What This Is
In science fiction, humans are usually boring compared to other spacefaring races: small, weak, with no claws or tentacles, and no special abilities to speak of. If we’re lucky, humans have an indomitable spirit when the chips are down. Not much more than that.
But we don’t have to be boring. We can be the impressive ones, the unsettling ones, the ones talked about by all the other aliens. Maybe body heat is rare. Maybe the most civilized species all eat very specialized diets, and have never heard of an omnivore. Maybe other aliens don’t tend to domesticate animals, and don’t understand cats or dogs or horses or the ability of that one stranded crew to tame a half-dozen monsters by the time they were rescued — and no they most certainly can’t bring the things on board; I don’t care if they are “friend shaped”!
The possibilities are endless. Writers online have been exploring these ideas, taking them in fascinating directions, and there’s enough material out there to fill many books. I’m putting together an anthology of the best. Vivian Caethe blazed the trail with the Humans Wanted anthology, which focused on the ways a human can be valuable in space. This collection will explore the many ways that humans can be weird.
Even by our own planet’s standards, our endurance tops the charts. We take a fondness to inanimate objects, granting them names and personalities. We teach our young to imitate other animals’ calls, and get unnervingly good at it. Our teeth grow back once. We navigate by something called “eyesight.”
If this sounds like your kind of story, then come join the adventure! There’s plenty of adventure to be had. You’ll never think of humans as boring again.
How This Works
* Submission period: from May 1st to June 30th, 2020
* Rights: non-exclusive (previously published works are acceptable)
* Word count: aim for between 1,500 and 5,000 words
* Compensation: $25 per story (one story per author), paid on acceptance
* Standard manuscript format: Times New Roman, 12 pt font, 1” margins, double spaced
* Submit entries and questions to MaraLynnJohnstone (at) gmail.com
* I will be happy to talk about it on any social media!
The Inner Circle
Any project like this takes funding — to pay the authors, cover artist, printer, etc — and rather than take a chunk out of my own savings, I’ll be doing this through Patreon. The perks will absolutely be worth it.
Previews, writing prompts, low-stakes writing contests, flash fiction, art, and plenty of rambling conversational posts. The higher tiers get a copy of the book when it’s out, and — if all goes according to plan — a shirt to proudly display your status as a human from that most dangerous place called Earth.
I would love to make multiple volumes of this anthology. I’ve been writing “humans are weird” stories for years now, since before I ever heard a name for it, and the ideas are exciting every time. Let’s do this.
Come talk to me about aliens. And humans, and robots, and magicians, dragons, shapeshifters, trickster gods with a love for adhesive googly eyes. I’m also fond of discussing typos and cats. You know, proper writerly themes.