Allen Ashley, editor of forthcoming anthology “Where Are We Going?”, posts:

Posted: April 14, 2011 by eibonvale in For Writers

I’ve been asked to elaborate a little on what I’m looking for with this anthology, so here goes. As I state in the guidelines, I’m not after quests with magic swords or rings of power and other sub-Tolkien or quasi-mythical material. One of the ways of seeing the remit is “Earth is still an alien planet”. It might be helpful if I can give an example from one of my previous projects, “Catastrophia” (PS Publishing, 2010). This had a disaster story theme but I took a couple of journey stories for the book. One of them was Joe Essid’s “Something For Nothing”, which reminded me strongly of J. G. Ballard’s early travelogues. In this tale, the author postulates a world where reality itself has been altered by people’s experiments with accessing a form of sub-atomic power (I think!). The opening line is: “Do not go into Bent places, the old folks tell us.” and immediately one knows that at some point in the narrative that stricture is going to be broken. Essid creates a warped world where the usual physical laws do not quite apply – objects are stretched out to impossible lengths; a suspension bridge hangs unsuspended; a legendary character – The Glass Man – prowls this crystalline jungle waiting to attack foolhardy explorers. It’s a tense, moving story as the youthful narrator sets off into the Bent lands, partly as a rite of male passage and partly to impress the female schoolteacher he not so secretly lusts after.  It’s near future and it’s slightly post-apocalyptic although the disaster is still unfolding as fissures and ruptures continue to appear regularly. The story is imaginative and thought-provoking with a sustained emotional impact. It’s about ordinary people – not superheroes or chosen princes – undertaking a challenging journey from which they will not emerge unscathed. All the characteristics one would want from a submission to “WAWG”, in fact.

So, be inventive, deal with important themes, take me somewhere I’m intrigued by but a little wary of visiting. Impress me, that’s all you have to do. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?

More news soon. Thanks. – Allen

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