SOLARPUNK SUNSCAPES: OPTIMISTIC VISIONS OF THE FUTURE
Story Length: 500 to 7,500 words
Story Payment: $.02 per word + contributor copy
Poem Length: 5 poems or 5 pages
Poetry Payment: $30 per poem + contributor copy
Submissions Open: September 1 — November 1, 2021
Expected Publication: Summer 2022
Editor: Justine Norton-Kertson
What is Solarpunk?
Solarpunk is a subgenre of science fiction that developed as a reaction to cyberpunk, the decades long dominance of apocalyptic fiction, and a growing desire to tell, read, hear, and watch stories that provide solutions to the very real and potentially catastrophic challenges of climate change. Solarpunk tells optimistic and hopeful stories about future societies (near-future or distant) powered by renewable energy, and where nature and technology coexist in harmony rather than in conflict. This is a subgenre that’s about restoring the web of life that connects us all. It’s about a desire to protect all life, not just human life. It’s about the drive to embrace and empower life, and restore the planet.
Solarpunk futures aren’t usually “perfect” utopias. Well sometimes they are, or at least really close — but not always, not even usually — and even when they come close they are still never without conflict and challenges. But they also are absolutely not dystopias.
A perfect utopia will never be achieved. However, if solarpunk societies haven’t yet reached some sort of utopian ideal, then the communities in solarpunk stories have still either solved, or are at least in the process of optimistically working together to solve or adapt to the climate crisis. They are consciously and collectively working to create a better world that is ecologically sustainable and is also free from racism, patriarchy, greed and inequity, war, hunger, etc. In short, solarpunk stories always highlight diversity and demonstrate how humanity has overcome or adapted climate change and other global social problems.
What I’m Looking For
For this anthology, I want unpublished stories only please. That includes your blog, Patreon, etc. The exception is translations. Translations of work from other languages may be submitted and will be considered.
In addition to hopeful and optimistic solarpunk stories in general, I’m looking for a wide variety of things. I’m looking for stories that take place on land and on sea, underground and up in the air (or space), as well stories that take place in geographically diverse places and communities across the planet. I’m looking for stories that highlight unique solutions and challenges in those different types of places or in different parts of the world.
I’m looking for stories about how future societies have solved, overcome, and/or adapted to climate change and how those solutions are led by and put marginalized communities front and center. I’m looking for Afrofuturism, Amazofuturism, etc (#ownvoices). I’m looking for stories with characters who are demographically diverse (BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, people with disabilities, different religions, geographical regions, etc) and how those identities shape their visions of the future. It’s also wonderful for demographically diverse people to just exist in your story. The theme or plot don’t need to center around identity.
I’m looking for stories about how other species live and survive and view the world in the future, and how they interact with future human communities. I’m looking for stories about racial justice, migration, anti-authoritarianism, animal rights, and fascinating futuristic technology that helps us meet the climate challenge and build a better world.
I’m also looking for solarpunk stories that aren’t mentioned on this short list of possibilities. And of course, I’m always looking for stories with great character development, and stories with compelling conflict and tension even amidst a better and more utopian world.
Need inspiration? I highly recommend the follow solarpunk short story anthologies:
Please email your story as an attachment to storysubmissions13[at]gmail[dot]com with “Fiction Submission: [story title]” Or “Poetry Submission [# of poems] in the subject line.
Please include a brief cover letter to tell me a bit about yourself. Do not summarize your story in your cover letter. Your cover letter is about you. Your story will speak for itself.
Format: accepted file formats include .doc, .docx, or .rtf. Please format your document with 12 pt Times New Roman (or similar) font, double spaced, with page numbers somewhere on each page.
Wordcount: stories between 500 and 7,500 words will be accepted and reviewed. Anything outside that range will not be read.
If you are submitting poetry, you may send up to 5 poems or 5 pages of poetry, whichever is shortest. Anything longer than that will not be read.
Feedback: I’ll respond to every submission with an acceptance or rejection. Unfortunately, I won’t have the capacity to provide individual feedback on stories.
Response Time: You’ll receive an email confirming receipt hopefully the same day, but within 2–3 days of your submission at the latest. I’m going to try to keep up with submissions and read them on a rolling basis as they come in. My goal is to respond to all submissions within 7 to 14 days. Please understand, however, that response times could be longer than that depending on the volume of submissions.
If your story isn’t declined after the first reading, you’ll be notified that it’s been moved on to the second round of reading. The second round of reading will begin once the submission window has closed and all submissions have gone through their first reading.
If you haven’t received a response within 30 days of your submission, please feel free to query through the submission email address.
Simultaneous submissions: you’re welcome to submit your story elsewhere if you’d like. But we’re only using unpublished stories, so please let us know ASAP if it’s accepted elsewhere.
Multiple submissions: NO. Please only send us ONE story for consideration. If you send more than one story, I’ll read the first one, but not the others.
Help Sweeten the Payment Pool: If you would like to make a donation to help increase the amount accepted authors get paid for this project, you can either send me a contribution through Paypal at firstname.lastname@example.org, or email the same address to make other arrangements.
*Thanks to Yishan Wong for his generous contribution of $.01 per word! If you’re an artist, check out Yishan’s Solarpunk Art Contest 2021. Top 10 works of solarpunk art will win $1000 each plus other prizes.
About the Editor
Justine Norton-Kertson is a writer, publisher, musician, photographer, and community organizer. They are the founding editor of Solarpunk Magazine and Black Cat Magazine, and their own work has been published or is forthcoming in over a dozen magazines. They live on a river in Oregon with their partner, puppy, cats, goats, and bees. If they aren’t writing or editing, then they’re probably in their garden, kayaking, recording their next album, reading, or watching Star Trek. They can be found on Twitter, Instagram, and Medium.