Dark Beyond The Stars is a wonderful new science fiction short story anthology just released this week. I reviewed it early on and highly recommend the collection for space opera buffs. (Find my review here.)
I was curious about how the collection came about. I’m friends with Patrice Fitzgerald all the way back to our days writing WOOL fanfic and think she is a great person to know in the current day in indie publishing. As it turns out, Patrice took some of the lessons she learned seeing Samuel Peralta shape The Future Chronicles series and decided to play around as the curator and publisher of her own science fiction anthology. I think she’s done an amazing job, taking the things Future Chronicles does well, and adding in her own touches of flair.
Here are some words from Patrice on how the anthology came about and all the amazing talent that went into it:
The truth is that this idea came from many of us knowing each other and having great enthusiasm for all the wonderful stories we were reading by our friends. The idea of a space opera collection was so wide open (literally!) that we decided to jump in and explore it. Kind of a “Hey kids, let’s put on a show” mentality. So we did.
And it’s fair to say that the results have been stunning. Fabulous stories, an incredible response from readers, and a bestseller right out of the gate. DARK BEYOND THE STARS jumped to #1 in SF Anthologies on the Amazon charts on launch day, and was also in the top spot in SF Time Travel. The same position showed up in the UK and Germany. Maybe other countries, too, but we were so busy collecting accolades we didn’t see all of them!
What inspiration did Samuel Peralta serve?
Sam Peralta organizes a dozen anthologies in the time it takes the rest of us humans to choose a title. He made it look easy. Turns out, there are lots of moving parts!
But after watching the Future Chronicles explode onto the science fiction radar screen, we knew it was doable. And it is truly an amazing time to be writing and publishing when you can come up with a concept, act on it, and have a finished product on sale within less than a year. Boggles the mind… and yet, here it is. A real book, and people are reading it in droves.
I don’t want to ignore that all the authors are women. Was that a conscious decision and why?
It wasn’t so much a decision as a group of friends saying we wanted to create an anthology together. And we did, while coincidentally remaining female.
We don’t mind at all that we look cool and radical in staking out our position that women can write science fiction. But that’s not news. From Mary Shelley of “Frankenstein” fame to Octavia Butler, P.D. James, Margaret Atwood, Ursula Leguin and beyond, women have been writing in this genre for a long time. It just happens that there is some conversation about this at the moment.
How important were the ancillary parts — David Gatewood, Julie Czerneda, the cover?
We love that cover! Julie Dillon, who just received her second Hugo Award, had several pieces of original art available that were created in connection with a glorious book of illustrations she financed through Kickstarter. I found her art and the only challenge was deciding which piece to use of all her excellent work. We may try to purchase another for the next book in the Beyond The Stars series, which will come out in November.
The text on the cover was done by the talented (and patient) Kendall Roderick. She was recommended by several of our authors, and she did satisfying and professional work. We will definitely go back to her.
Julie Czerneda was gracious enough to write us the Foreword that helped pull the entire collection together. A wonderful author in her own right, she hopes to be able to contribute a story to one of our anthologies in the future.
And David Gatewood? What can you say about David? He’s the editor you want when you need to have every story shine. He put a lot of his own heart and soul into this anthology. And of course, he’s the only man we let into the clubhouse. So you know he’s special.
In truth… we will have male writes in the next anthology, including Sam Peralta. At least, he is welcome into the November anthology if he can find a moment in between spearheading new anthologies to write us a story!
What do you hope people get out of the collection?
I would love to think that they are surprised by some of the stories, and even disturbed by some. And certainly entertained.
The great gift of science fiction is to bring to life new worlds and new ways of contemplating the world we know. The great joy in writing it is to have a huge canvas on which to paint bold ideas.
Are you pleased with the response to the anthology?
The debut of DARK BEYOND THE STARS is beyond (I had to say it!) anything we could have dreamed of. We are humbled by the response from fans old and new, and encouraged by the reviews and the number of books sold.
Both of those realities make it easier to dig in and get ready to do it again for the November release. But the primary reason I’m going to publish another one is that it is great fun to get together with your friends and create. The fact that it gives joy to others is just a side benefit.
Thanks, Will, for having me!
Patrice Fitzgerald is the Series Editor for the Beyond The Stars anthologies as well as an author, publisher, attorney, and occasional opera diva. Her books include Karma of the Silo, a dystopian story based on Hugh Howey’s WOOL, Running, a political thriller about two women competing for the U.S. presidency, and a boatload of sci-fi shorts, including three included in the first several Future Chronicles.
You can find DARK BEYOND THE STARS in digital and print form at http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Beyond-Stars-Patrice-Fitzgerald-ebook/dp/B0147F216Y.