Welcome to this week’s edition of Submit Your Stories Sunday! Every week I bring you a unique call for submissions to help you find a home for your stories or inspire a new one. Each call will contain a speculative element and will offer payment upon acceptance. Next, I’ll recommend a book to help inspire your story submission and finish off with a list of the best writing-related articles I came across this week.
Luna Press Publishing’s Open Call for Science Fiction Novels
Eligibility: unpublished science fiction novels presented as a detailed, chapter by chapter synopsis plus the first three chapters. New writers are welcome.
Take Note: each novel must stand alone, whether it be part of a series or no
What makes this call stand out: writers do not need an agent to submit to this publisher (which also comes with a word of caution to be wary and inspect any contracts with care).
Payment: to be determined
Submission window: January 1st, 2019, to January 6th, 2019, at midnight UK time.
A Book to Inspire Your Writing:
If you’ve been here long enough, you’ve heard me mentioned Binti and author Nnedi Okorafor before, and that’s because Binti is one of the best science fiction books I’ve read to date.
Binti the protagonist is a Himba woman who thinks in mathematics, math trees, and has a deep connection to her earthly home. When she leaves her home to travel to Oomza University, across the galaxy, she brings with her a jar of otjize, or clay from her homeland, that her culture wears in her hair and on her skin. Her ship is attacked by an octopus-like species called the Meduse and Binti finds herself the sole survivor by dint of her otjize. Survivorship thrusts her into a strange new role as an unwilling ambassador for the Meduse, who may not be as terrible as she was led to believe.
There are multiple reasons why I enjoy the Binti series so much (of which there are three so far), but the most compelling for me was the way in which Binti cared for her link to the soil of her home. As a nature lover, the idea of leaving Earth nature behind to travel the stars has always held me back (because all those opportunities I’ve had to travel deep space, right?).
Another highlight is the depth of the Himba culture in this story and what a surprising sense of relief it gave me to experience space travel through a lens that is not the standard, privileged white person standpoint. Space felt new, and somehow more real because it doesn’t exist in the story as simply a territory to be explored and tamed.
Next up are the math trees, which I’m not going to say I fully understand in the mathematical sense, but I could fully empathize with how they could calm someone in sequences of deep anxiety because Okorafor is a wonderful writer and pulls this off masterfully.
Writerly links worth sharing this week:
Matthew Vollmer’s lovely Glimmertrain bulletin essay, the Literary Masquerade: Writing Stories Disguised as Other Forms of Writing, inspired me to return a piece I had languishing in a drawer. Maybe it will do the same for you.