Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Original Biopunk Stories Wanted

I will be editing a special biopunk-themed issue for UK-based horror/scifi/fantasy magazine Morpheus Tales. We are looking for cover art and story submissions. If you're interested in contributing please read on. If you're not, but you know somebody else who might be, please spread the word.

From William Gibson’s groundbreaking Sprawl trilogy to the Wachowski brothers’ highly entertaining, if also highly derivative, Matrix trilogy, the literary subgenre known as cyberpunk has seen crossover success in just about every entertainment medium. Ditto for steampunk, which has even made its way into everyday forums such as home d├ęcor and fashion. Biopunk, on the other hand, has not yet seen nearly the amount of exposure as its literary kinfolk. One of the main reasons for this is undoubtedly the limited amount of work that this subgenre has produced thus far.

For those who don’t know, biopunk fiction, in short, looks toward a future (or at an alternate present) in which the biotechnology revolution affects everyday life. Look at it like this if it helps: cybernetics and cyberspace are to cyberpunk as biology and biotechnology are to biopunk. The “punk” comes from the subgenre’s frequent use of dystopian settings and the political (or perhaps more accurately, apolitical) implications of the open-source philosophy to which many real-life biopunks (aka biohackers) subscribe. Some seminal works of biopunk fiction are the films Gattaca and Splice; the comic book serial Fluorescent Black by writer MF Wilson and artist Nathan Fox; and perhaps most importantly, the book Ribofunk by Paul Di Filippo, who has actually cited H.G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau as a precursor to the subgenre.

Morpheus Tales is looking for short works of biopunk fiction for an upcoming special. As always, try to think outside of the box. You don’t have to steer entirely clear of the genre’s main tropes (after all, not too many have been established), but we’re not going to publish a handful of stories about clone armies alongside another handful about Dr. Mephesto’s four-assed turtle and other such genetic oddities. Also, biopunk stories have for the most part taken on a dystopian tone so far, but there’s nothing saying that this has to be the case. Try utopian, try ecotopian, try whatever you like so long as it’s original and readable.

Deadline for submissions will be July 31, 2012.

Please put "Biopunk Special Issue Submission" in the subject of your email and send to:

Other than that, all regular Morpheus Tales submission guidelines apply: no simultaneous submissions, standard manuscript format, only high quality character- or plot-driven stories of no more than 3,000 words.

The Biopunk Special Issue will be available as an ebook and via print-on-demand services. Contributor copies will be in ebook format.

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