Unnatural Order will feature short speculative fiction about monsters: weird and wonderful; good and evil; marvellous and misunderstood. Brought to you by CSFG Publishing and edited by Alis Franklin and Lyss Wickramasinghe, all stories will be by Australian citizen and resident authors.
There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them. —Andre Gide
The dragon on her hoard. The horror in its void. The world-spanning AI. The demon reaping souls. Too often fiction portrays the non-human as Other; as a threat to be destroyed, to be conquered… or to be “saved”, assimilated back into the teeming throngs of humanity.
Not this time. This time, it’s the non-humans’ turn. What is life like, to be imperfect. To observe humanity from without? What does it mean to be seen as horrific, to be rejected… and to overcome that? Or embrace it? And what does our love of these stories tell us can we, as human readers, learn from that about ourselves?
Unnatural Order is an anthology for strange days and grotesque beauty, as the monstrous seeps out from the dark, and makes the light its own. Open for submissions until 31 October, we plan to launch the anthology at WorldCon 2020, CoNZealand.
Where does the money go?
CSFG Publishing is the book witchcraft arm of the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild, an organisation supporting writers of fantasy, science fiction and horror in Canberra and beyond. Since 2001, CSFG Publishing has produced ten anthologies, all edited by members and featuring members and other writers. Stories from these anthologies have variously won and been shortlisted for awards, reprinted in Year’s Bests, and received honourable mentions from Ellen Datlow.
CSFG Publishing produces its anthologies to spotlight Canberran and Australian speculative fiction, as well as to provide members and associates with valuable experiences in writing, editing and publishing. As a not-for-profit, volunteer-run organisation, CSFG Publishing offers token payments to its authors and editors, but we want to do more.
That’s where you come in! By preordering Unnatural Order (and the other monstrous delights on offer), you’ll be helping pay our authors more. Our initial goal will allow us to pay AUD$0.02 per word, and hitting our stretch goals could take us all the way to SFWA-qualifying rates of US$0.08 (approx. AUD$0.11) per word. Additional funding would also allow us to pay the editors, contract professional services such as copy-editing and cover design, and commission internal illustrations.
First and foremost, the book! All ebooks are available in EPUB and MOBI formats.
If you prefer print, choose between paperback and limited edition hardback versions. That’s right, the hardcover edition with gorgeous cover art by Clockbirds will only be available to Kickstarter backers.
If you’d like more CSFG works, Unnatural Order is also available in discounted bundles with previous anthologies.
For art and craft lovers, there are enamel pins of our robot mascot Ai, electronic drawings of the monster of your choice (in a similar style to our mascots Ai and Leelee) by editor Alis Franklin, or creepily adorable handmade plushie tentacle beast made by Alis’ amazing mum.
Writers can opt for a short story critique by Alis, Lyss or Hand of Knaves editor Leife Shallcross. No, it doesn’t have to be a monster story! Editor will be selected by best fit.
If you want to make a Nessie-sized splash, there’s a small or large hamper to choose from, both containing exclusive goodies, or you could even take tea with the team. We’re pretty fun people, if we do say so ourselves.
Raising $4000 will allow us to increase author payments to AUD$0.04/word. Plus every backer will receive an electronic copy of two stories by renowned Canberra-based horror writer Kaaron Warren: “State of Oblivion” and “Woman Train”.
At $10,000, authors will get AUD$0.06/word, the editors will be paid, and we’ll be able to pay our professional copy-editor. And you’ll get a backer-exclusive blog post by the editors about their favourite monsters.
With $15,000, we can pay our authors AUD$0.11/word (US$0.08/word, or SWFA-qualifying rates), as well as pay the editors, professional copy-editor, and cover designer. And we’ll release another monster mascot to delight the world.
… And more to come!
About the team
The monsters I thought about are those that don't fit in - those who think differently from the majority, the people of exception, outsiders. I wish that society would place more importance and value on these kinds of monsters. —Rei Kawakubo
Alis Franklin (editor) is a chronic fangirl, author of queer speculative fiction, and occasional artist. Her novels include Liesmith, Stormbringer, and other works featuring monsters, video games, Norse mythology, and feathered dinosaurs. In her spare time, she runs a fandom-community Mastodon instance, fandom.ink.
Alyssa ‘Lyss’ Wickramasinghe (editor) is Monstrous-Trash, an editor of speculative fiction, and 2019 judge for the Norma K. Hemming Award. She has worked as a freelance editor for many independent publishers, including Odyssey books and IFWG Publishing. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Creative Writing from the University of Wollongong, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Editing and Publishing from the University of Technology Sydney. A coloured hair enthusiast, she can be found on Twitter as @slushrottweiler.
Rivqa Rafael (publicity manager) writes speculative fiction about queer women, Jewish women, cyborg futures, and hope in dystopias. Her short stories have been published in GlitterShip, Escape Pod, Crossed Genres’ Resist Fascism, and elsewhere, and she recently co-edited award-winning feminist robot anthology Mother of Invention. She tweets as @enoughsnark.
Risks and challenges
Having successfully produced ten anthologies, CSFG Publishing has an excellent track record in delivering on its projects. The team has experience in all aspects of publishing, from crowdfunding to proofreading. With an earmarked budget for the anthology, the project will go ahead regardless of successful Kickstarter funding. However, as outlined above, a successful campaign will add a monstrous amount of value.
We have a tight timeline planned, and delays outside of our control are always a possibility. We will provide regular updates about our progress, including timely dispatches about any snags along the way. We’re confident that with our expertise, the backing of the CSFG, and your help, we can bring this beast to life.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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