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From Hollywood to Santa Cruz to Tahoe, Strange California brings to life tales inspired by the complex mythologies of California.
From Hollywood to Santa Cruz to Tahoe, Strange California brings to life tales inspired by the complex mythologies of California.
From Hollywood to Santa Cruz to Tahoe, Strange California brings to life tales inspired by the complex mythologies of California.
360 backers pledged $15,646 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Strange California: A Speculative Fiction Anthology

$15,646

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Weirdness exists and is perceptible because it deforms our familiar reality. Strangeness, on the other hand, suggests a more lasting difference: that reality in the strange place has always been like that, and it is you who are out of place. This combination of distance from existing societies and the quest for (often commercial) dreams is far from isolated in California’s history; it could even to be said to be the modern state’s defining story.

"The history of California after 1849 is thus the story of one migrant group after another, each animated by the belief that this was the one place they could achieve their dreams.The outcome of this process is a society which is tremendously mixed in invisible ways: a place where everyone goes to the same grocery store, but a chance inquiry might reveal that your neighbor is a miniature train fanatic, or an Andean priest, or an ancient god washed up from the oceanic deeps and waiting tables while preparing for either a triumphant return to Olympus or a speaking role in a film, whichever comes first. A place where the polite way to behave is to treat that god just like anybody else; after all, you yourself might be a roboticist, a member of an ancient secret society, or both. Who’s to say you aren’t as fictional as they are?"     (from the introduction to Strange California by Yonatan Zunger)

 

“This anthology developed out of our love for the complexity and diversity of the state--features reflected in both the landscape and the people that inhabit them,” said Jaym Gates and J. Daniel Batt, the editors of Strange California. "California sprawls across a multitude of landscapes and has amassed a history full of the strange and unusual. There are secrets in the desert. Secrets in the cities. Strange and unusual happenings in the odd, dark places of the coastal state."

Strange California is 26 tales of strangeness, lavishly illustrated, that will pull you into another world, a world where migrant girls stand up to witches who live in orange groves, where trickster magpies try to steal souls from Russian sisters in the early days of Fort Bragg, where water is both currency and predator, and Gold Rush-era ghosts wander the streets of San Francisco alongside panther ladies.  

Jaym Gates is an editor, author, and public relations specialist. She has edited a number of anthologies, including Eclipse Phase: After the Fall, Genius Loci, War Stories, Broken Time Blues, and more, and is an editor at Falstaff Books. She grew up in the foothills of California, where things get strange indeed.  

J. Daniel Batt is a writer, teacher, designer, artist, creator of communities, listener, and explorer. He serves as the Creative and Editorial Director for the 100 Year Starship and is the founder and organizer of the annual Canopus Award for Excellence in Interstellar Writing. His novels include Young Gods and Dreamside and his short fiction has appeared in Perihelion, Bastion, Bewildering Stories, A Story Goes On, and other periodicals. He’s most recently edited the science fiction anthology Visions of the Future published through Lifeboat Foundation. He lives in California, where he has had firsthand experience with its weirdness.

 

 

 

 

Here's a complete list of authors:

Here's a small selection of our authors:

 

The Ebook: Non-DRM copies of the ebook in pdf, mobi, and epub format.

The Physical Book: All 110,000 words, in physical form. This one's a beast, and Jason is designing it to be a work of art--illustrated title pages, gorgeous layout, and custom titles make this book a unique addition to your shelf, or a beautiful gift for someone else. (Please note: deluxe trade paperback. Images are mock-ups only and the book's cover will be Galen Dara's original art.)

The Sketchbook: We've gathered inspiration from a lot of places, and it's a shame to let that go to waste. The Sketchbook will collect our research, notes, and musings, in the form of photos, sketches, and prose. Some of the backer updates will be included in here as well. 

The Tea: Tea Noir is one of my favorite tea-makers on Earth. Kate does beautiful, nuanced, unusual blends. For the Custom California blends, you'll have exclusive access to something we're brewing up just for you. You'll receive the stated amount of tea with a beautiful label and brewing instructions. (We will make sure the tea is available for at least a year after the Kickstarter ends, and if there's enough demand, longer.)

The Art: Galen and Jason will be creating art and design just for this project. We'll be making special prints of this art available to the backers that won't be available anywhere else. 

The Tuckerizations: You get to pick an author who will use the name of your choice in their story. This name can be yours, or the name of someone you want to commemorate in a special way. Please note that some of the stories are historical, so we will work with you to make the names era-appropriate. 

The Special Editions: Hand-bound stories? Special editions of the Sketchbook? Yes indeed. Jason and I will be writing personalized, customized stories set in the region and era of your choice, if you back at this level. These stories and the Sketchbook will be hand-bound by Ann Lemay, a journal-maker and am accomplished video game writer.

(Please note: this is a sample only. The final book will be a gorgeous deluxe trade paperback with illustrated TOC, chapter headings, and interior artwork. The cover will be Galen Dara's amazing original art.)

 

Mount Tamalpais ($17,000): We will work with TEA NOIR to create a SECOND special blend of tea inspired by California’s famous coastline. Each backer from San Jose and up will receive one ounce of this custom blend. 

Pyramid Peak ($19,000): At the top of Pyramid, we’ll include two new black and white art pieces in the book.   

Lassen Peak ($22,000): Nichole Chilelli, makeup artist extraordinaire and winner of SyFy's Face-Off competition, will create a one-of-a-kind monster creation from one of the stories of Strange California. We'll provide digital and print art pieces of her creation to include in the stretch goal backers physical books.  

Telescope Peak ($23,000): The authors are the ones who make this all possible, and when we summit Telescope Peak, we’ll be able to pay the authors even more! Author pay will be boosted from 7c per word to 8c per word.  

Mount Darwin ($26,000): At the top of Mount Darwin, we’ll evolve a new form. We will upgrade the physical book to a hardcover. These upgrades will be a Kickstarter Exclusive, and not available even to pre-orders. (You will have the option of hardcover or the trade paperback.) 

Mount Shasta ($27,000): We’ll include two new stories in the anthology. Authors will be announced when we reach Mount Darwin.  

Mount Whitney: ($42,000): We’ll do a second volume of Strange California stories! The second book will be about 40,000 words, and the physical book will be an extremely limited edition, available only to backers.

 

 

 

 

 Falstaff Books is a digital and print publishing company based in Charlotte, NC dedicated to bringing to life the best in fantasy, science fiction, horror, mystery, and dramatic literature. We love bringing amazing stories to light and giving incredible writers a voice. The battered, ignored, rejected “misfit toys” of fiction are all welcome at Falstaff Books, where we understand that every scar is a story and only with different voices can harmony be created. Founded in January 2016 by three experienced professionals in the publishing field, self-publisher and small press author John G. Hartness, editor and anthologist Jaym Gates, and author and editor Jay Requard, Falstaff quickly became known for its activism and support of writers, readers, and the greater creative community publishing three anthologies, including the WeAreNotThis – Carolina Writers for Equality, and a number of wide-ranging genre novels in its first year.

 

Risks and challenges

Between us, Jason and I have edited over fifteen anthologies, as well as numerous other projects. We have a combination of skills that allow us to address almost any problem, as well as a wonderful support network. I have a history of successful Kickstarters.

However, all that experience means we know exactly how many problems can arise!

What if a story doesn't get turned in on time? We have over half the stories already in-hand, with initial edits. The rest are under contract from authors we've worked with extensively in the past. We know our people, and the quality they produce.

What if we run into production problems? We're handling every step of this project ourselves, from editing to layout to art direction. We both have credits to our name for all of the necessary steps, and are familiar with the timelines and steps necessary to succeed.

What if we run into budget problems? Well, we specifically focused this campaign on producing the best possible product for you, while also ensuring that our creators get industry-leading pay. We're doing this by minimizing the number of tchotchkes we're offering in favor of providing a beautiful, high-quality book, with a few relevant rewards. This is certainly not cheap to produce, but we've streamlined shipping and production costs to focus on the star of the show, and have budgeted very carefully to make sure we can provide what we promise.

What happens if shipping costs go up? Man, I've been there. I still have nightmares about the last time that happened, but hey, if it happens, we'll make it work so you get your book!

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    Angel's Camp

    Like any small town, every contribution makes a difference. We couldn’t do it without you. You’ll receive access to all backer updates, and gain access to the pre-orders and add-ons after the Kickstarter closes.

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    Oakland

    The frontier between the Old Bay and the creeping borders of Silicon Valley, Oakland’s vibrant culture and immigrant communities help make the Bay Area what it is. Backers at this level will receive access to the backer updates and the ebook, and gain access to the pre-orders and add-ons after the Kickstarter closes.

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    The heartland of California, Sacramento is an artery essential to its riches flowing inward to the rest of the country. At this level, you’ll receive the goods: the physical book and the ebook.

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    Half Moon Bay

    Beautiful and remote, Half Moon Bay is a favorite of adventurers of all sorts. Backers at this level will receive a fully-digital package of the ebook, a certificate for 2oz of Tea Noir's California Blend, and five digital art prints, perfect for loading up to head offline for a weekend, or for gifting.

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    Tahoe

    That giant gem of the high Sierras, Tahoe’s beauty is unforgettable. Backers at this level receive the ebook and the print book, 1/2 oz of Tea Noir's custom California Blend, plus five digital art prints.

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    Anaheim

    Theme parks, comic cons and sports teams, Anaheim is all about a good time. At this level, we're giving you double the goods--two ebooks, two physical books, two 1/2oz packages of tea, and a personalized gift note to the person of your choice.

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    San Francisco

    Perhaps California’s most famous city, San Francisco blends the old and new, the beautiful and the commercial, the wealthiest and the poorest. The backers at this level will receive a mix of rewards: the ebook, the physical book, the digital artwork, 1 oz of Tea Noir's custom California Blend, and a digital copy of the Sketchbook.

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    Palo Alto

    The heart of Silicon Valley, and where many of its most transformative ideas are born, Palo Alto is one of the most exclusive, driven cities in America. Backers at this level will receive backer updates, the ebook and the book, and the critique of one short story or query letter (up to 6000 words for the story, 2000 for the query) from one of the authors or editors.

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    Hollywood--Rodeo Dr.

    Armel Dagorn Tuckerization!

    There’s no business like show business, and the heart of show business is Hollywood. Backers at this level will be given the choice to have their name or a name of their choosing included in Armel Dagorn's story, as well as receive the ebook, a physical copy of the book, 1oz of Tea Noir's custom California tea blend, and the digital art prints. (Editorial discretion will be applied.)

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    Hollywood--Melrose Ave.

    Natania Barron Tuckerization!

    There’s no business like show business, and the heart of show business is Hollywood. Backers at this level will be given the choice to have their name or a name of their choosing included in Natania Barron's story, as well as receive the ebook, a physical copy of the book, 1oz of Tea Noir's custom California tea blend, and the digital art prints. (Editorial discretion will be applied.)

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    Tim Pratt Tuckerization!

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    Hollywood--Sunset Blvd.

    Nick Mamatas Tuckerization!

    There’s no business like show business, and the heart of show business is Hollywood. Backers at this level will be given the choice to have their name or a name of their choosing included in Nick Mamatas' story, as well as receive the ebook, a physical copy of the book, 1oz of Tea Noir's custom California tea blend, and the digital art prints. (Editorial discretion will be applied.)

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    Christie Yant Tuckerization!

    There’s no business like show business, and the heart of show business is Hollywood. Backers at this level will be given the choice to have their name or a name of their choosing included in one of the anthology’s stories, as well as receive the ebook, a physical copy of the book, and the digital art prints. (Editorial discretion will be applied.)

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    San Diego

    Half military town, half surfer-haven, San Diego is graced with mild weather and a vibrant culture. Backers at this level will receive all of the rewards: the backer updates, the ebook and physical book, the digital art prints, three physical prints, 1oz of Tea Noir's custom California tea blend, and a hand-bound copy of the Sketchbook. The physical book and the Sketchbook will be personalized and signed by the editors, and will have a bookplate signed by the contributors.

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    Los Angeles

    The City of Angels, Los Angeles’ sprawling arms encircle most of Southern California’s urbanization, in all its extremes. The backers at this level will receive all of the rewards: the backer updates, the ebook and physical book, the digital art prints, three physical prints, the hand-bound Sketchbook, 2oz of Tea Noir's custom California tea blend, and a custom short story written by J. Daniel Batt OR Jaym Gates, set in the city of your choice and featuring up to three characters of your choice. Two copies of this story will be produced as hand-bound booklets and personalized to you or the person of your choice. (Editorial discretion will be applied. Details will be worked out with the backers when the Kickstarter closes.)

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Funding period

- (30 days)