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Vital: The Future of Healthcare

The anthology that looks forward to explore what's coming next in medicine and health — and what it could mean for all of us.

Vital: The Future of Healthcare

The anthology that looks forward to explore what's coming next in medicine and health — and what it could mean for all of us.

$3,919
pledged of $8,300pledged of $8,300 goal
115
backers
59hours to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Thu, November 14 2019 8:00 PM UTC +00:00.

About

Vital: The Future of Healthcare is an anthology of short stories. Vital has already gathered stories from leading futurist writers, weaving together disparate visions of what comes next in health and health science.

Our visions of the future — whether dark or hopeful, thrilling or mundane — have always challenged us to examine our world. How can we improve? What challenges will we face? Are we even ready? Vital: The Future of Healthcare aims to explore these questions as they relate to humanity’s physical and mental well-being.

3D mock-up of paperback

The Stories

The theme of the anthology is “the future of healthcare.” For example, stories might:

  • Explore advances in treatment for serious and emergency conditions
  • Imagine a healthcare system that is simpler to navigate and cares for the whole person
  • Envision a world where the average life expectancy is 200 years

Currently, Vital’s writers and stories include:

David Brin

About: David Brin is best-known for shining light — plausibly and entertainingly — on technology, society, and countless challenges confronting our rambunctious civilization. His best-selling novels include The Postman (filmed in 1997) plus explorations of our near-future in Earth and Existence. Other novels are translated into 25+ languages. His short stories explore vividly speculative ideas.

David’s Vital Story: His Hugo-nominated story, “The Giving Plague” asks the question, if a disease was making people more altruistic, should you cure it?

Seanan McGuire

About: Seanan McGuire’s latest installment of the Wayward Children series is a nominee for the upcoming World Fantasy award. Her work has been recognized with John W. Campbell, Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards, and she set the records for most Hugo nominations in a single year.

Seanan’s Vital Story: We’re excited to see an original story from Seanan.

James Patrick Kelly

About: James Patrick Kelly has won the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards. His most recent books are a collection, The Promise of Space (2018), from Prime Books and a novel, Mother Go (2017), an audiobook original from Audible. In 2016, Centipede Press published a career retrospective Masters of Science Fiction: James Patrick Kelly.

James’ Vital Story: “Itsy Bitsy Spider” was nominated for both the Hugo & Nebula. Elder care is becoming a growing crisis in many countries; James’ touching story examines one possible future solution.

Annalee Newitz

About: Annalee Newitz writes science fiction and nonfiction. They are the author of the novel Autonomous, nominated for the Nebula and Locus Awards, and winner of the Lambda Literary Award. As a science journalist, they are a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, and have a monthly column in New Scientist. They have published in The Washington Post, Slate, Popular Science, Ars Technica, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic, among others. Their new novel, The Future of Another Timeline, came out September 2019.

Annalee’s Vital Story: Annalee’s “When Robot and Crow Saved East St. Louis” won the 2019 Sturgeon award and depicts a public health robot that keeps trying to do good after its makers abandon it.

Paolo Bacigalupi

About: Paolo Bacigalupi is a multi-award winning and internationally bestselling author. He has won Hugo, Nebula, John W. Campbell and Locus awards, as well as being nominated for the National Book Award and winning the Micheal L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature.

Paolo’s Vital Story: His story, “A Passing Sickness,” explores how a brain-computer interface could make a time traveler ill.

Caroline M. Yoachim

About: Caroline M. Yoachim is a prolific author of short stories, appearing in Asimov’s, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Uncanny, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Clarkesworld, and Lightspeed, among other places. She has been a finalist for the Hugo, World Fantasy, Locus, and multiple Nebula Awards, and her stories have been reprinted in multiple year’s best anthologies and translated into several languages.

Caroline’s Vital Story: Caroline satirically underscores the challenges many people face when trying to access healthcare services in her Nebula-nominated story “Welcome to the Medical Clinic at the Interplanetary Relay Station | Hours Since the Last Patient Death: 0.”

Alex Shvartsman

About: Alex Shvartsman is the author Eridani’s Crown. He’s the winner of the 2014 WSFA Small Press Award for Short Fiction and a two-time finalist (2015 and 2017) for the Canopus Award for Excellence in Interstellar Writing.

His short stories have appeared in Analog, Nature, Strange Horizons, Intergalactic Medicine Show, and a variety of other magazines and anthologies. His previously published books include collections Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma and The Golem of Deneb Seven, as well as his steampunk humor novella H. G. Wells, Secret Agent.

In addition to the UFO series, he has edited The Cackle of Cthulhu, Humanity 2.0, Funny Science Fiction, Coffee: Caffeinated Tales of the Fantastic, and Dark Expanse: Surviving the Collapse anthologies.

Alex’s Vital Story: Purdue Pharma is negotiating settlements totaling eleven digits with those who seek justice for the Opioid Crisis. In “Grains of Wheat,” Alex asks what happens when a greedy Big Pharma CEO needs a life-saving drug.

Eric Schwitzgebel

About: Eric Schwitzgebel is a professor of philosophy at University of California, Riverside, and a cooperating member of UCR’s program in Speculative Fiction and Cultures of Science. His short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, F&SF, and Nature. His op-eds on the future of technology have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and Aeon Magazine. His most recent book is A Theory of Jerks and Other Philosophical Misadventures, and in 2020 he will release a new edited collection Philosophy Through Science Fiction Stories.

Eric’s Vital Story: We’re excited to see an original story from Eric.

Congyun (“Mu Ming”) Gu

About: Congyun (a.k.a Mu Ming) Gu is a new Chinese speculative fiction writer and also a software engineer at Google, currently living in New York. She has published short stories and novellas in multiple Chinese science fiction online platforms, anthologies and magazines since 2016. She has been selected as a finalist of Douban Read’s Writing Competition three times since 2016, receiving the award in 2017 and 2018. Her novelette won 1st prize in the 2018 Future Sci-Fi Masters Writing Contest in China and was also included the Best of the Year 2018 Chinese SF anthology. She is also nominated for Best New Writer in the forthcoming 2019 Chinese Xingyun (Nebula) Award.

Congyun’s Vital Story: We’re excited to publish one of Congyun's stories in translation.

Sally Wiener Grotto

About: Sally Wiener Grotta’s books include The Winter Boy (a Locus Magazine’s 2015 Recommended Read) and Jo Joe (a Jewish Book Council Network book).  Her story "One Widow's Healing" won a 2019 Health Odyssey award from Thomas Jefferson Hospital. Her hundreds of stories, columns and essays have appeared in scores of publications.  Her far-ranging experiences as a journalist to all corners of the world flavor her tales with a sense of wonder, otherliness and common sense. Sally is co-curator of the Galactic Philadelphia author reading series and co-chair of The Authors Guild Philadelphia Chapter. (SallyWienerGrotta.com)

Sally's Vital Story: "One Widow's Healing" deals with telemedicine and Whole Person care, and a winner of the 2019 Health Odyssey award.

And more...

In addition to these fantastic writers, Vital will fill out the 80,000-word volume with original stories selected by an open call in January and February 2020.

We're looking for engaging stories — stories that inspire and make you feel. All types of stories will be considered: happy endings; cautionary tales; food for thought; bittersweet tearjerkers. The healthcare aspect might not be central to the plot, but the theme should be strongly represented. Ultimately, we're looking for well-crafted, entertaining stories.

Learn more about submission guidelines on the Vital website.

We’ll pay each author a SFWA professional rate within 60 days of receiving a fully-executed contract.

The Editors

RM Ambrose - Editor

RM Ambrose is a writer of Science Fiction and Fantasy, and currently serves as Assistant Fiction Editor (and sometimes producer and narrator) at the Hugo Award winning StarShipSofa podcast. He attended Taos Toolbox in 2017 and is an Affiliate Member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

RM draws on his background in Anthropology and Linguistics, music, world travel, Aikido, cycling, and careers in Information Technology, Banking, Higher Education, and Healthcare. He speaks Spanish and Tagalog (Filipino), and has a particular interest in the cultures of Latin America and East Asia. He occasionally blogs at Liminal.IT. @rmambrosefiction (FB/Instagram)

Aidan Doyle - Assistant Editor

Aidan Doyle is an Australian editor and writer. He is the co-editor of the World Fantasy Award nominated Sword and Sonnet, the author of The Writer's Book of Doubt, and an Associate Editor at PodCastle. He has visited more than 100 countries and his experiences include teaching English in Japan, interviewing ninjas in Bolivia, and going ten-pin bowling in North Korea. http://www.aidandoyle.net @aidan_doyle

Read all editorial team bios on the Vital website.

Editions

Vital will be available in paperback and as an e-book. 

Finances

This is a volunteer project, so the vast majority of Kickstarter funds will go to the authors. Assuming about $8,300 is raised, anticipated expenses include:

Stretch Goals

  •  $10,300 - Marketing Budget
       We’ll do what we can with a shoestring if we must, but our team of marketing professionals know how to turn a marketing budget into results. By increasing sales, we can get these stories into the hands of healthcare professionals who may be influenced by them. Increased sales also means increased proceeds, which will be donated to help deliver care for millions of adults and children (see below how Vital will help build the future of healthcare).
     
  •  $12,800 Abridged Audiobook (Small)
       Professional voice actor Joe Zieja will narrate part of and manage voice talent casting for an audiobook. The small audiobook goal would fund roughly a third of the book’s stories.
  • JOE ZIEJA is an ex-USAF officer, now a voice actor and author in Los Angeles. You've heard him in FIRE EMBLEM THREE HOUSES (Claude Von Riegan), JUST CAUSE 4 (Cesar), STAR FOX ZERO, THE BATTLE BEGINS (Fox McCloud), FATE/APOCRYPHA (Achilles) and many other anime and video game roles, as well as sidekick Issei Hoshino in YAKUZA: JUDGMENT. He's the author of the Epic Failure Trilogy, a whimsical, military sci-fi series described as "Terry Pratchett in space," the third book of which releases in September 2019 from Simon and Schuster - an audiobook version is available which he narrates.
     
  •  $15,500 Abridged Audiobook (Medium)
       Do you love audiobooks? As editors for audio fiction podcasts, we do! A 2018 study found that 44% of Americans have listened to an audiobook. The medium audiobook goal would fund roughly two-thirds of the book’s stories.
     
  •  $18,000 Unabridged Audiobook
       J.D. Salinger’s work was never allowed to be digitized until his son received a letter from a woman whose right hand was disabled due to a surgical accident. Accessibility for those with disabilities should be important for a healthcare themed book, and it’s important to us. Audiobooks make stories accessible for people with a variety of disabilities, including the visually impaired. Audiobooks are also proven to help people with reading disabilities such as dyslexia. The unabridged audiobook goal would allow 100% of the book’s stories to be available in audio.

 Vital will help build the future of healthcare.

Vital won’t stop at speculation. The book’s proceeds will be used to help build the new, earthquake-resistant hospital towers at Loma Linda University Health in Southern California. The July 2019 Ridgecrest earthquakes — which injured dozens and caused $5 billion in damage — were a sobering reminder of the need for seismically-advanced buildings like these towers.

The hospital towers will provide world-class care for millions of adults and children. They’ll also be home to innovative research and education that brings our global community closer to the future of healthcare every day.

Does this mean my contributions are tax deductible?

Contributions to this Kickstarter are not tax deductible. Funds from this Kickstarter will be used to produce the anthology and pay the writers. However, future proceeds from the sales of Vital will be donated to Loma Linda University Health.

Is this project run by Loma Linda University Health?

The anthology is an independent project unaffiliated with Loma Linda University Health. Some employees will be volunteering their own time, but doing so as individuals. All opinions expressed in this anthology are those of the writers and editors, not those of Loma Linda University Health.

Risks and challenges

Putting together an anthology is a big undertaking with a number of potential challenges along the way. The team has taken significant measures to minimize those risks.

One risk is that invited authors might not deliver a story as they originally intended (which could happen for many reasons). However, most of the invited authors will be contributing previously written stories that have been read by members of the editorial team. This helps to ensure their participation. Should an author drop out for any reason, their slot will be filled either by recruiting another writer or with a story from the open call.

Members of the editorial team have years of experience on the editorial teams of other short fiction publications, as well as experience delivering on Kickstarter-backed books. RM Ambrose is Assistant Fiction Editor for the StarShipSofa podcast, and Aidan Doyle is an Associate Editor for PodCastle. Aidan is also co-editor of the Kickstarter-funded Sword and Sonnet, and author of the Kickstarter-funded The Writer’s Book of Doubt.

RM also holds multiple project management certifications and has successfully delivered many large and complex information technology projects in other industries. Should there be any delays or issues, backers can count on prompt communication. Every effort will be made to remedy problems that arise and ensure timely delivery of an excellent product.

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    Laughter is the Best Medicine!

    Get a dose of the healing power of humor with Alex Shvartsman's anthology, Funny Science Fiction. Laughter can relieve pain, improve your immune system, increase oxygen intake to stimulate may organs.

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    Health + For All Mankind

    "For All Mankind" is a story about the Apollo Program and the Tsar Bomba where Two women unite across the iron curtain to save the world. We're adding this bundle in honor of the first all female spacewalk on 10/18 (Yesterday).

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    The Future of Healthcare is Nigh!

    Get the Vital eBook plus the paperback edition of The Future is Nigh, edited by C. Stuart Hardwick (friend of the project) "Ten international award-winning authors. Ten fabulous stories."

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    Signed Eridian's Crown + Ebook

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    Do you like author signatures on your books? We'll get at least five authors and RM to sign a bookplate (sent separately) that you can add to the front of your paperback copy. The exact number of authors depends on their availability, and who we choose for the additional stories, but at least one will be a Hugo or Nebula winning writer.

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    Paperback + Signed Rented Eyes

    Get an exclusive signed pamphlet print of "My Daughter's Rented Eyes," an excerpt from Eric Schwitzgebel's new collection, A Theory of Jerks and Other Philosophical Misadventures (©MIT 2019), published by the MIT Press (Release Date October 29). Plus the paperback and eBook editions.

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    Audiobook of Burn by James Patrick Kelly

    Ebook of Vital, plus an audiobook edition of James Patrick Kelly's Hugo-winning Novella, Burn. Also includes a paperback and signed bookplate!

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    Autograph Bundle

    Get the most out of you pledge, including the most autographs of our backer packages.

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    Signed copy of Autonomous

    Ebook edition of Vital, plus a copy of Autonomous signed by Annalee Newitz.

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    Epic Bundle

    Joe Zieja has many talents. He's voiced popular video game and anime characters as a professional VO artist, and his Epic Failure SF trilogy has tones of Terry Pratchett and Catch 22 in space. You can help us get to the audiobook stretch goals with this bundle.

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    • Exclusive Signed "My Daughter's Rented Eyes" by Eric Schwitzgebel
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