Why sci-fi anthologies are a Good Thing…

Last year my sci-fi novella ‘Missionary’ was published in Endless Worlds Vol 1, part of an anthology of seven sci-fi, fantasy and horror stories. That was an initial release pending the issue of the full publication. And that’s out now – paperback, e-book and a very cool new cover.

The anti-hero of my story ‘Missionary’, Cam Suttler.

The thing about anthologies is that there’s something in them for everyone. Back in the old days – well, the twentieth century, anthologies were a staple of the sci-fi world. They spun out of the buoyant ‘pulp’ magazine market of the day, typically reissuing tales that had already seen the light of day but which deserved being re-read. British publisher Victor Gollanzc pushed them out at a rate of knots, often in their trademark yellow cover, often edited by Damon Knight.

They had wide appeal because of their variety – there really was something in them for everyone. Today that magazine market’s less buoyant, but appetites for this sort of genre aren’t reduced.

Endless Worlds is different, though. Every story in it was written for the collection. It’s original. And it’s new. What’s more, the publisher commissioned special artwork for each of the main characters. That was a challenge for the authors. What does your character really look like?

I blathered about mine, Cam Suttler – an alcoholic minister who, somehow, has to do stuff he can’t handle when his ship is confronted by aliens. I had no idea about his appearance. ‘Make him look like Elvis Costello,’ I said. ‘No – Gordon Freeman. No – Costello.’ It’s a tribute to the talent of the artist that he came up with something that instead absolutely captured the vision I had of the character.

The pre-release got some excellent reviews. And now you’ve got the chance to check it out for yourself. In paperback. And on Kindle.

EW Vol I Cover 2 450 px

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2016


6 thoughts on “Why sci-fi anthologies are a Good Thing…

  1. Reblogged this on So, I Read This Book Today and commented:
    As a huge fan of anthologies of all kinds, I can’t help thinking that the more anthologies you write specific stories for, or include a book in, especially a first-in-series, can only help you as an author to get out there and get your books in front of the reading public. While I may be a reader of certain authors in an anthology, or have even read included stories before in ‘standalone’ form, I also find many ‘new-to-me’ authors. Some I don’t care for, and that is fine too, because they will find other readers who DO like their work. But I have very often found authors I wasn’t familiar with who I have added to my “must read” author list. If I like them enough, I will go back and buy their other works as well.

    In the long run, I do believe that writing for anthologies is a wonderful thing, both for the author and for the reader. Getting your name out into the public is hard – working together allows followers of various authors to learn about new authors in their preferred genre, giving each of the contributors a “bump” in their readership. Winner, winner, chicken dinner! 😉

    1. Thank you! Quite true – all the authors in this anthology offer something different. I deliberately tried to write a homage to mid-twentieth century ‘atomic dieselpunk’ sci-fi, which is a bit off the beaten track these days.

      1. I have noticed that a lot of ‘writers’ these days regurgitate what is ‘popular’ instead of reaching for new and unusual. With indie publishing, there is so much more ability to write outside the box, instead of sticking to formula. Sadly, the “write what sells” is just as pertinent in indie as in house. And you can’t blame writers – writing is hard work, margins are small, and getting your name out there is hard, hard, hard. But wouldn’t it be nice if we could all, as readers, encourage those who reach beyond the formula?

        1. Absolutely! I think that homogenisation of creativity has been particularly driven of late by that e-publishing revolution and the reaction of the main houses to the loss of their traditional profit mechanisms. And as you say, environmental pressures in the indie world force the same thing. Breaking the mould could become a loss leader for those who try it, but runaway success in this business was always a lottery anyway.

  2. Ooooo, that cover is awesome! Writing for anthologies is a always good, it’s a way to get your name out there and possibly into some other readers’ hands who you might not have reached before. Congratulations!!

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