I'm proud to announce today CCLaP's latest anthology project; entitled American Wasteland: Bleak Tales of the Future on the Tenth Anniversary of 9/11, it will be coming out this September, and submissions for it are now officially open. This is basically my response to what I suspect will be a lot of overly positive books that will be coming out later this year, featuring a lot of "can-do spirit" and conveniently overlooking many of our current problems, a chance for frustrated writers to talk about what they see as the real state of American society here ten years after September 11th; and I admit, partly I hope for this to be a look at what life would likely be like these days if we had remained under Bush-like leadership this entire time, a reminder that hopefully will prove handy for the coming 2012 election. What I've done is basically envision a dark alt-future US, a shared universe that all the stories in the anthology will base their internal rules around, described on the submission page using the following paragraph:
"Welcome to alt-history 2021. Twenty continuous years of Tea Party control (Bush, Bush, McCain, Palin, Palin) has left the United States a wrecked shell -- a place where fruit is scarce and gasoline $20 a gallon due to a comprehensive embargo by a united Middle East and South America, where a rotting infrastructure leaves huge portions of the country without electricity for a few random days every month, and where a lack of a stimulus plan has led to the closure of over half the nation's banks and retail outlets. The ever-dwindling rich elite live in fully militarized closed communities within ecologically renovated former urban centers, where they bicycle from work to home to shopping through lush, cutting-edge green spaces; while the poor now squat in entire abandoned suburbs full of crumbling half-finished McMansions, living hard neo-frontier existences and simply not able to afford the move to the glittering carless inner-cities. Voter apathy and rampant corruption has turned Congress into a virtual Soviet-style closed cabal, even if still paying lip service to open democracy; and its more hawkish members are not only encouraging the formation of neighborhood 'Bible-based courts' as an alternative to a now completely ineffectual secular justice system (ironically citing Islamic law as a legal precedent), but are attempting to initiate a major military occupation of the nearly lawless Mexico, claiming that it will boost the US out of its two-decade Great Recession and citing the 19th-century Manifest Destiny argument as justification. And what will you be doing on the twentieth anniversary of 9/11, a date now complete with its own doomsday cult, and which most people believe will see another apocalyptic event triggered by these religious fanatics?"
Other than not contradicting these statements, then, I'm encouraging submitting authors to go in whatever unusual or creative direction they'd like with their own stories, and to write in whatever style or genre they wish. Since I'll be technically giving this out for free, just like all of CCLaP's other books, there is unfortunately no upfront pay involved with successful submissions; I will, however, be throwing a big party in Chicago in September to mark the book's release, and participating authors will get free food and drinks at that, and they'll also be receiving free CCLaP t-shirts later this year, once I finally get the center's new merchandising program up and running. Most importantly, though, this is an opportunity to write something smart and interesting for a wide new audience, and to help create a document that will hopefully tell future generations more about 2011 than this spate of "Yes We Can" pollyanna trifles we're bound to see by the armload later this year. Deadline for submissions is July 4th, so don't dawdle for too long; as always, I look forward to seeing what you have to say.