Literary Journalism,  News,  Writing

The Defying Doomsday Anthology

Tsana Dolichva and Holly Kench are two amazing bibliophiles and activists, of the literary kind. They are also all things speculative fiction crazy.

They have come up with an idea that makes you wonder why it hasn’t been done yet.

Together with Alisa Krasnostein of Twelfth Planet Press they are planning an anthology of dystopian speculative fiction… with the main characters in each story being disabled/differently abled, neuro diverse or suffering from a chronic or mental illness. What better way to highlight the fact that people have agency and are capable than setting it in a post-apocalyptic context?

Intrigued by this, I volunteered to be part of the blog tour and they kindly answered my questions via email.


 

MARISA

     Where did the idea come from? When did you first notice the lack of agency for differently abled/disabled and chronically ill characters in apocalyptic and dystopian fiction?

DOLICHVA & KENCH

      The idea came to Tsana when she was reading a book set in a Nazi concentration camp (Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein). After initially thinking “Well I wouldn’t survive that!” when reading about some of the low-level torture, she got to the part of the book where most of a group of medical experimentees survives the concentration camp despite their impairments. It made her think, “Gosh, if this happened in real life, why aren’t there more stories of disabled/chronically ill characters surviving bad situations in fiction?” And so the idea for Defying Doomsday was born.

MARISA

     How many stories do you plan to have in the anthology? What are the word limits?

DOLICHVA & KENCH

       We are aiming to acquire 80,000 – 100,000 words (around 14-18 stories, depending on length). We’re still finalising our open submission guidelines, but at this point we’re planning to call for stories between 3000 – 7000 words in length. We’ll have more information going up on the Defying Doomsday website once the Pozible campaign funds.

MARISA

      Who is eligible to submit stories?

DOLICHVA & KENCH

       Anyone! The more the merrier. We’re excited to get stories from a diverse range of voices. If you have an apocalypse story with a protagonist who is disabled, chronically ill, mentally ill or neurodiverse, we’d love to read it!

MARISA

      What plans do you have for the anthology post publication?

DOLICHVA & KENCH

      We’re hoping it will reach a wide audience and inspire people to think more sympathetically about the challenges faced by disabled and chronically ill characters.

MARISA

      What are your favourite apocalyptic/dystopian scenarios? What do you hope to see in the submissions?

DOLICHVA & KENCH

      The great thing about apocalyptic scenarios is that the sky’s the limit. One of the things that has had us really thrilled by some of our early submissions is the range of scenarios we’ve seen – from classic apocalypses such as alien invasions and impending comets, to apocalypse scenarios we’d never contemplated before. Just as we want range and diversity when it comes to the characters in Defying Doomsday, we’re looking for a range of post/apocalyptic scenarios to help make the anthology even more exciting.

MARISA

      What has been the reaction so far to the idea?

DOLICHVA & KENCH

         We’ve had a lot of positive responses since we first announced the project. People have been excited and that makes us even more excited! We get the impression that a lot of people feel similarly to us about not seeing characters like themselves in fiction and are welcoming this chance. There are a LOT of people with disability and/or chronic illnesses out there (disabled people alone are the largest minority in the world, including 15% or about a billion people), and people seem to recognise the need for this to be reflected more in fiction.

MARISA

       Who is funding the publication? If you can tell us?

DOLICHVA & KENCH

        Defying Doomsday will be published by Twelfth Planet Press in 2016, but we’re crowdfunding the anthology right now (from 1st April -1st May 2015). We decided to crowdfund this project so that we could pay authors a professional rate (7c per word), and we’ve also been lucky enough to receive a Crowbar grant from Arts Tasmania to help with production costs.

MARISA

      After this publication, do you have any other similar projects planned? Or are there any that you think should be organised even if not by you?

DOLICHVA & KENCH

         We’re really keen to see SFF continue to expand and embrace diversity. This is one of the main reasons we are so excited to have Defying Doomsday published by Twelfth Planet Press, which has also published diverse anthologies Kaleidoscope and Year’s Best YA Speculative Fiction 2013, both edited by Julia Rios and Alisa Krasnostein. It’s great to find a publisher so invested in diversifying the genre.

       Any projects that support the idea that there’s room for everyone in SFF are projects we want to see more of.

MARISA

      How did you wrangle the editor positions for this project?

DOLICHVA & KENCH

      We talked a lot about the potential of this project concept and wrote up a proposal of our ideas. At the time Alisa Krasnostein had just successfully funded Kaleidoscope, so we hoped it might be the sort of anthology she would be interested in publishing. We’re really passionate about Defying Doomsday and luckily Alisa felt the same way.


To get involved you can: 

– support the project via Pozible at:  http://pozi.be/defyingdoomsday up until May 1, 2015

– submit a story after submissions open on May 1 at http://defyingdoomsday.twelfthplanetpress.com

Marisa is a globetrotting freelance writer, journalist and editor with cat for hire (her, not the cat). She is usually based in Melbourne but is currently flouncing around in Perth for a week for the Inaugural 2018 KSP - Varuna Foundation Fellowship. She will be at Melbourne's Continuum and online running a Writers' Bloc course in the coming weeks.

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