Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Omnibus of Doctor Bill Shakes and the Magnificent Ionic Pentatetrameter: A Steampunk's Shakespeare Anthology

I don't know if any of you were tooling around Steampunk Chat on Twitter from 9 to 11 pm Eastern on Friday or not, but there was a very interesting development in the midst of the discussion.

Someone, I forget who, mentioned Shakespeare as we were discussing Steampunk as "window dressing." Of course, writers being the creative folks that we are, ended up coming up with Steampunked versions of famous lines from the Bard's plays. Talk of Steampunking out Shakespeare dominated the rest of the chat, and by the end of it it was decided that Flying Pen Press (the company that I'm the Steampunk Imprint Editor for) would next year release an anthology of Steampunk adaptions on Shakespeare's work. To that end, here are the submission guidelines:

From Hamlet as half-man half-machine to Henry V at the helm of an army of men in steam-powered mechanical suits, the sky is the proverbial limit for adapting William Shakespeare’s classic plays and sonnets to the Steampunk aesthetic.

This is not intended to be a series of mash-ups, like Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, but rather re-inventions of the classic Shakespearean stories and sonnets. You are free to adapt Shakespeare’s language and themes to a Neo-Victorian setting as you will, but unlike the typical mash-up, you don’t have to include every line of original text from your chosen play or sonnet.

We prefer stories where Steampunk elements and themes are thoughtfully applied to Shakespeare’s works. Do not simply throw automatons into Hamlet or Steampunk technology into Richard III; consider how such technological changes may reinterpret the original stories. Saying it another way: What new insight will your Steampunk version of Shakespeare bring to the Bard’s original works?

General Guidelines:
  • Send all submissions to submissions@doctorfantastiques.com as attachment in either Microsoft Word (DOC or DOCX), Real Text Format (RTF) or OpenOffice (ODT) format, with a short introductory letter.
  • All submissions should have STEAMPUNK SHAKESPEARE: Story Title/Sonnet Numbers in the subject line. Any submissions without this information will not be considered for the anthology.
  • We’d prefer inclusion of Steampunk elements in the title of each story, i.e. “Othello, The Half-Machine Moor of Venice” or something similar. 
  • We also welcome interpretations with queer characters, characters of color, non-heteronormative relationships, characters with disabilities, non-Eurocentric settings and other traditionally marginalized narratives in mainstream fiction.
  • All submissions must be received no later than 12 a.m. U.S. Eastern Time on 30 May 2011. There will be no exceptions.
Play Adaptation Guidelines:
  • 10,000 words or less on one scene, act, or aspect of any play from Shakespeare’s canon.
  • Integrate Shakespearean language as best as you can within the context of the story; it’s not required that you include some of Shakespeare’s original lines, but it is encouraged.
  • The play that your story is based on must be recognizable within your version; if you adapt Henry V, the reader must be able to tell it’s Henry V as source material.
  • Any violence or sexual situations should remain within the limits of general audience acceptability. Let the play you're adapting be your guide.
  • You are allowed to submit multiple short stories, so long as you do so by the deadline.
Sonnet Adaptation Guidelines:
  • Adapt any of Shakespeare’s sonnets into a Steampunk version of the same sonnet.
  • The original Sonnet must be recognizable inside your adaptation (i.e. if we the editors can place your version of Sonnet 156 and Shakespeare’s Sonnet 156 side-by-side, we should be able to identify the origin of your version).
  • You may submit multiple sonnets.
Payment is a percentage of royalties. If there are any questions about these guidelines, anthology co-editors Jaymee Goh, Lia Keyes, and Matthew Delman may all be contacted via The Steampunk Writers & Artists Guild webportal at http://www.steampunkwritersguild.com.

NOTE: This anthology will be released through the Steampunk Imprint of Flying Pen Press (http://FlyingPenPress.com) as both a print book and an ebook.


Unknown said...

This is a fantastic idea.I am already dieing to see the results.

Anonymous said...

Is this a paying market?

Anonymous said...

BTW, has everyone read Poul Anderson's A Midsummer Tempest? He noted that in Julius Caesar, a clock struck. Such clocks were a medieval invention. So he concluded that if Shakespeare were a historian, the world would have more advanced technology.

In the novel, the English Civil War and the Industrial Revolution are happening simultaneously.