Parallel Prairies: Stories of Manitoba Speculative Fiction

Parallel Prairies: Stories of Manitoba Speculative Fiction, aspires to be a made-in-Manitoba anthology of speculative fiction. We want writers who live in Manitoba, or who call it home but may live elsewhere, to show us how these flat lands have shaped their perception of the weird and wonderful.

To us, good monster stories aren’t really about the monsters. They’re at their best when they reveal something about the human condition. A dragon is a visual feast, with its hard scales, fearsome talons and steel-melting breath. But it’s the knights in those stories, grinding their boots into the mud and drawing their swords against tremendously bad odds, who teach us about valour. A ghost is scary and gruesome, but it’s the paranormal researcher (or unlucky homeowner) creeping through the halls, revealing only what a flashlight’s beam allows, who teaches us about fear. Speculative fiction is unlike myth in that its status doesn’t shift from accepted truth, to fiction over time. But the messages remain.

Real life, while full of its own wonder, slips into mundanity, with each person preoccupied with the day-to-day. A forest trail is pretty, and the air is fresh, but it becomes something more when one’s eye can imagine spirits, gnomes and elemental beasts hiding just beyond the ridge, or under a leaf. Better to live in a world with faery, than to go without.

That’s what we want to do here: to rip open the portal to those other worlds and inject that magic into our own humble, prairie province. We want writers of all backgrounds to bring the wonders and devils of their myriad worlds into this project. Show us what lives, hidden from view, in the tall grasses, in the northern expanses, in the bowels of our province’s plentiful lakes. Show us what might become of our society if it endures for one hundred, five hundred — a thousand years from now. Or, show us what it might have looked like a thousand years ago. Wherever your muse takes you.

In Manitoba, we find ourselves in a geographic centre, standing at the crossroads of a continent. Who knows what we might find at that intersection?

Sincerely,

Darren Ridgley and Adam Petrash

Editors

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About the editors

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Darren Ridgley 

Darren Ridgley is a journalist and speculative fiction writer originally from Killarney, Manitoba, and now residing in Winnipeg.

His work has previously been published in the Fitting In: Historical Accounts of Paranormal Subcultures anthology, and magazines including Polar Borealis and Fantasia Divinity. Fantasia Divinity later selected his work for its Best of 2016 anthology.Other short fiction is forthcoming in Empyreome magazine.

He’s not always a grouch, but he does have a brand to maintain.

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Adam Petrash

Adam Petrash is a writer, poet, and former journalist.

He is the author of the novella, The Ones to Make it Through (Phantom Paper Press 2015), which went to #1 on the McNally Robinson’s Best Sellers list, and his fiction has appeared in the anthology Fitting In: Historical Accounts of Paranormal Subcultures, and in places such as CHEAP POPDevolution ZLuna Luna Magazine, and WhiskeyPaper.

His story, Greater-than, Less-than, won first place in the Winnipeg Free Press/Writers’ Collective of Manitoba Marie Barton Postcard Contest in 2015.

As a poet he’s published the chapbook a. (Spacecraft Press, Calgary, 2015) and his poems have appeared in places such as After the PauseLemon Hound, and the Winnipeg Free Press. 

As a journalist he’s written articles, book reviews, and interviews for Canstar Community News, Drums Etc Magazine, The Manitoban, The Uniter, The Winnipeg Free Press, and The Winnipeg Review.

He lives and writes in Winnipeg.

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Submissions

Update: Submissions are now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted to Parallel Prairies. We are reviewing submissions and intend to send out acceptance and rejection notices as soon as possible.

Send submissions to parallel.prairies.submissions[at]gmail.com. Please include a cover letter with your name, the title of your story, the total word count, and a short bio, including any previous credits. Your bio should also include your connection to Manitoba. Beyond that, tell us about yourself! We’re not sticklers for an overly formal biography — but try not to make it too long.

Submissions should be in .docx or .doc format and follow standard manuscript format. Please include your name, mailing address and the word count of your story on the first page.

Authors whose work is accepted will be paid $25 for stories up to 3,500 words and $50 for stories 3,500-7,000 words in length.

No multiple submissions, please. Let us know if your submission is a reprint. We would prefer to see new stories for this project, but we may consider a reprint if the piece is particularly strong.

Deadline: May 31, 2017