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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I love John Dee's dungbeetle! His first accusation of witchcraft came out of that! But nowadays, audiences wouldn't be as impressed. It takes a lot more to frighten or shock us now.

I look forward to reading your interpretation of Titus!

 

Catriona Mackay said:

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.

Again not 100% convinced: there's an extant props list for Peele's Battle of Alcazar that includes three sets of sheep entrails for use during a disembowling scene! At least we know that the props in horror movies are fake. (But then again, we're more squeamish about the insides of dead animals than Jacobethan folk were, so it probably balances out.)

Plus I've acted in the space in which Dee flew his dungbeetle, and it's not at all clear what he did. I think it would be pretty impressive even today, though not frightening or shocking.

 

Lia Keyes said:

I love John Dee's dungbeetle! His first accusation of witchcraft came out of that! But nowadays, audiences wouldn't be as impressed. It takes a lot more to frighten or shock us now.

I look forward to reading your interpretation of Titus!

 

Catriona Mackay said:

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.

Catriona, as a writer you must feel free to write the story that feels authentic to you. None of us wish to curb your creativity in any way. As you said before that "lingering, close-up, graphic detail... isn't something I'm interested in doing anyway"  I doubt this will be an issue. Just write the best story you can!

Catriona Mackay said:

Again not 100% convinced: there's an extant props list for Peele's Battle of Alcazar that includes three sets of sheep entrails for use during a disembowling scene! At least we know that the props in horror movies are fake. (But then again, we're more squeamish about the insides of dead animals than Jacobethan folk were, so it probably balances out.)

Plus I've acted in the space in which Dee flew his dungbeetle, and it's not at all clear what he did. I think it would be pretty impressive even today, though not frightening or shocking.

 

Lia Keyes said:

I love John Dee's dungbeetle! His first accusation of witchcraft came out of that! But nowadays, audiences wouldn't be as impressed. It takes a lot more to frighten or shock us now.

I look forward to reading your interpretation of Titus!

 

Catriona Mackay said:

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.

Sorry! I didn't mean to imply I felt curbed or that I have any issues with the guidelines - I definitely don't - I just like waffling on about Renaissance theatre. I'll shut up.

 

Lia Keyes said:

Catriona, as a writer you must feel free to write the story that feels authentic to you. None of us wish to curb your creativity in any way. As you said before that "lingering, close-up, graphic detail... isn't something I'm interested in doing anyway"  I doubt this will be an issue. Just write the best story you can!

Hello! I'm still working out which play I'd like to base my story on, but I'm a bit confused by this guideline as well, sorry!

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

What does "general audience acceptability" mean? Does it mean the general audience of the play we are working with, so (to use Catriona's example) something based on Titus could be as gory as we like, but something based on, say, A Midsummer Night's Dream, not at all?

Or does it mean "general audiences" like a US film "G" rating, so no part of any story should go "over the line"?

The two parts of this ("general audience acceptability" and "Let the play you're adapting be your guide") seem to contradict each other, and any help clearing this up would be appreciated!
Anybody working on an adaptation of Pericles, Prince of Tyre? I've been writing and rewriting for the last couple of weeks on it, but I was curious if it drew other people in. Not exactly Shakespeare's most well-known play.
Yes, I'm playing with an idea based on Pericles. I think lends itself particularly well to steampunk: Cerimon in particular has lots of potential.

Nell Ryan said:
Anybody working on an adaptation of Pericles, Prince of Tyre? I've been writing and rewriting for the last couple of weeks on it, but I was curious if it drew other people in. Not exactly Shakespeare's most well-known play.
I know its wrong....but I just don't know any Shakespeare. 
ROFL! Wasn't it forced down you in High School? I do know that probably doesn't count for much, however... Force-feeding nearly always leads to indigestion.

Jim Placzkiewicz said:
I know its wrong....but I just don't know any Shakespeare.

Apart from the two of you I'm not aware of any others. :)

Lia

 

Catriona Mackay said:

Yes, I'm playing with an idea based on Pericles. I think lends itself particularly well to steampunk: Cerimon in particular has lots of potential.

Nell Ryan said:
Anybody working on an adaptation of Pericles, Prince of Tyre? I've been writing and rewriting for the last couple of weeks on it, but I was curious if it drew other people in. Not exactly Shakespeare's most well-known play.

Lol, not even Romeo and Juliet? 

 

I might have to take a stab at a story for this antho - what's not to love about steampunk and Shakespeare.  The problem is working out which one to mangle...er, wrangle.


Jim Placzkiewicz said:

I know its wrong....but I just don't know any Shakespeare. 

So far we have a Henry V, Tempest and Midsummer Night's Dream to consider. Not that you can't do those ones, too, but we probably will have to choose between them. I know there's a Titus Andronicus in the pipeline, too, but it hasn't been submitted yet.

 

The field is pretty open!



C.J. Archer said:

Lol, not even Romeo and Juliet? 

 

I might have to take a stab at a story for this antho - what's not to love about steampunk and Shakespeare.  The problem is working out which one to mangle...er, wrangle.


Jim Placzkiewicz said:

I know its wrong....but I just don't know any Shakespeare. 

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