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War Stories is a science fiction military anthology. It’s a Kickstarter project run by editors Andrew Liptak and Jaym Gates with publishing from Apex Publications. The collection of short fiction includes writers from all walks of life; readers will find military veterans, active duty military, Philip K Dick Award winners, Hugo Finalists, Nebula Award Nominees, magazine writers, teachers, editors and many others.
Focused on the men and women who serve in the military, making the hard choices needed to save lives, this anthology showcases the before-, during- and after affects of combat within a science fiction setting. At times dark and other times sarcastic, these are stories that are relevant and exciting from many sides of a conflict. With a little fantasy thrown in for good measure, this promises to be a great collection that any fan of science fiction and fantasy would be proud to own.
This Kickstarter ends November 14.
Toonari Post (TP): Who are Andrew Liptak and Jaym Gates?
Andrew Liptak (AL): I’m a writer and administrator from Vermont. I’ve written about science fiction history, current events and other related topics for the last couple of years for io9, SF Signal, Kirkus Reviews, Blastr and a couple of other places. I also earned my Masters in Military History back in 2009, and write and research Military History.
Jaym Gates (JG): I’m a publicist, editor and author from California. I’ve written military and ex-military characters for some time.
TP: What is War Stories about and how did the project evolve?
AL: War Stories came about when Jaym and I met up at ReaderCon, a convention in Burlington, MA, back in 2012. We were chatting when Jaym said something like ‘you know, I really want to do another anthology’, and I said something like ‘I’ve always wanted to put together a book of Military Science Fiction stories.’ Then, it clicked, and we started talking really quickly at one another.
JG: The history, the technology, the political and social triggers, all those elements of war are fascinating, and could fill endless books. But what does it look like from the ground? What are the stories from the front lines, the aftermath, the hospital? What does war do to the internal landscape of soldiers and civilians? How do we, as humans, survive, recover, move on, break, adapt to the unique and awful stress of conflict?
TP: Who is War Stories intended for?
AL: Science fiction fans, primarily, and the subset of people who like military stories. But more than that, we want to tell some interesting, speculative stories that are relevant. We both felt that the book needs to be able to connect with military and civilian audiences.
JG: The goal of War Stories is to make military SF accessible to existing military SF fans, but also people who are not familiar with the genre, or who consider it irrelevant to them. From the stories we have so far, I think we’re well along that path.
TP: How receptive was Apex Publishing to this book?
AL: Apex is a great independent publisher, and they were interested early on. I think they realized that we could put together something that was away from the norm when it comes to military stories.
JG: I’ve worked with Apex and Jason for years now. I know that he’s open to things that might not get play elsewhere, and I’ve wanted to do a project with them. This just seemed like the perfect opportunity.
TP: Were there other difficulties getting this many authors and literature together?
AL: The major difficulty thus far has been trying to pick out the really good stories! We both invited a number of authors that we knew and have worked with before, and our ‘To Invite’ list got really long. We’re still getting some good stories back from invited authors, but we’ve also opened it up to unsolicited submissions: we wanted to go outside of our familiar networks and see who else might have an interesting story to tell us. We’ve spent much of the summer getting the word out before the Kickstarter launched, and since we’ve opened up for unsolicited submissions after it’s launched, we’ve had some excellent submissions come to us!
JG: Any project with a bunch of moving pieces is going to be difficult, but it’s also so much fun to bring so many viewpoints and voices together.
TP: What are you trying to accomplish with War Stories?
AL: For me, I want to bridge the gap between the military and civilian worlds. There’s a lot of veterans out there who’ll point out that the general public has very little idea of what they do, and from my own observations, there’s a lot of people who make a lot of assumptions about warfare. And, vice versa! This book isn’t going to spell out a lot of answers when it comes to that, but what I hope that it does do is get people thinking about their assumptions, and be inspired to look a little closer at how these things transpire.
JG: There’s a larger gap between soldier and civilian than ever. The average first-world citizen doesn’t know anything about what the average soldier goes through, and the more specialized their training, the more foreign their mindset is to most people. This goes for refugees, activists, and anyone living under the mantle of conflict.
We have an epidemic of veteran suicides, race/culture-motivated hate crime, and generally, a lack of support for the survivors of war. But we also lack a basic understanding of what so many of our fellow humans are going through.
Obviously, that’s the sort of thing that can’t be fixed with one book, but I do hope that it starts helping bridge the gap.
Read about the selection of authors as well as the selection process for the compilation of this anthology in part 2 of our interview.
Image credit: Galen Dara