I closed submissions to Outliers on October 15th. If you didn’t make it this year there’s good news. The response has been so strong I’m going to do a second volume in 2016. Submissions for that will open March 1st, 2016. You’ll have a chance to see the sort of things I accept (good speculative fiction!) beforehand this time so that may help authors decide which story they think is best to submit to the anthology next year. I maintain my commitment to engaging with authors and having a dialogue about their stories whether they end up in the book or not.
For 2015, we have an exceptional group of authors and stories from around the planet! Let me tell you a little about them in no particular order.
“Pandora’s Toybox” by Heather Harris McFarlane is a gripping science fiction story. Heather is the only author in the collection whom I knew beforehand. We’ve work shopped stories for years and she is, frankly, a far better editor than I am, and a spellbinding author to boot!
“The Forest Realm” by P.E. Bolivar is a modern fantasy story containing both traditional fantasy elements but turning on bits of our modern world. This is one of the longer and moodier stories in the collection that builds to a thrilling conclusion.
“#BFF” by S. Kay is a special treat that has a uniquely contemporary feel but deals with bits of humanity that are as old as we are. S. has been working in flash and micro-fiction for some time and uses social media to tell her stories beyond the confines of the static page.
“A Muse of Fire” by Kayla Bashe is a wonderful piece of fantasy that creates a new mythology of its own while remaining powerfully relatable. Kayla is one of the youngest authors in the collection, but her skill as an author is far beyond her years.
“Harbour” by Amal Singh of New Delhi, India has the feel of classic sci-fi with a cultural flavor and perspective not often represented in mainstream spec fiction. Amal was previously unpublished.
“No Other” by Tim Jeffreys of the U.K. is a mixture of sci-fi and horror that explores other-ness and togetherness in a world reduced to just two people. Tim is an accomplished author with many publications in the independent press.
“Stepping on Sand & Gods” by Cory Skerry is a modern tale of the tides of history and their pull on humans and immortals alike and how they converge in a world which has lost its gods. Cory is an author of rare ability whose work has appeared in outlets large and small but not nearly often enough.
“When We Go Flying” by Kama Falzoi Post is a completely original story about consequences and the lack thereof. Kama herself does a masterful job of telling this story from a different gender perspective and captures impulses and themes that are universal.
“Good Fire” by Eric Landreneau is a story of friendship, devotion and transcendence in rural Appalachia. Eric’s range of knowledge, ideas, and interest in the world around him is remarkable. Nothing seems to be off limits for this author and this story gives you a taste of that free-wheeling and wide-ranging sensibility.
“Liminal Hill” by Kelly Dwyer is a taut and clever techno-adventure. Kelly has been laying low for the last few years, but her very first published story was an Honorable Mention in Gardner Dozois’ Best Science Fiction of the Year, 2011. She’s back and spinning good yarns.
“Meanwhile On a Different Earth” by Anya Penfold is one of the shorter stories in the collection, so I’m not going to say much about it for fear of spoiling it, other than it is a story about fear and how we choose to react to it. Anya is our second U.K. author in this year’s collection.
“Reflections From Mirror World #57” by Cat Rambo is another of the very short stories we have in this volume. At first glance one would be tempted to disqualify Cat, a regularly published author and President of the SFWA, as an “Outlier”. The truth is Cat has been telling stories that venture into unexplored territory and experimenting with form and style for years. This is another example of Cat’s unique way of looking at not just the subject matter, but how she can present it. There’s only one Cat Rambo.
“The Banana Tree” by Gail D. Villanueva puts a different cultural spin on a familiar sci-fi theme–first contact. Gail is from the Philippines and her story takes place there. The setting and culture of a rural Filipino village add to the sense of otherworldliness and reminded me, as good spec fiction often does, how unknown we are to each other in many ways.
“The Boomtown Slurry Snatch” by Kristin Jacques is another near future adventure that is heavily imbued with cyberpunk themes and issues of social justice that are relevant right here and right now. Kristin does a lovely job of rolling you along in her characters’ fun, high stakes hustle.
“The Breeding Dust” by Dennis Mombauer is an eerie, magical fantasy that is not only set in a different time, but feels like it could have been written decades ago. It put me very much in mind of some of Robert E. Howard’s creepier tales. Dennis is from Cologne, Germany.
“Somnambulant” by L.A. Little is my own contribution to the collection. It is a fantasy that takes place in the space between our world and that of immortals. By the end you may know why modern man sleeps so much more poorly than his ancestors.
There is one other story still under consideration. That will give us 16 to 17 stories in the end. The book has slightly more women authors than men. The countries represented will definitely include the U.S., the U.K., Philippines, Canada, India, and Germany with one more still possible. The authors range from widely published, to highly regarded, to successfully self published, to previously unpublished and all points between, but all of top rung quality.
This is going to be an exceptional collection of stories and I’m so proud and grateful that these talented folks chose to participate and even accepted my advice here and there. Look for it digitally and in paperback right around the end of November!