After posting up the guidelines for This Patchwork Flesh, the last couple of days got away from me and I haven’t yet had a chance to talk here about that anthology. Allow me to correct that by highlighting the fact that it now exists.
It is a horror anthology. A QUILTBAG horror anthology. A QUILTBAG horror anthology acting as a spiritual successor to Michael Rowe’s Queer Fear anthologies.
Putting this book together is going to be inordinately fun.
And, interestingly, because of the requirements I’m working under, specifically the one that dictates that 90% of the content must be Canadian-authored (I do want to see non-Canadian work for this, so wherever you’re hailing from send your stories in for this one), the book also shifts slightly toward the excellent Canadian-centric horror anthology series that have come before it, namely Mike Kelly’s Chilling Tales books and Don Hutchison’s Northern Frights series. Those are both comparisons I’m entirely happy to acknowledge, given the quality of those books.
But at its heart, This Patchwork Flesh, like Start a Revolution is about putting QUILTBAG characters front and centre. And I’ve already actually had one comment asking about Ally protagonists. Well, indirectly, but the question is inherent in that comment.
And while I don’t want to start enumerating things on the guidelines pages that I don’t want to see (for This Patchwork Flesh alone the list would be ridiculously long) I do want to point out that I’m not interested in seeing stories with Ally protagonists for either anthology.
Ally exists in the letter string that makes up QUILTBAG (A also covers Asexual) to allow for a broader conversation which includes those inside and outside the identifiers denoted by the use of the collective term. It’s a way of creating still greater engagement.
But Allies are not who I’m looking to put front and centre with these books. It would be an act of sidelining the protagonists I want to foreground with these anthologies. And there’s so much other ground that needs covering that I simply can’t see devoting the space to it, even if I didn’t have a problem with the optics and subtext of doing so. Part of which is that using Allies in the stories you send to me would be an easy way of “writing about” QUILTBAG characters without actually writing about QUILTBAG characters, and I will not look kindly on that.
Now, once the submissions start (and possibly in the runup as well) I will be talking about the state of the submissions, what’s showing up, what’s lacking, and what I would like to see more of. This is one of my favourite things about how Silvia Moreno-Garcia handles open calls for her anthologies. (I’ve seen versions of it done elsewhere, too, but Silvia has it down to an art). It creates not only an ongoing conversation between the editor and potential submitters, but gives people a necessary window into the shaping of the anthology itself, a platform for further discussing the ideas and intent behind the anthology. And it affords those looking to write to what an anthology needs the opportunity to see how they might best shape their work to contribute something needed or wanted to cover a broader spectrum of work (see what I did there?).
In the meantime, please keep asking your questions. And please feel free to keep spreading the word. Thank you, incidentally, to those who’ve already done so. It’s much appreciated.