Call for Submissions: Steampunk Shakespeare Anthology!

Matt's Note: Here it is, folks, the much-awaited submission guidelines for the Steampunk Shakespeare anthology.

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 the 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.

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So, anybody else doing this?  I'm planning on it, assuming I can find the time between projects.
Yes, I think I'll give it a try. A deadline to meet always helps the concentration aspect. Now I'll have to find my copy of , "The Complete Works of Shakespeare"; the one with all the tiny type. Of course that does make the big words smaller. Best to all, Dave H
Great, David! You can find a link to an online version of The Complete Works at http://steampunkshakespeare.com

David Haugh said:
Yes, I think I'll give it a try. A deadline to meet always helps the concentration aspect. Now I'll have to find my copy of , "The Complete Works of Shakespeare"; the one with all the tiny type. Of course that does make the big words smaller. Best to all, Dave H

I'm arranging my real life/real job calendar as best as I can, so that I'll have a few days to work on this.
I love the concept and would love to be part of it.

Back in 1987 (ouch! Am I old or what?), together with my obviously misguided girlfriend of the time, we proposed a Victorian/Edwardian version of Bill Shakes' "As You Like It", to be produced as a students activity in our high school.
They laughed us out of the teachers' room.
I'd say it's high time for a second shot at the idea...

For clarification, as at various points the description says: scene; act; play; story.  Are you looking for straight prose or an actual drama?

 

Then, is it acceptable to re-work only one act rather than the entire drama if it will include enough of a narrative arc to be of interest to someone only marginally familiar with the original text? 

We're looking for short stories, Ettrick, and yes, it would be fine to re-work only one act if you can give it a reason for being. Short stories tend to be more about sharing a specific moment or experience or emotion, rather than taking in the entire sweep of a person's life, but having said that, some writers can pack a lot into a short story!

Lia


Ettrick said:

For clarification, as at various points the description says: scene; act; play; story.  Are you looking for straight prose or an actual drama?

 

Then, is it acceptable to re-work only one act rather than the entire drama if it will include enough of a narrative arc to be of interest to someone only marginally familiar with the original text? 

I agree!!!

Davide Mana said:

I'm arranging my real life/real job calendar as best as I can, so that I'll have a few days to work on this.
I love the concept and would love to be part of it.

Back in 1987 (ouch! Am I old or what?), together with my obviously misguided girlfriend of the time, we proposed a Victorian/Edwardian version of Bill Shakes' "As You Like It", to be produced as a students activity in our high school.
They laughed us out of the teachers' room.
I'd say it's high time for a second shot at the idea...

Do we have to adapt a play as a play, or can we do a scene as a story?
Lola, we very much want stories, not plays! And adapting a scene as a story is a great idea.

Lola Batling said:
Do we have to adapt a play as a play, or can we do a scene as a story?

Another question. I'm confused by this guideline:

Any violence or sexual situations should remain within the limits of general audience acceptability. Let the play you're adapting be your guide.

The two sentences seem a bit contradictory to me: I am developing an idea based on Titus Andronicus, but if I let the play be my guide then obviously my version will include sex and violence that goes beyond most reasonable interpretations of "general audience acceptability".

Do you mean that the bits of Shakespeare which contain violent and/or sexual situations which are beyond the limits of general audience acceptability are basically off-limits for this project (unless totally reimagined to be suitable for 'general audiences'), or do you just mean that we shouldn't take things further than Shakespeare himself did?

Ahhhh, Titus. I wondered when this one would come up. I guess the reason we seem a bit schizophrenic on this issue is that some of Shakespeare's plays, like Titus, have scenes that nowadays we can present in amazing close-up detail. The thing is, in Shakespeare's day, there was a limit to how realistic they could make things on a stage. So the presentation would be limited by the technology and inventive capabilities of the day. People would know what was being portrayed, but it wouldn't be the same as a graphic modern day rendition on film with special effects and in technicolor. Likewise, in fiction, we can describe things more graphically than a play production is able to. Do you see?

We don't want to lose half our readership because of excessive relish of graphic content, in other words. Can you get Shakespeare's intent across, which was  to shock, but not to have people barfing in the aisles and running from the theatre? Is the Steampunk interpretation bringing something new to the reading of Titus? That's what we're looking for.


Catriona Mackay said:

Another question. I'm confused by this guideline:

Any violence or sexual situations should remain within the limits of general audience acceptability. Let the play you're adapting be your guide.

The two sentences seem a bit contradictory to me: I am developing an idea based on Titus Andronicus, but if I let the play be my guide then obviously my version will include sex and violence that goes beyond most reasonable interpretations of "general audience acceptability".

Do you mean that the bits of Shakespeare which contain violent and/or sexual situations which are beyond the limits of general audience acceptability are basically off-limits for this project (unless totally reimagined to be suitable for 'general audiences'), or do you just mean that we shouldn't take things further than Shakespeare himself did?

The thing is, in Shakespeare's day, there was a limit to how realistic they could make things on a stage. So the presentation would be limited by the technology and inventive capabilities of the day. People would know what was being portrayed, but it wouldn't be the same as a graphic modern day rendition on film with special effects and in technicolor. Likewise, in fiction, we can describe things more graphically than a play production is able to. Do you see?

Yes, I think so. You're saying that extreme violence is OK as part of the plot, so long as we don't show it in lingering, close-up, graphic detail. Which makes a lot of sense, and the latter isn't something I'm interested in doing anyway.

As an aside, the limit to how realistic Jacobethan theatre could be is much higher than people think: the last production of Edward II I saw was at the Globe and didn't use any special effects that Shakespeare didn't have, and was easily more horrific than any horror film I've seen. At least four people fainted. Plus there was John Dee and his flying dung beetle.

Anyway, thank you for answering my question so quickly and for making this exciting project happen. I'm looking forward to reading the book whether or not I get anything in it.

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