This is not the cover art, this is just a cool picture we found on the internet with the working title stuck on it. (Image is in the public domain, but once belonged to Galaxy Science Fiction magazine)

Submissions are now open for Project Briar Rose (working title) from Manawaker Studio, edited by CB Droege.

Project Briar Rose is an anthology focused on sci-fi stories about specific character traits. This volume will contain short stories only, though we will also accept submissions for cover art.

Some details

The book will be a sci-fi retelling of the first half of Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty), as it was told by the Grimm Bros.

In Galilean Space, a Spincity administrator is bringing a new Android online. It is his plan that this android, codenamed Briar Rose and in a mechanical body resembling a young woman, will succeed him one day in running the city. He invites the most accomplished AI experts from 12 of the spincity’s 13 districts to a dinner party in celebration of Briar Rose; leaving out the expert from the 13th district because she is an unpleasant person. At the dinner, the experts, all women, each approach the android in turn, and program her with a personality trait that she will need to be a good person, and eventually also a good administrator of the city. As they do this, they each tell a story about a person who succeeded, thrived, or overcame adversity due to possessing this trait. When they are finished, the 13th expert shows up uninvited, imbues the android with one unpleasant trait, and tells a story in which such a trait would be needed. There will be a bit more, but that’s the context you’ll need to submit.

The stories

I want thirteen stories from thirteen different authors, each one showcasing one of the traits imbued upon Briar Rose in the framing story. The stories should be some form of speculative fiction, but any of the sub-genres of spec fic, or even some parallel genres, are acceptable. These are the stories which are being told by the AI Experts, but they should not necessarily be in dialog or ‘fairytale narration’ format. They also do not have to fit within the world of the framing narrative. The experts are telling fiction stories within the context of their world, so there are no world-building requirements at all, as long as the setting makes sense for a book of sci-fi stories.

The tricky bit is this: There will be only one story chosen for each trait, meaning there are thirteen slots for stories with specific themes. Each story’s protagonist should overcome the obstacles of the story due to possessing the specific trait. It doesn’t need to be called out in the story (in fact, better if it’s not), but it should be clear, if one is looking for it at least, that the trait is important to the resolution. The characters should not be one-dimensional caricatures of the traits, however.

The protag should be a human or human-ish (especially not a robot or android) and some preference will be shown to protags with minority genders.

These are the traits the experts will imbue Briar Rose with:

– Elegant
– Diplomatic
– Curious
– Graceful (physically)
– Confident
– Humble
– Entrusting (able to delegate)
– Charitable
– Joyful
– Honest
– Empathic
– Savvy (with money or business)
– Vindictive

They will probably not be in this order, except for ‘vindictive’ which will be the final story.

Stories should be 1500 to 5000 words. This is not a hard limit, but stories very much out of this range will be a hard sell.

We are not looking for gore horror nor erotic romance. Works that contain some horror elements or some romantic elements are fine, but we would like the book to remain accessible to young adults and squeamish people. Works which seem particularly hateful or which discriminate against specific real-world groups will be rejected.

Previously published work is okay, if A) it’s over a year past the original publication; B) you let us know where it was published previously, so we can credit them in the book; and C) you can sell the non-exclusive print and audio rights. It’s the submitter’s responsibility to ensure they have the rights to their work before submitting.

If your work is accepted, you will grant Manawaker Studio the right to publish the work non-exclusively (If the work was previously unpublished, we will ask for exclusivity for one year). The work or parts of it may also be used for promotional purposes in print or online. More restrictive rights will be requested for cover art.

Original creators will retain all other copyrights.

Simultaneous submissions are okay, just make sure you tell us right away if your work is accepted elsewhere.

Multiple submissions are okay up to three per author. Please send them in separate e-mails.

Cover

The cover will reflect the plot of the framing story. If submitting a work for the cover, it should be a 600dpi full color illustration 15″x10″ with a bleed area of 1/2″ inch (meaning all of the important elements are within the central 14″x9″ of the illustration, but the background extends to the edge). Leave room on the right hand side of the image for the title, and remember that the spine will run down the middle.

Because this illustration is so specific and labor intensive, we will accept sketched queries. Please also include links to sample artwork in this case.

 

If you’d like to see how it all will fit together, take a look at our most recent previous anthology here.

Compensation

Compensation for inclusion in the anthology will be an electronic copy of the final book and a token payment of:

  • 1c/word for accepted fiction. Half this for reprints
  • $100 (negotiable) for the cover illustration

A sample contract sits here, if you are interested.

Contributors may also order the physical book at a discounted price, so that they may resell it at signings, readings, and shows without having to bump the cost above the MSRP.

How to Submit

All submissions should be sent to submissions@manawaker.com with ‘Briar Rose Submission’, your last name, and the trait your story reflects in the subject line (example: Briar Rose Submission – Droege – Entrusting). Do not pitch or summarize the story. If you wish, include a brief cover letter and a third person bio (65 words max) in the body of the e-mail.  If you’d like a URL for an online portfolio or blog included with your bio, give that as well.

Response times will vary, ranging from a couple weeks after the deadline to three or more months. Generally, rejections will be faster than acceptances.

Deadline for submissions is 31 Dec 2022.

The plan is to publish the anthology in Summer 2023.

Any questions about the project or these guidelines (or any queries after submissions) should be sent to contact@manawaker.com.