Unnatural Order.

There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them.

–Andre Gide

Cartoon robot with horns and crab legs. (Alis Franklin)

The dragon on her hoard. The horror in its void. The word-spanning AI. The demon reaping souls. Too often fiction portrays the non-human as Other; as a threat to be destroyed, to be conquered… or to be “saved”, assimilated back into the teeming throngs of humanity.

Not this time. This time, it’s the non-humans’ turn. What is life like, to be imperfect. To observe humanity from without? What does it mean to be seen as horrific, to be rejected… and to overcome that? Or embrace it? To embrace it or reject it? And what does our love of these stories tell us can we, as human readers, learn from that about ourselves?

Unnatural Order is an anthology for strange days and grotesque beauty, as the monstrous seeps out from the dark, and makes the light its own.

What we want

  • Maws, paws, jaws, and claws! Fin and fur and fang. Tentacles, scales, steel. The weirder the protagonist, the more alien, the less recognizable, the better!

  • Stories that explore humanity through the lens of the inhuman. What does it mean to be human from the perspective of something that isn’t? Does the question even matter?

  • Romance, adventure, wanderlust, and strange and terrible beauty. The monstrous is just a hopepunk as it is grimdark!

  • Diverse works from people with or without previous publishing credits. Unnatural Order is a chance to showcase stories that might not be picked up by more conservative markets, and we strongly encourage people not to self-reject! We’re much more interested in unique and interesting takes that might be a little rough around the edges than we are in more mainstream stories with “polish”.

What we don’t want

  • Elves, vampires, zombies, “rubber forehead aliens”, and other “humans in light make-up”, either physical or otherwise.

  • Monstrous (in the ethical sense) human protagonists. This is about humanizing stories with non-human protagonists, not… literally the opposite of that.

  • Endless pining for “turning human” or other “cure” stories. It’s time to embrace the monstrous, not reject or erase it!

  • Endless gorn, or other excessive violence-for-violence’s sake.

  • Love and romance are fine (encouraged, even!), but this is not the anthology for full-on erotica.

  • Outright cultural appropriation, tried and offensive tropes, and other thinly veiled rehashed allegories to real-world human groups.

The team

  • Alyssa ‘Lyss’ Wickramasinghe (editor) is Monstrous-Trash, an editor of speculative fiction, and 2019 judge for the Norma K. Hemming Award. She has worked as a freelance editor for many independent publishers, including Odyssey books and IFWG Publishing. She had a Bachelors Degree in Creative Writing from the University of Wollongong, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Editing and Publishing from the University of Technology Sydney. A coloured hair enthusiast.

  • Alis Franklin (editor) is a chronic fangirl, author of queer speculative fiction, and occasional artist. Her novels include Liesmith, Stormbringer, and other works featuring monsters, video games, Norse mythology, and feathered dinosaurs.

  • Rivqa Rafael (publicity manager) writes speculative fiction about queer women, Jewish women, cyborg futures, and hope in dystopias. Her short stories have been published in GlitterShip, Escape Pod, Crossed Genres’ Resist Fascism, and elsewhere, and she recently co-edited award-winning feminist robot anthology Mother of Invention.

The rules

  • Firstly, as is usual for CSFG anthologies, you will need to be an Australian resident, ex-pat, or at the very least a member of CSFG to submit.

  • Submissions will close midnight, 1 November 2019 (AEDT).

  • Stories must be 5,000 words or less.

  • Works must be original and previously unpublished. For the purpose of this, “unpublished” also includes online (e.g. on blogs, forums, etc.) and similar venues.

  • We will consider a maximum of three works per single author.

  • Submissions will be assessed via a “half-blind” submission process (i.e. one editor will read blind, one will not). So while we require all relevant biographical details in your submission, do not put your name, bio, or contact details anywhere in your manuscript.

  • Manuscripts should be in .rtf or .docx format, and in something at least approximating standard manuscript format (double-spaced, indented paragraphs, appropriate margins). Please use a modern, common, paragraph-appropriate serif font. No monospaced fonts. This isn’t 1973.

  • Submissions will only be accepted via the form below. Anything received via any other channel will be sent to the round filing cabinet.

  • Payment will be at least $30 per story and a contributor copy of the anthology. If we are successful in meeting our stretch goal in our crowdfunding campaign, we aim to increase this. The CSFG seeks first print and ebook publication rights, exclusive for one year from the date of publication.

Submit to Unnatural Order.

Submissions are now closed.