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Artist, Heather Oliver             

The Successor to The Other Half of the Sky

Other Half 160Those who have followed my tangled trajectories know that two years ago I dreamt of literary mythic space opera with women protagonists in universes where they’re fully human. The anthology that resulted from this dream, The Other Half of the Sky, appeared in April 2013 on my dad’s nameday.

The anthology received unanimously rave reviews
in venues ranging from Library Journal to Analog, was in the Locus recommended list, four of its sixteen stories were selected for “Best of” compilations, and one of its stories won the Nebula for best novelette and is a Hugo finalist. A slew of like-minded anthologies followed in its wake, several from larger presses who felt that in these circumstances a plunge into “uncharted” territory was less risky than they thought (of course, when the time for big-noise interviews came, they were invited; I was not).

Altogether not bad, for the first genre outing of an editor with a tiny (though swashbuckling) press. But that was the past; and we restless wanderers are always scanning the horizon ahead. The foray whetted my appetite for more exploration. And since one of my other hats is that of research scientist, my thoughts bent in that direction — especially because science in SF (the process and mindset, not its accuracy) is in dire need of refurbishing.

So I just finished gathering potential contributors for the next anthology. My other collaborators — publisher, co-editor, cover artist — have also declared their willingness to share this journey. The provisional name of the starship under construction is To Shape the Dark. Here are the narrative parameters:

1. Protagonists: women scientists, mathematicians or engineers who live in universes where they don’t have to choose between work and family; most emphatically not Susan Calvin clones (my interpretation of science is broad, but computer engineers and psychologists have been heavily overused in SF);

2. Strong preference for societies/cultures where science is fully integrated as a holistic, humanistic endeavor – neither hubris nor triumphalism, the nearly ubiquitous SF tropes;

3. Science fiction (cross-genre fusion is fine, mythic echoes even finer, but no straight fantasy); no “big ideas” Leaden Age SF or near-future cyber/steampunk/dystopia unless it’s truly original;

4. Content and style for adult readers; protagonists fully exercising faculties and vocations, not young adult “finding one’s self” nor the sufferings of messiahs-to-be in the hands of inscrutable mentors.

We set the bar high with The Other Half of the Sky. I intend to raise it even higher with To Shape the Dark. Wish me luck and strength to make planetfall, though the stars I see through the astrogator’s port will be wondrous.

Mythic Space

15 Responses to “The Successor to The Other Half of the Sky”

  1. C W Johnson says:

    Really looking forward to it!

  2. eleni says:

    Finally under way! The narrative parameters are going to be something of a challenge, but I bet the end results will be so much more rewarding because of it. Looking forward to working with you once more!

  3. Athena says:

    Me, too!

  4. Athena says:

    So do I!! I’ll be sending a formal notice to everyone involved in the next few days.

  5. Paul Weimer (@PrinceJvstin) says:

    Exciting news, Athena!

  6. Athena says:

    Thank you, Paul! New beginnings are always exciting and scary.

  7. delagar says:

    I can’t wait for this one!

  8. Athena says:

    Me, too!!

  9. Letty says:

    Great news! I enjoyed The Other Half of the Sky hugely.

  10. Athena says:

    Delighted to hear you enjoyed The Other Half of the Sky!

  11. Christopher Phoenix says:

    Exciting news, Athena, I’m looking forward to seeing what you and your team come up with!! I wish you the best of luck on this new endeavor.

  12. Athena says:

    Thank you, Christopher!

  13. angel says:

    Captain, The Bird is rearing the hatchlings to have a flavorfull palate. This is going to be great Cap.

  14. Athena says:

    I hope you’re right, Angel! I’ll certainly do my very best to make it so.

  15. angel says:

    Captain, I’ve no doubt in my mind that it will be great.

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