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Liam Sharp
October 12th, 2005, 10:41 AM
Hello there.

My name is Liam Sharp, I'm kind of mostly known for my illustration and comic work, but I write and publish also.
I recently collaborated with China Miéville on a piece for "looking For Jake", his collection of short stories, and China kindly proof read - and praised - a piece in our second upcoming anthology title, "Mam Tor: Event Horizon 2", from Mam Tor Publishing.
We had great reviews online at Emerald City by Cheryl Morgan, and SFX magazine gave us 4 out of 5 stars.
We'd love to have our book reach more of it's intended audience - that being readers of science fiction, fantasy and horror - not just comics, which is unfortunately our main outlet just yet, though we are slowly making it onto the high street.
Our title includes all creative forms, from text, to illustrated text, to galleries, to comic work, and it strives not to favour any one above another. We're also inviting writers of short science fiction, horror or fantasy stories to submit to us. Right now we're looking for a great short horror story (2000 - 5000words) for book 3, which will be published in May next year.
What we don't want are clichés, and ideally we're looking for something that fits in the "New Weird" category, somewhere we see our book sitting. So the more innovative, imaginative and well-written the better!
We have Dan Abnet contributing to a future issue, and I'm still doing all I can to pin China down!

Lastly, it's important you know this project is a creator showcase, not a proffit making venture. We're trying something very new and have an entirely original product on the shelf, but it remains very specialised and Niche. We do have an Italian edition, and have interest from some other european companies in taking up the product license, but realistically it makes enough to break even. Everything in Event Horizon has been done for the love of it, and because we believe in it. Hopefully that will change, but as now we are without funds - so bear that in mind when submitting!

You can find out more here:

www.mamtor.com

Thanks very much for your time. Look forward to reading your submissions!

Kind regards,

Liam Sharp.

Email: liam@mamtor.com

IMPORTANT! All copyright, etc. remains entirely with the creator. Mam Tor retains no rights for the use of any material, unless the creator choses to have us represent them down the line, in which case it's all negotiable.

johnkarr
October 15th, 2005, 07:00 PM
Surfed over to your site and read Sea and Thunder. Great artwork, interesting story. When are you closing the door to submissions on the horror story? I'm working on a novel now, but could maybe cook something up depending on the timetable ...

Liam Sharp
October 17th, 2005, 10:38 AM
Hey,

Thanks for dropping by and checking everything out.
There's no deadline as such, in that if it's something we really like we'll publish it in a later issue.
For book 3, ideally around christmas would be great as then we can think about lining up an illustrator for a spot illo or two.

A few people have asked for some guidelines too, so...

The language is really important. It's got to be well written, not repetative, and not TOO overblown. We're looking for inventive economy. Vivid language, not gratuitous for the sake of it. Fearless, but not vulgar.
Other than that, it has to be imaginative and original...

What we're really wanting is work in the New Weird vein, like China Miéville, M.John Harrison - Clive Barker to some extent. Work that blurs fantasy and horror, or sci-fi and horror, and that doesn't rely on stereotypes, staple monsters or too many archetypes. Ideally not gothy vampires, etc. We're basically looking for something new. It doesn't have to conform to regular short story structure either. M.John Harrison for example will start a story in the middle and never finish it - but you're still left a lingering unease. It's slightly out of grasp, but disturbing, in an Erasor Head kind of way.

BTW, the wordcount should be around 2000 - 5000 words.

Hope that gives you a clue!

Cheers,

Liam.

Liam Sharp
October 20th, 2005, 07:58 AM
For anybody interested, there's a downloadable PDF of Roger M. Cormack's Machivarius Point: Mercenaries, the major text piece from Event Horizon 2, and it should help give you an idea of the kind of literature we have in the title:

http://www.mamtor.com/

Cheers,

Liam.

KatG
October 27th, 2005, 06:16 PM
We're pleased that Mr. Sharp has come to join us at SFFWorld. He has been a star of the graphic arts field for a long time and is a respected writer too. To further clarify about Event Horizon:

Mam Tor is a small press putting out Event Horizon, a graphics literary magazine anthology featuring written fiction, illustrated fiction, comic book stories and gallery artworks. They are looking for writers for last slots in Event Horizon #3 and possibly #4, which is why we've allowed Mr. Sharp to put up a thread here to let you know about the project. Illustrators may be interested too, which dovetails with our recent discussions about how authors and illustrators can inspire each other and work together. Event Horizon's not a bad example of that.

EH is looking, in the fiction department, for short stories that are essentially New Weird. Now, what is New Weird -- that's come up before. New Weird is a new term for an old idea. It is sometimes used to designate a new sub-genre of the fantasy market, but New Weird is much more about style than it is about content and so crosses genres, and EH is looking for horror and sf stories too.

The style of New Weird is noir. Not dark and gothic, and not necessarily only contemporary in setting, but noir. Think Miller's graphic novel "Sin City." Think Phillip Marlowe meets H.P. Lovecraft. Think cyberpunk sf with extra kink. You can have a story with a futuristic setting and use fantasy elements. No, it won't be sf, it will be fantasy, but there's no reason you can't have a fantasy story and space colonies. You can take an epic (pre-industrial) fantasy tale and give it a horror twist. Just remember attitude, angst and a sense of dread (AAD.) Philosophy is welcome. Black humor is acceptable.

So if you've been working on a story like that, Event Horizon might be a possible showcase. And if not, many other sff magazines may be interested. Check out Ralan.com (which Mr. Sharp should also visit,) for possibilities.

Having gotten the Writing Resources part out of the way, what do folk think about the intersection of writing and fine arts, of using graphics to enhance written fiction, of the New Weird style, and the close connections between sffh genres and the comic market?

pcarney
October 28th, 2005, 12:18 PM
Having gotten the Writing Resources part out of the way, what do folk think about the intersection of writing and fine arts, of using graphics to enhance written fiction, of the New Weird style, and the close connections between sffh genres and the comic market?

Oh, I think this can definately work, but it requires close collaboration between the writer and the artist. For that matter, who decides what the pictures look like? That is, how I envision something will be completely different from how anyone else sees it, including the artist. I was working on a comic book with a friend of mine (the project withered away, unfortunately). As I developed the story and dialog, I got a clear picture of how the figures should look. Then she sent me character sketches and they were completly different. I'm certainly not saying her ideas were wrong- it was her story idea originally, its just different.
The same goes to the writing- if I know someone will be illustrating selected scenes, should the decription and such be toned back? Why describe someone's skin as bronzed by the sun, when you can plainly see that in the picture?

As to New Weird - I love it. Its what really brought me back to the fantasy genre as a whole. It seemed like so many books have been stuck in the sword and sorcery mode, its a breath of fresh air.

KatG
October 28th, 2005, 01:23 PM
Well, I'm curious about it, as I'm trying to write a text for pictures. It is a tricky sort of writing, especially when it comes second, after the illustrations.

As for New Weird, it's nice to have it being in favor again. There was quite a bit of noir contemporary fantasy in the 1980's and of course cyberpunk sf, a cousin. In the nineties, they still had it in fantasy, just less of it because people ignored it, but it was pretty dominant in sf. Now, it's more popular in fantasy, and there's more noir epic fantasy than there was, but a lot of sword & sorcery all along used noir elements. Fantasy and sf mostly use thriller plots, so it leads to that sort of thing. But it's nice to have some flat out noir stories -- as long as that doesn't end up being all we get either. :)

Liam Sharp
October 29th, 2005, 06:13 AM
Hi all.

I'm delighted at the interest we're getting, and the illustration/art question is interesting. Certainly writing a comic script is a lot more akin to a screenplay, in that it requires more discriptive work for the artist to interpret than the reader to actually read. Almost the less, word-wise, the better. The more that can be said in the art the stronger the story is likely to be in the way it reads - like a movie with a voice over, you have to temper it. However, we're trying to play with ideas whereby there are breaks in the strip narrative that move into prose, or there are no words at all and it's left to the beholder's imagination.
The illustrated prose stories I would suggest you predominently treat as pure prose. For me I'm just trying to recapture the glorious 70s when art book were best-sellers, and you had Alan Lee's illustrated "Mabingnogeon", Harry Harrison and Jim Burns doing the fabulous comic sci-fi illustrated novel "Planet story", and all those other amazing Paper Tiger, Dragon's Dream books that Roger Dean brought out.
As for artists interpreting writers characters - this can so often be contentious! LOL! New comic writers can really struggle to let their beloved characters be reworked into people they never imagined themselves! Realistically you do have to sit back - once you've provided you detailed descriptions - and let the artists do their thing without recrimination. You will find no artists see the characters in the same way you do, or another does, so it's best to be circumspect. You may even find yourself happily surprised!

Very best, and thanks to everybody who has sent us a story!

Cheers,

Liam.

KatG
October 31st, 2005, 07:37 AM
Should mention that EH has a North American audience, which is growing, and takes submissions from North America, Britain, Australia, etc., and they're putting out 2 a year for a long projected run.

What I like about this project is that it's not just another spin on the graphic novel. Graphic novels and sff have had a publishing association going for about twenty years, but they still tend to stay in their separate camps. Event Horizon is an anthology that mixes wordless art, comics, the graphic novel material (illustrations but larger amounts of prose, more story than screenplay,) and straight sff stories without art. It's really crossing mediums in ways I think can appeal to fans of both genre and comics, especially as the sff magazines have had to drop their illustrative content to fairly low levels.

So is there room for more of this now in SFF? Horror, too, used to be sort of separate, since horror fiction was considered a sub-genre of mainstream fiction, and sff publishers didn't do much of it. But that's been changing too, I think, especially as a lot of the horror writers like King, Barker, etc., have been experimenting with fantasy. Can we take all these different sorts of storytelling and genres and get less category-ish? It sounds like that's beginning to happen again.

And what about the influence of movies and t.v., another visual medium that's been involved with sff through tie-in publications and comics through adaptations? They're still jonesing on horror and have had a spate of juvenile fantasies, and it looks like they may now be turning back to sf. That strong interest helps fuel fan growth for sff, but does it open the door to more visual experiments in speculative fiction?

pcarney
October 31st, 2005, 11:47 AM
I was a bit suprised to see novels based on comic books popping up a few years ago. What's the point? I've read a few graphic novels, and part of the 'flavor' of any given storyline or hero is how it is drawn. Comics provide a very detailed view of the world in question, while novels, delivered in a restrictive medium, leave more for the reader to imagine. Although comic book novels could work, especially if your writing about a hero with a rich, well known background, I think this could easily fail in translation. The same is often said about comic-book movies by the hardcore readers of the books.

Makes me wonder if the SFF novel audience is the same as the comic/graphic novel audience.

Have you read that Steven King is going to be working on a Dark Tower comic for Marvel? Very interesting, considering that the TPB of the gunslinger novels have all featured very detailed artwork.