David Hallquist takes over the blog today. David was the editor for Tuscany Bay Books’ Planetary Anthology Series: Mercury. In addition to editing the anthology, he also wrote a story for it as well as having stories included in Venus, Mars and Sol. He will share his experience as an editor and tell us a little bit about the stories within.
Planetary Fiction Anthology was a lot of fun to work on and the whole thing started as an idea bounced around by an online community of writers, both amateur and professional. What was the next big thing to work on? I thought that a massive anthology, with one book in each dedicated to a planet in the solar system might be big enough. We’d need a separate editor for each one of course.
The idea had a lot of enthusiastic support, much of it along the lines of “You go do that, then.”
Thus, I found out I’d just volunteered myself to edit the first book in the series: Mercury.
At first I was thinking: how am I going to get stories in for Mercury? This little planet seems to get overlooked in science fiction, with Mars getting the bulk of sci-fi attention and even the asteroids or other dwarf planets and moons seeming to get more focus. More, what would I write to contribute?
One thing that helped was broadening the concept from just science fiction into fantasy as well. Had I not done that then we all would have missed out on some of the truly fantastic and strange tales in the anthology series. On top of that, each planet had a mythic significance associated to it. Thus, Mercury would also be about tricksters and messengers, Venus about love and Mars about war, etc. Then, finally there are all the strange phenomena about each planet to write about, and bizarre little Mercury is as strange a world as any with its unusual composition and odd orbit.
Still, I was worried. What would anyone have to say about little Mercury? Would that tiny cinder near the sun be forgotten and ignored after all? Then, when the tales rolled in I was overjoyed. Planetary Fiction: Mercury contains tales of wonder strangeness of nearly every sort.
Award-winning author John C. Wright gives us an eerie time-traveling epic on Mercury with In the Palace of Promised Immortality. Ben Wheeler treats us to a wild motorcycle race across the planet in Schubert to Rachmaninoff. We get a chilling tale of underground Mercury in Joshua Young’s The Haunted Mines of Mercury. J.D. Beckwith gives us the first faster than light ship near Mercury in Quicksilver.
In Last Call Lou Antonelli gives us a view of a Mercury of the far future, near the end of its life as a mining planet, and about to be forgotten. Declan Finn treats us to the schemes of criminal elements under the domes of Mercury in Deceptive Appearances. A.M. Freeman shows us another Mercury of the far future in The Star of Mercury. In Curcurbita Mercurias has a murder mystery on the innermost planet.
Still, only some of the tales took place on the planet itself. Had we not invited tales of the fantastic, then we would not have had tales like L. Jagi Lamplighter’s The Element of Transmutation where we meet the mythical Mercury himself, or Cory McCleery’s mind-bending trip of the fantastic in Tower of the Luminous Sages. Other tales deal with the concept of travel itself, such as Bokerah Brumley’s Ancestor’s Answer where time travel is used to resolve family honor, or Misha Burnett’s mDNA where a genetic messenger travels the wasteland to save the human race.
What about my story? I set out to craft a tale that would fit the concept of messengers and travel, while set on the planet itself. Mercury is a planet with a lot of mysteries: a strange orbit, a strange composition, and odd magnetic field readings. I love mysteries. So, I put together all of the mysteries along with questions on the Fermi Paradox when crafting The Wanderer. Explorers arrive on Mercury and find a strange structure as old as the solar system deep underground that could be the key for understanding what happened back in the beginning of the solar system and answering questions of life between the stars.
I’ve sent in submissions to the other books Planetary Anthology as ideas came to me. In The Morning and Evening Star, a man gifts the planet Venus to his true love, only to have his life fall apart in a disaster that threatens their marriage. In Rusted Fortress, explorers on Mars discover that the solar system was one the site of a terrible battle at its very beginning. Finally, in the upcoming Sundown and Out (Planetary Series: Sol) , a private detective must solve his biggest case yet: who murdered the Sun?
Finally, the whole Planetary Fiction project would never have been possible without the many creative gems from the contributing authors, and the tireless patience of Jason Rennie, our “Interplanetary Editor” (at Superversive Press) keeping the whole thing on the rails. I was overjoyed when I heard that Tuscany Bay Books was going to imprint the whole series. Thanks again to Richard Paolinelli for making this treasure chest of wonders available to everyone.
– DAVID HALLQUIST