19 April 2014

Mars (Your Enjoyment)

I imagine you've all been on tenterhooks (which look like this, apparently) for months now, waiting for the announcement of the author and title lineup for the utterly fabulous forthcoming anthology Iris Wildthyme of Mars.

Please now unhook yourselves from whichever tenter you've been occupying, because the time has now arrived when such an announcement can be made, and it looks like this:
Wandering Stars Ian Potter
Lieut. Gullivar Jones: His Bad WeekendDaniel Tessier
Iris: Chess-Mistress of MarsSimon Bucher-Jones
Death on the EuphratesSelina Lock
And a Dog to WalkDale Smith
Talking with SporesJuliet Kemp
DoomedRichard Wright
The Last Martian – Rachel Churcher
Lilac Mars Mark Clapham and Lance Parkin
City of DustAditya Bidikar
The Calamari-Men of Mare CimmeriumBlair Bidmead
Green Mars Blues – Philip Purser-Hallard
Dale, Juliet and Blair will be familiar to readers of the City of the Saved anthologies as the respective authors of 'About a Girl', 'Lost Ships and Lost Lands' and 'Happily Ever After Is a High-Risk Strategy' in Tales of the City; as will Ian, Simon and Richard, who wrote 'The Long-Distance Somnambulist', 'Double Trouble at the Parasites on the Proletariat Club' and 'The Mystery of the Rose' for More Tales of the City.

People who like reading the kind of stuff I write (or who just follow Obverse Books' output) may also be aware of Selina through her Señor 105 e-novella Green Eyed and Grim, and of Aditya through his outstanding short story 'Dharmayuddha' in the Faction Paradox anthology Burning with Optimism's Flames. Both have also written and done other things with comics.

Rachel is a brilliant unpublished author who I've been trying to persuade to write for an anthology since I started editing them. Daniel is the winner of the open submissions competition to choose a new contributor for Iris Wildthyme of Mars: his story is a wonderful sequel to Edwin L Arnold's early, out-of-copyright planetary romance Lieut. Gullivar Jones: His Vacation, also known as Gulliver of Mars.

Finally, Mark and Lance are prolific novelists and authors whose respective most recent works are the zombie novel Dead Stop and the acclaimed biography Magic Words: The Extraordinary Life of Alan Moore. Mark has written for Iris before (in The Panda Book of Horror), but this is Lance's first work for Obverse. 'Lilac Mars' is a sequel to their earlier collaboration, Beige Planet Mars, published in 1998 (and therefore now 15% of the age of Gulliver of Mars).

I'm honoured and proud to have accumulated such a portfolio of talent for my first full-length anthology, and I'm terribly pleased with the stories they've all submitted. The book is designed as a tour of Mars as it appears in fiction, from the classical conception of the Ptolemaic heavens, through early scientific romances, the heyday of the pulps and the later vogue for 'hard SF', to the genre-blending of the 21st century. Along the way you'll find nods to a great many familiar names, plus more poetry, illustrations and maps than you might imagine.

We also have an updated blurb:

The Red Planet.
Everyone agrees about the colour, at least. The rest is up for grabs. 

Is Mars a dead and sterile desert, or teeming with life? 
Are Martians red, green or blue? Nubile and lithe, or monstrously tentacular? 
Are they long gone, or waiting still? How do they feel about visitors? 
Will we become the Martians? What kind of a world might we build on Mars? What myths, new or old, might we create there? 
Oh – and how many different colours can you put in front of ‘Mars’ to make a clever title?

These Marses are of course incompatible, contradictory, and in many cases quite impossible. And Iris Wildthyme has visited them all.

Iris Wildthyme of Mars is due out in the summer. I'll keep you posted when it's ready to pre-order.