(This is the Official Website for the Strange Economics anthology; it is updated regularly and maintained by the editorial staff of Strange Economics)
Strange Economics is an anthology of original, high-quality stories that explore economic ideas through speculative fiction: money in worlds of magic, trade in worlds of advanced technology.
Update: our Kickstarter has been successfully funded. Please sign up for our email list to get an update when the anthology becomes available.
The stories contain world-building that probes alternative economies; fantastic scenarios with economic implications; engaging plots that show the effect of alien economic systems on the lives and relationships of individuals within. In short, these are gripping stories set in fantastic worlds with intriguing and imaginative economic arrangements.
Here are two possible cover designs (one SF one fantasy):
We are compiling high-quality science fiction and fantasy stories to contribute to the literature of ideas. We want stories that stick with you long after you’re done reading—stories you want to talk about and share with your friends. We want stories with depth that demonstrate a different way of looking at the world, stories that envision an alternative reality or explore philosophical concepts, presented in the form of a compelling narrative.
All of our stories explore ideas through personal drama. They feature characters we care about caught in difficult struggles. They are page-turners with a strong hook, gripping narrative momentum, and a satisfying resolution.
We believe diversity is a strength, especially in storytelling. We encourage submissions from individuals from marginalized communities or historically disenfranchised groups. We want a diverse range of voices. We want to hear stories from people who can speak on behalf of perspectives that have been underrepresented in the genre, and in society at large. Diversity enriches our stories, and it enriches our lives.
General Submission Information:
- Payment: we pay a semi-professional rate of CDN 1.5 c/w. Payments will be made via Paypal within a month of publication.
- Revised Submission window: submissions open until January 31, 2018, 11:59PM.
- Reprints: we are accepting original, unpublished stories only.
- Length: we are looking for stories up to 10,000 words. We are more interested in stories in the 2k to 5k range.
- Poetry: we are not accepting poetry for this anthology, sorry. Keep your eyes open for our future anthologies, though. We have a few editors interested in poetry.
- Simultaneous submissions: simsubs are okay, but please let us know if your work is accepted elsewhere.
- Multiple submissions: please send us only your best work, and wait for a response before submitting something else.
- Rights purchased: we are seeking 6 month exclusive world rights in print and electronic formats; non-exclusive rights thereafter.
- Formatting: we ask for standard manuscript format.
- Anonymity: please include your name and contact information in your manuscript, as per standard manuscript format.
- Cover letter: a short cover letter is fine.
- E-mail header for submissions: ‘Submission: “<story title>”, by <your name>’. note: formatting your header incorrectly may result in your story being automatically deleted by e-mail filter.
- Include your story as an attachment in rtf format (if converting your story to rtf creates formatting problems for you, it will for us, too).
- Send submissions to strangeeconomics at gmail dot com.
- Projected date of anthology completion: August 2018
Some Ideas/Prompts for Stories
Here is a short list of ideas/images/suggestions that might spur your imagination, or give you an idea of the sort of things we’re looking for. This list is meant to be expansive, not limiting -we are using the broadest possible interpretation of “economics” for our theme. If you’re not sure if your story fits, submit it, and we’ll decide for you.
Here are some ideas or possible starting points:
- Job market implications of genetic engineering and “designer babies” on society: Do parents seal the employment fate of their children? Why would anyone engineer their children for the jobs no one wants?
- What kind of work will people do when human labor is no longer necessary? Does work still exist? How are resources distributed? How do people spend their time? Explore these question in a SF world, where robots and AI have eliminated the need for work, or a fantasy world, where magic or gods have eliminated the need for work.
- Supply and demand in a world of magic: a critical spell/ritual ingredient is in short supply.
- Some people think capitalism is the final stage of human history, and no other systems are going to arise. If that’s right, what will the capitalism of the future look like? If that’s wrong, what other system might take its place? Tell a story about either of these futures.
- A market for human souls: a “collector” who makes their living selling souls to demons, but questions where to draw the line (and by extension, the variable value of human life).
- How will interplanetary trade work? What might go wrong?
- A story that illustrates the prisoner’s dilemma in an SFF context.
- A story that illustrates the sunk cost fallacy in an SFF context.
- A story that illustrates negative externalities in an SFF context.
- An SFF story that illustrates irrational economic behavior, or how biases/beliefs/ psychological predispositions sometimes make us act in ways that don’t seem to make economic sense.
- There is an asteroid worth $10,000,000,000,000,000,000. What would happen if someone managed to collect it? Write a story about the company that makes this happen, and what happens as a result.
- Global warming will create new economic challenges over the next hundred years. Write about one or more of those problems, and how people deal with them.
- Space Tourism. Write about the business in the near-future.
- Mars or moon colonies. Some run by China, one run by NASA, some run by multinational corporations. Tell a story about the differences in how they’re run, and the potential conflicts that arise, for example, when resources are scarce.
- Pollution is an example of a market failure. Tell a story about how a future society tries to deal with this market failure. Come up with a policy solution, and tell a SF story about why it works, or doesn’t. Or, create a fantasy analogy for pollution, such as a side effect from using magic. Maybe using spells releases demons into the wild. Should the peasants be expected to deal with the demons? Or maybe the peasants get fed up with the wizards not dealing with the problem.
- Space pirates.
- Corporate neo-feudalism.
- What if the gap between rich and poor continues growing? Is there a breaking point? What does that look like?
- The future of cryptocurrency or bitcoin.
- Disruptive technologies. Driverless cars and the shipping industry. What does it do to the economy?
- Conspicuous consumption in a world of super advanced technology, or god-like magic.
- Does the world’s oldest profession still exist in a post-scarcity economy where working has become optional?
- Are there alternative economic systems that could be better than capitalism? Write a story about one to illustrate why it succeeds or fails.
- Go to this website on Economic Science Fiction and scroll through the list of topics. See if any of them interest you, and write a story about it in a SFF context.
Hopefully some of these suggestions have given you ideas for stories to write.