We’re back with so much news!

Dear readers, writers, and punks:

We have so much news! Those of you following @sunvaultantho on Twitter might have scene Likhain’s cover photos already, but we are in LOVE with her interpretation of solarpunk. The full cover reveal will happen soon!

 

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The perspective, the colors, the bamboo—we might be biased, but we have the best anthology cover for this year.

While the original plan was to publish Sunvault in May, the publication has been pushed back because, well, things aren’t the best in America right now (sorry, rest of the world). The new publication date is August 29, 2017, and we will be sure to let you know when preorders are available on Amazon.

Even so, we do have a table of contents to share!

 

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We are so proud of the names on this list and can’t wait for you all to experience their work.

Finally, Sunvault will be at WisCon in Madison, Wisconsin! Brontё will be at the convention, so tweet him @BeezyAl if you are attending, too!

Stay hopeful.

Phoebe & Brontё

Interview with Rich Dana of OBSOLETE!

We caught up with Rich Dana at OBSOLETE!, another publishing outlet for the intersection of punk and SF!

Tell us a little about your press and zine?

OBSOLETE! The zine came first, in 2009. I was inspired to do an old-school underground tabloid newspaper, and the first 8 issues were printed in that format, echoing the radical tabloids of the 60s and 70s. Working with my friend and creative partner Blair Gauntt, we worked to tap into the science fiction/political commentary crossover, à la the “New Wave” SF writers if the 60s.  A year or so into the zine, Austin poet W. Joe Hoppe approached me about doing a book, so we did it. Then came a “best of…” anthology, then the AnarchoSF  anthology of anti-statist science fiction, and next thing you know, we’re publishers!

What was the inspiration for starting the press?

I’ve been a zinester since my childhood in the 70’s when I pumped out radical screeds on the ditto machine in the junior high school library. I’ve always loved books. My dad was an english professor and my mom a librarian. I guess it was in my blood! The motivation to do print now, in the 21st century, came out of my frustration with the digital ghetto of the web. I’m not a luddite, I love technology as much as anyone, but I just love print. Reading as a physical act. Books as artifacts and sacred objects.  There is nothing sacred on the web!

The name for the zine and the press comes from an episode of the Twilight Zone called “The Obsolete Man.” In a future totalitarian society, a librarian is deemed obsolete by the state, and sentenced to die. It is a story that stuck with me all my life.  I relate to that librarian!

What was your interest in solarpunk and how do you see the solarpunk movement complementing your press?

Ironically, I was a professional solar installer, as well a first-gen punk. I’m a life-long SF reader and fan, and came of age in the cyberpunk era. I wondered why there were all of these other lame iterations of “…punk” prefixed genres popping up. Elfpunk? I mean…really? I wondered why there was no “solarpunk.” It seemed like the one natural outgrowth of cyberpunk to me. I started writing stories with that in mind, and lo and behold, I later discovered, via the wonderful wonderful web, that others are thinking the same thing! I have no idea how,if or when solarpunk will gel into a real movement, but I’m a 100% supporter of the loose-nit, open source way that it is happening. And of course, the environmental and social justice elements are right in line with the OBSOLETE! ideals.

Do you think speculative fiction needs more punk? What would you like to see?

I agree with the solarpunks that dystopianism is getting worn a bit thin.  Sadly, it never goes out of fashion, because it is still a relevant and real concern. I would argue that there is no punk without the backdrop of dystopia, but T.X. Watson of Solarpunk Press makes the case that revolting against convention is in itself punk. I’m willing to concede that my black leather vision of punk may be outdated. At the advanced age of 54, I’m happy to have my assumptions challenged. I was afraid solar punk might be “one punk too far”,  but I have the feeling that it is only the proto-stage of something bigger to come. A newer New Wave.

For me, I would like to see a return of satire to SF. I’m re-reading Pohl and Kornbluth’s “The Space Merchants” and realized I do miss that biting social commentary. Maybe some people like Scalzi are doing it, but I would like to see people turn a lot more of the current tropes on their heads- the whole gang of Hugo awards lame-puppy space marines need to have their assumptions challenged and SF needs to leave that fascist horseshit behind for once and for all. I think solarpunk might be a significant player in that movement.

What suggestions do you have for people submitting to your zine?

Hey, anyone is welcome to submit. I love to have original work, although I can’t afford to pay pro rates. Previously published work is welcome too. Fiction under 5000 words works best in the zine format. Black and white artwork is good, though I usually run a few color pages too, so that’s cool. Comics, one pagers,poems reviews and essays- check out the free stuff we have on line to get a feel for it.

We are working toward a 2nd volume of AnarchoSF, so if you are of the anti-statist political viewpoint and write SF that reflects that, send it our way.  We are also doing an issue of futurist poetry, so there’s that on the way as well. No deadlines just yet, but I encourage people to send stuff our way asap, and watch the website and FB page.

Interview with Solarpunk Press

Even though Sunvault is closed for submissions, Solarpunk Press is another paying market looking for solarpunk stories! We talked with co-founder Faith Gregory about what solarpunk means to them.

Sunvault:  What drew you to solarpunk and what still inspires you?

Faith Gregory: Honestly, I wasn’t initially interested in Solarpunk. Watson and I worked on the same college newspaper, and they kept bringing it up to me as something I should look into. The idea didn’t really stand out to me, but when they finally got me to look into the community and read some posts, I started to see how important the idea of optimistic speculative fiction is, and that small movements like these are key in changing the socio-political landscape of our respective communities, and how our communities interact with each other.

SV:  There’s some internet chatter about how the solarpunk movement is separate from the genre. How do you see the literature of solarpunk interacting with the solarpunk community as a whole?

FG: I am adamant that the solarpunk movement should NOT be separate from the genre. Literature is so important to activism, so having the genre reflect the movement, and the movement reflect the genre, are going to strengthen both.

SV: What inspired starting Solarpunk Press?

FG: Watson was really the driving factor behind this. We were at Readercon last year (and we’ll be there again this year), and we attended a panel on speculative fiction magazines. Afterwards, Watson was like, do you want to start a solarpunk spec fic mag with me, and I was like, yeah sure, if you can prove to me you can do it. At a mixer with all the panelists, we approached Neil Clarke, Editor of Clarkesworld Magazine, and Watson pitched the idea and very specific details of the magazine to Neil. Neil said they sounded good and that starting the magazine sounded plausible. From that, Solarpunk Press was born.

SV: As an editor, what advice do you have for writers working in the solarpunk genre?

FG: Writing solarpunk fiction has been the biggest writing challenge for me thus far, and I’m much better at spotting it and editing it than I am at writing it, primarily because of my really bad anxiety. So I can really only tell you what it is that I look for in submissions, which is awareness of the world around you, an understanding of cultural differences, and a willingness to embrace criticism and change. If I see that in your writing, along with the penchant for hope that solarpunk really strives for, I’m immediately interested.

SV: Anything you’d like readers to know about Solarpunk Press?

FG: I’d like people to know that Solarpunk Press is a passion project, started and run by two pretty poor people doing everything out of pocket and through our patreon. So if people like what we’re doing and want us to stick around for the foreseeable future, we really need both the patreon support and the submissions of really good solarpunk fiction for us to continue. You can support us at http://www.patreon.com/solarpunkpress and submit your fiction at http://www.solarpunkpress.com/submit

Faith Gregory is co-founder and editor of Solarpunk Press, a magazine for the Anthropocene. They’re a 21 year old working full-time in retail with a double associate’s in journalism and political science, striving to save the money to get back to their studies. They live in Amherst, Massachusetts and look to promote and strengthen queer writers.You can find them blogging at watsons-solarpunk.tumblr.com and samesexgamgee.tumblr.com, and you can hire them at faithgregory.wordpress.com

Thank you!

To our wonderful backers,

We are so excited to bring you the anthology Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation in spring of 2017! It hardly feels like a month has gone by, but what an exciting month it has been! Not only was our campaign fully funded, but we also were able to announce art submissions, give a sneak peek at the cover art by Likhain, and introduce new contributor Nisi Shawl! Best of all, we opened submissions early and already have solarpunk stories, poems, and art filling up our inbox!

Remember, submissions for fiction and poetry are open until June 4th. Art submissions are open until June 30th.

Even though we’re funded, we want to see solarpunk grow beyond this campaign, so keep spreading the word (we know you will!). We’ll be in touch soon with surveys so we can send out backer rewards. Stay in touch on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and right here for Sunvault updates and more solarpunk and eco-spec goodness.

May the Fourth be with you,

Brontë & Phoebe

On the Origins of Solarpunk

Guest post by Andrew Dincher

As a genre, science fiction (SF) has a vague and contentious history. Some would argue that the genre began with the utopian narratives of Early Modern Europe such as Sir Thomas Moore’s Utopia, while others argue that it began with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. On the other hand, some would argue that SF was a unique creation of the late 19th century, beginning with the works of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, then skyrocketing (pun intended) to popularity in the 1930’s with the creation of magazines like Weird Tales, Amazing Stories, and Astounding Science Fiction.

Regardless, SF has a unique ability to speculate on the future of human, and in some cases other than human, existence. Though it would be a mistake to say that all SF examines the negative outcome of human civilization in dystopian and post-apocalyptic narratives, many of the most widely read SF stories highlight the struggles of humanity in an already apocalyptic or dystopian world.

In steps solarpunk, a new movement in SF that examines the possibility of a future in which currently emerging movements in society and culture such as the green movement, the Black Lives Matter movement, and certain aspects of Occupy Wall Street coalesce to create a more optimistic future in a more just world. In the words of Sir Isaac Newton, however: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” Like Newton, the solarpunk movement stands on the shoulders of giants: giants of science fiction.

By its very nature, SF pushes the boundaries of the imagination; speculating on the future, altered pasts, and wildly discordant presents. Throughout the 1950s and into the early 1960s, an era commonly referred to as the “golden age” of science fiction, SF writers speculated on possible worlds and, in a more general sense, adhered to plausible hard SF stories. Authors such as Arthur C. Clarke, Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Alfred Bester all wrote hard SF with an emphasis on the possibilities of the future. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, however, SF began focusing more on the soft sciences with a movement now known as the “new wave.”

Authors such as Samuel R. Delany, Philip K. Dick, Harlan Ellison, James Tiptree, Jr., and Joanna Russ (just to mention a few) were some of the forerunners of the new wave. They wrote stories that focused more on the human condition in technologically advanced worlds, and focused less on science and technology. This is not to say that authors such as Heinlein and Clarke didn’t also discuss the human condition, and that authors such as Delany and Russ didn’t think about technology. But rather there was a shift in the overall tone of SF moving towards the social sciences.

Several pivotal SF novels, however, focused heavily on ecological and environmental themes. Frank Herbert’s Dune, a transitory novel that fits somewhere between the new wave and the golden age, explored the idea of a galactic struggle for “Spice,” a substance that expands consciousness allowing for precognition and faster than light travel. Dune also dealt with the ecology of an entirely desert planet and the struggles of human civilization to survive and adapt in a harsh and unforgiving world.

Similarly, other SF authors have dealt with ecological and environmental issues in their fiction. Ursula K. Le Guin, a new wave writer, deals with environmental and ecological topics in several of her works. “Vaster than Empires and More Slow,” for instance, is a short story that discusses the possibility of an alien planet covered with vegetation that is, in and of itself, a single thinking, living, sentient being. Kim Stanley Robinson, who is currently writing environmental SF, in his novel 2312, sets up a dilemma in which humanity is able to terraform other planets such as Mars and Venus, but is yet unable to heal the wounds done to Earth through climate change. All of the ice on Earth has melted and New York—a still functional city—has been flooded, making it a “Super Venice.”

These authors also tend to deal with social issues involving the environment. 2312 follows many of the conventions that will be used by solarpunk authors by dealing with environmental justice and imagining a solar system in which humanity has found a way to be responsible with its environment. It could almost be considered a solarpunk novel, but since it pre-dates solarpunk, its place in the canon is unclear. Regardless, 2312 is a perfect example of what solarpunk embodies.

Out of these various incarnations and phases of evolutionary twistings and turnings, solarpunk has emerged. As a genre, it sits atop the shoulders of past science fiction visionaries. No one can know exactly what this new genre is destined for, but its origins are clear.

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Andrew grew up in central Pennsylvania. He attended Lycoming College where he double majored in English Lit and History. There, he met his wife and love of his life, Phoebe Wagner. He graduated in the spring of 2015. He has worked as a historical researcher, gardener, and arborist. He is soon to be an Iowa Master Gardener, and plans on getting a Master’s degree in American Studies. He is an avid reader and has studied science fiction literature. Both Andrew and Phoebe hope to one day start an organic farm in central Pennsylvania and to write many novels. He can be found on twitter: @adincher775

Update: Art Submissions!

We’ve reached over 25% of our goal for Sunvault in only a few short days! Thank you to all our backers and everyone who has helped us get the word out on social media. The early and enthusiastic interest shown in this anthology tells us just how much people care about the SF community, art, the environment, and their intersections.

As a celebration of your enthusiasm for the genre, we’d like to announce an addition to the fiction and poetry we’ll be including in Sunvault. Upon full funding of the Kickstarter, we will also open submissions to line drawings and coloring sheets! We’ll also feature one line drawing from our cover artist, M Sereno.

Some short guidelines:

  • Submissions will be open as soon as the Kickstarter is fully funded and stay open until June 30
  • Email all submissions (up to 5) to sunvaultanthology[at]gmail.com with the subject line Art Submission: TITLES
  • We’ll pay artists 15 USD per page upon publication

 

Art has always been a foundational part of the solarpunk community, specifically art nouveau. We can’t wait to see how artists interpret the ideals of solarpunk and eco-speculation!

Thank you for the continued support! You all are awesome!

Phoebe & Brontë