/September release, we have budgeted extra time for unforeseen circumstances related to delays in communication, production, shipping, and printing.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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