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 story to inspire your submission and help newer writers understand how to fulfill a call’s thematic elements.
This week we’re looking at Speculative City‘s call for industry themed stories and reading Cat Rambo’s story Left Behind in Clarkesworld magazine.
Speculative City: Industry
Eligibility: original stories poetry or essays on the theme of industry up to 5500 words, including urban fantasy
Take Note: the editor is specifically looking for stories of the effects of industry upon individuals and communities within the cityscape
Submit by: August 19th, 2019
A story to ignite your writing mojo:
This week we’re reading Left Behind written by Cat Rambo and published in Clarkesworld magazine. You can read it online by clicking here.
This science fiction tale, set far into the future, follows a woman who prepares the elderly to move into a virtual mind world based upon their memories while their brains and bodies unconsciously pilot ships filled with dormant humans into deep space. Only the elderly, based upon a lack of neural enhancement available in their youth, are capable of piloting these ships and as such, are considered a valuable commodity. There are massive financial incentives for families to turn over their elderly.
These un-enhanced elderly are now dying out, signalling the end to our protagonist’s profession and financial doom. The worlds she builds for these future pilots are a constant reminder of luxuries she will never afford now, as well as the choices and mistakes she never had the chance to make.
A fun trick of science fiction is the ability to create an industry that doesn’t currently exist, and use it to mirror contemporary society. The disparity between the rich and the poor and the psychological effect this has on the protagonist’s sense of valueless-ness is familiar. She works in an industry that could not exist without her, yet since she is not in a supervisory position she will be the first let go when it falters, which is any minute now. She is frantic to escape, to find a better life than the one which awaits her. This is the effect of industry upon her community, glimpsed through the individual.
Although Rambo’s story is clearly set within a city, I recommend, for this call to a publisher named Speculative City, to engage this setting more in your submission.
What other industries exist that you can use to plot a story for this call? Do any industries have a good effect on their communities? What does that look like? Can you spin a story out of it? Yeah? Then get writing and good luck.