April 11, 2011

Only three months until the "American Wasteland" deadline!

American Wasteland: Bleak Tales of the Future on the Tenth Anniversary of 9/11

Just wanted to remind everyone that we're now three months away from the submission deadline for CCLaP's latest anthology, a compilation of stories entitled American Wasteland: Bleak Tales of the Future on the Tenth Anniversary of 9/11. If you're not familiar with the premise yet, here's a reprint of its synopsis over at the submission page itself:

"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?"

So basically, all submitted stories should have something to do with at least one aspect of the above speculative scenario, if not more; it's essentially my way of reminding future Americans of just how close we came to becoming a fascist, completely broken society in the years following 9/11, in a time when this coming tenth anniversary is sure to be filled with sugary sweet revisionist histories about Bravery and Honor and Courage. This is a chance for both you and me to remind the future of what actually happened in America in the Bush years following 9/11, and I hope you'll take this opportunity to put together a few cautionary words yourself.

Remember, since it's being mainly distributed electronically for free, contributors unfortunately do not get paid; I am, however, throwing a big release party for it here in Chicago full of free food and liquor for contributing authors, which I'm gleefully happy to announce will be taking place at Quimby's Bookstore in Wicker Park on the actual weekend of September 11th. (I'm also going to have a limited edition of hardbound, handmade copies of the book available for sale, and contributing authors will get to buy them for merely the cost of material; but more about this in the contributor mailing list later this year.) Anyway, the deadline is July 4th, so I hope you'll get in gear if you're planning on contributing; I've received around half a dozen submissions so far, from all across the US but especially here in Chicago, and it's looking likely that this will be a nice wrap-up as well of most of the working short-fiction authors in the city here in the early 2010s. I hope you'll have a chance to participate as well!

Filed by Jason Pettus at 9:11 AM, April 11, 2011. Filed under: Arts news | CCLaP Publishing | CCLaP news | Chicago news | Literature |