Sunday, November 16, 2008

A few people really liked my quick science talk on the last post, so I thought I would post a few science based articles that could help inspire some stories for the anthology.

The story of our planet, is the story of change. In fact, any story worth telling has to do with the fundamental law of change; "what happens." We go through our days wondering "what if...?".
What if I decided not to go to work today?
What if our country goes to war with [any country you can think of right about now]?
What if we ran out of oil?
What if bees or bats went extinct?

Most disaster movies go that route:
What if Earth were hit by an asteroid?
What if global warming forces the climate out of control?
What if the rabies virus mutated out of control?
What if another advanced civilization found us?

In our world, major changes happen along with minor changes. Usually they are the same thing. Changes have a rippling effect. The extinction of one minute species may cause the extinction of ten larger ones. Changes are what cause adaptation. What are we as a species if not an adaptation to the planet? Originally humans evolved into a subtropical climate, but as we have grown, we have found ourselves able to adapt to any climate in the world. It is the nature of our world that forces change out of us. All species of life on earth are the result of their environment's requirements.

That is not to say that animals will easily change to meet their environment, it is that only the animals that can survive (and thrive) in an environment will. It is only by chance that our planet contains the exact diversity that it does. If things had gone slightly different in our past, it may have been our species that went extinct instead of others. But it is all of these slight chances that form the tight machinery of our planet's ecosystem. And it is minute, but constant change that will determine the infinitum of possibilities of our future.

Here are a few things that will perhaps spark your interest and curiosity as you ponder the possibilities:

The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
Phoenix by Osamu Tezuka
Astronomy 161 Podcast by Richard Pogge
Will We Soon Be Extinct article by Josh Clark
Nova PBS ulti-site
After Man: a zoology of the future by Dougal Dixon
Radiolab by Jad Abumrad and Rober Krulwich

thes are a few sources I use to inspire me (at various times) or just generally some of my favorite things.

Monday, November 10, 2008

This is the story of what will be.

All fiction really boils down to the author's interest in what could be. It is with that grand fascination that this project is born: What is the fate of our planet, our home? I believe this is a question we have all asked at some point. The truth, however, is that nearly anything is possible, and given enough time, anything is probable. I'm asking for your ideas. What lies ahead for us? After us? After everything we know?

[skip if science bores you]

In the strictest sense, this project is a grand work of science fiction, so I think I should start with a bit of science fact. The Earth is about 4.5 billion years old (4,500,000,000) and it is made mostly out of debris from the sun's formation (the moon is believed to be a chunk of the earth that was pushed out in early formation). Life has existed on the planet for 3.5 billion years. Humans (genus Homo) evolved about 2.5 million years ago (2,500,000) in Africa, but spent about 90% of that time evolving into modern, Homo Sapien, humans. That's right. Our true story really only begins 300,000 years ago and doesn't even get good until 10,000 years ago when we figured out how to farm. The rest, you probably know.

There is also a little about the future that you definitely need to know. The Earth will most likely be here for about 5 billion more years before it is swallowed by the sun when it goes red giant. Life, on the other hand, has a bit shorter of a time frame. The sun is continuing to age with our planet and as it ages, it will get brighter. Eventually, it will boil the oceans and evaporate the atmosphere (in fact, it already started doing all that). Life on the planet will be completely wiped out in a little less than a billion years (1,000,000,000) but substantial life, like puppies and kitties and people has about half that long. That's still a long time alright, but life has existed for seven times that long already so we're definitely on the butt end of our time here. If you think about it though, that is enough time for (generously) 200 different species to reach the stage we are currently in. Odds are it will be astronomically less, but anything is possible.

[science talk mostly over]

Ok, now to the bare bones of the project. The project will be an anthology of work detailing different stories that take place in our planet's remaining billion years. The only requirement is that they take place on Earth or refer to it. The moon is also acceptable. But that's it, that's the only requirement. They can be any length, genre, form, or size. Do whatever you want as long as it can be printed or posted on the internet (keep in mind videos obviously won't make it into print). All you have to do is submit it to me in some form. That's not to say that anything you submit will be in the final version of the project. I am the editor and as such, I will be choosing from what works and what is the best, obviously. The final product will be an anthology book of substantial length with an introduction by myself and arranged chronologically (or as best as I can) with a timeline.

I want you to think creatively. I don't want fifty submissions of "post-apocalyptic future with werewolves, zombies, and vampires." There's an almost limitless range of possibilities for stories. In a hundred million years, there could be a race of sentient sponge colonies. The stories can also be as minute or grand as you want. From the fate of an entire race or the details of a rabbit-deer-hybrid's bad day. I would prefer it if the stories weren't so grand that I would have trouble fitting them together, but don't let that discourage you from telling the tale you want to tell. In the end, I want a huge range to pick from so that the anthology will have as much variety as the Earth itself.


I'm tentatively setting the deadline for submissions somewhere in January, but I would prefer to be notified much earlier if you are planning to submit. I will be posting the submissions on the blog as I receive them as well as updates and my own work. Please feel free to ask questions as I'm sure to have left a ton of info out as well as let me know what you think.

  • this is not a comic-only project
  • any orientation or shape for your submission is acceptable
  • color is an option, but will drastically alter printing options

this is how it starts