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 a call from a new Canadian market, House of Zora, and reading Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance, originally published in the anthology Cosmic Powers and reprinted in Lightspeed Magazine.
House of Zora
Eligibility: speculative stories from 1k to 7500 words, with a preference for 3500-5K
Take Note: the HoZ editors are looking for stories set in the future with a strong attraction to resistance, activism, transhumanism, feminism, and 2SLGBTQIA+
Payment: $50 – $75 Canadian dollars
Submit By: July 15th, 2019
A story to inspire your submission
This week we’re reading Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance by Tobias S. Buckell, originally published in the Cosmic Powers anthology and available to read online at Lightspeed magazine by clicking here.
Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance begins with a crab-like robot discovering an enemy CEO (loosely, a wealthy privileged) clinging to the hull of the bot’s ship after a space battle. The battle was fought over the idealist “True Form” believers (non-augmented humans) and self-determinant life forms such as our protagonist bot, who chose to become a maintenance bot and leave free will behind. It’s a fascinating take for Buckell to tell the story in first person from the bot’s point of view because it forces the reader, presumably a human in “Truest Form”, to empathize with the character least like themselves.
Our Bot-protagonist is duty-bound to assist CEOs and so our bot brings the man to its private space, thus revealing its own vulnerabilities. The CEO treats the bot with endless scorn and distaste, torturing it for it’s sacrificed free will, threatening what it loves, and finally bribing the bot to take him to freedom. The bot’s friendships are strained, its ideals tested, but its cleverness remains and bot uses this cleverness to resist into a delicious conclusion.
Buckell’s story ticks off three of House of Zora’s preferences. It features transhumanism (technology-based evolution of humanity), resistance, and futurism. The clever riff on Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance doesn’t hurt and certainly performs well as an attention-grabbing title. For your submission, there’s no need to stuff as many of the editor’s preferences as you can into the story, but if you can fit more than one and still spin a fine story, why wouldn’t you?