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A print and electronic literary annual featuring new stories, poems, and essays from established and emerging authors around the world.

[Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.]

[$10K GOAL REACHED! Thank you so much for helping make the next year of Unstuck possible! The Unstuck fiction podcast is a go; we'll plan to have the first episode ready by January 2013. More details coming soon. We will continue to raise funds through the scheduled end of the campaign. The more money we're able to bring in, the wider our distribution can be for the second issue -- so please do continue to spread the word. Here's to innovative writing -- and to our hundreds of generous backers!]

[STRETCH GOAL: Kickstart the Unstuck Podcast! Help us get to $10,000, and we'll launch a unique fiction podcast, featuring a mix of actors, comics, and authors giving dramatic readings of the stories from our journal. Every episode will feature original music. Unstuck will collaborate with another Austin nonprofit to record the podcast in a top-flight studio space. More details in the Updates section.]

[NEW BONUS REWARD! Every backer whose reward includes a print copy of Unstuck #2 will receive a handmade bookmark like the one shown on our website.]

In the atrium of the Park Vista hotel, a glass elevator rose from a fern-shrouded vestibule. Its glass rattled, and its lights—softball-sized bulbs that bordered its tinted windows—flickered. Ted Barber, who had been standing on the tenth floor, gazing into the lobby, didn’t notice the elevator until it stopped on his floor. Then he raised his head and, like a man adjusting to the material world after disappearing inside a prayer, blinked his eyes rapidly. He recognized the elevator’s sole passenger: it was his wife, Tavey Preston. She didn’t look good. Then again, she was dead.

(Excerpt from “The Ones You Want to Keep” by Matthew Vollmer, published in Unstuck #1.)

Unstuck is a nonprofit literary journal based in Austin, Texas. We emphasize short stories, poems, and even essays with elements of the fantastic, the futuristic, the surreal, or the strange.

Our first issue -- featuring new fiction from Aimee Bender, J. Robert Lennon and Amelia Gray, among many others -- was released last December. Since then, we've been reviewed or discussed in/on the New York Times, Tor, io9, Poets & Writers, Review Review, Wired, the Austin American-Statesman, the Austin ChronicleCultureMap, GalleycatBeyond the Margins, HowStuffWorks, and a bunch of awesome blogs. (You can read more about our journal's history in this web interview, and hear about it in this radio interview.)

We're currently raising funds for our second issue, which we hope to release in November. Your donations will help us cover print and distribution expenses, and will also help us pay our contributors.

Every weekday during this fund drive, we'll be adding a new author interview to our website. Visit us to learn more about our contributors and read excerpts from their stories. 

WHY WE'RE DIFFERENT

Unstuck is built around the goal of bringing together diverse groups of readers and writers. We find it frustrating that so many readers who enjoy the fantastic or futuristic work of adventurous "literary" authors like Bender, Lennon, and Jonathan Lethem haven't discovered the stories of brilliant "genre" authors like Rachel Swirsky, Leslie What and David J. Schwartz. And vice versa: we're sure that many fans of smart, ambitious genre writing are missing out on a number of authors who should be among their favorites.

We aren't really interested in labels -- in deciding whether a particular piece is "science fiction" or "speculative fiction," "fantasy" or "fabulism," "magical realism" or "slipstream," etc., or even in deciding what those names might mean. Instead, we approach each story on its own terms -- letting the work speak for itself -- and encourage our readers to do the same.

HOW WE PUBLISH

Unstuck is available in a print edition and in several e-reader formats.

Our print journal is a sturdy, perfect-bound, 6 x 9 book. The cover has a matte finish. Inside, we favor a clean, tasteful, reader-friendly approach to print design, with a lot of air on each page, and no distracting fonts or visual clutter.

Our e-reader editions for Kindle and Nook are also prepared with care. They include tables of contents with navigation. We try, to the extent that the technology allows, to preserve the original formatting of poems (or come up with reasonable alternatives), and we make sure that every piece of visual art will look good on a variety of displays.

Between the stories and poems, we feature dozens of line drawings by our staff illustrator, Matthew Domiteaux. We'd go on about how beautiful and strange Matthew's artwork is -- but since all of the drawings on this page are his, we'll let you be the judge.

OUR SECOND ISSUE

Unstuck is already available worldwide through e-bookstores and our international print subscription options. With our second issue, we'll move closer to our goal of establishing a truly international forum for surreal and innovative writing by featuring several stories in new English translation (from French, Spanish, and Bulgarian) along with new English originals from emerging authors in places as far-flung as Nigeria and Finland.

The second issue will run to around 500 pages. Like the first, it will include a diverse and lively mix of established authors and newcomers. Some of the work we'll feature in the second issue is playful, some serious, and some dangerous, but all of it is fresh, unexpected, rich, and engaging.

OUR VALUES

Unstuck is a volunteer-edited 501(c)(3). It's also completely independent. While that means we have the freedom to publish the work that excites us, it also means that, unlike many thriving print journals, we lack the support of a college or university.

Our journal is priced so that just about any reader can afford it, and we don't intend to change that. We also set aside a portion of each print run to donate to libraries and literacy programs. (Librarians: please contact us on Facebook to inquire about our free subscription program.)

At Unstuck, we want to discover, share, and encourage great new writing. For the writers whose work we accept, encouragement comes in the form of a close editing relationship, publication and promotion, and a monetary payment. But the many other writers who submit their work to us are also part of our community, and we owe them professionalism and respect. We've made a firm commitment never to charge submission fees, whether for ordinary submissions or for special contests. We also do our best to respond to unsolicited submissions as quickly as possible while giving each piece an attentive and open-minded reading.

We're delighted that you've found our Kickstarter page, and we hope that you'll join us and support our mission, whether as a donor or a subscriber. And if you enjoy the work we're doing, please spread the word about our Kickstarter campaign; every little bit of help makes a difference.

FAQ

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    You'll receive an email in which a robot politely thanks you and affirms that you are a patron of the arts. This acknowledgement-bot will be drawn by award-winning comic book artist James Kochalka, creator of American Elf.

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    You'll receive: 1) acknowledgement from a robot (see above), and 2) e-reader editions of both Unstuck #1 and Unstuck #2 in the format of your choice (PDF, EPUB, MOBI).

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    You'll receive all of the $15 rewards, plus a perfect-bound print copy of the massive Unstuck #2. [Canada/Mexico: please add $10 for shipping. Other int'l orders: please add $18.]

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    You'll receive all of the $25 rewards, plus a perfect-bound print edition of Unstuck #1. [Limited stock remaining. Can/Mex: please add $15. Other int'l: please add $27.]

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    AMELIA GRAY FAN: In addition to the $40 rewards, you'll receive a copy of Amelia Gray's critically acclaimed debut novel, THREATS, signed and personalized for you by the author. (Check out our new interview with Gray at unstuckbooks.org/interviews-amelia-gray.)

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    MENO FAN: In addition to all of the $40 rewards, you'll receive a copy of Joe Meno's new novel Office Girl, signed and personalized for you by the author! This book is lavishly illustrated, and is quite the art object. (Check out our interview with Meno on unstuckbooks.org/interviews to learn more about it.)

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    LENNONHEAD: In addition to all of the $40 rewards, you'll receive a copy of J. Robert Lennon's astonishing new horror novel, Familiar, signed and personalized for you by the author! Keep an eye on unstuckbooks.org/interviews, where we'll soon be posting a long interview with Lennon, including a conversation about the new book.

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    BOOK COLLECTOR: You'll receive all of the $40 rewards . . . and we'll have your copy of Unstuck #1 autographed by a contributor of your choice from that issue. Your book will also include a personalized, handwritten thank-you note from one of the editors. [NOTE: A couple of the contributors to #1 don't live in the US; to get the book signed by one of them, you'll need to add $40 for shipping. Please add an additional $15 if you live in Canada or Mexico -- or $27 if you're outside of North America.]

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    SANDY CLAWS: Select four of your best friends to receive gift copies of the print edition of Unstuck #2 in mid-December. Each gift copy will have a little holiday message inside, including a creepy/cute image created by our staff illustrator, Matthew Domiteaux. [Please add $10 for each copy shipped to Canada or Mexico. Add $18 for each copy sent to another int'l destination.]

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    E-LIFER: You'll receive a LIFETIME SUBSCRIPTION to the e-reader edition of the Unstuck annual. This reward includes the e-reader editions of our first two issues.

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    WORDSMITH: You'll receive a written manuscript critique from Unstuck Executive Editor Matt Williamson. (Fiction only; 8,000 words max.) This reward also includes e-reader editions of Unstuck #1 and Unstuck #2.

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    LIFER: You'll receive a LIFETIME SUBSCRIPTION to both the print and e-reader editions of the Unstuck annual. You'll also get print and e-reader copies of the first two issues of Unstuck. [US donors only.]

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    ART COLLECTOR: You'll receive all of the $140 rewards, plus a signed original of an artwork by Unstuck's staff illustrator, Matthew Domiteaux. [Reward available in US only.]

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    BOOKWORM: You'll receive all of the $140 rewards, plus: a signed copy of Matthew Derby's chapbook The Snipe; a signed copy of editor Josh Rolnick's award-winning story collection Pulp and Paper; and copies of these seven books from Unstuck #1 contributors: Drenched, by Marisa Matarazzo; Through the Drowsy Dark, by Rachel Swirsky; Daddy's, by Lindsay Hunter; AM/PM, by Amelia Gray; Pee on Water, by Rachel B. Glaser; Crazy Love, by Leslie What; And Yet They Were Happy, by Helen Phillips. [US donors only.]

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    CONTEST SPONSOR: You'll receive all of the $140 rewards. In addition, we'll name a fee-free literary contest after you (or after someone you like). We have a number of fun ideas for upcoming contests -- we'd share them here, except that they're a big secret -- and we'll consult with you about different options, to make sure you're sponsoring a contest that appeals to you. We'll also bring you into the discussion of what prizes (in addition to cash) to offer the finalists and winners.

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