Dreaming Anthologies

Dreaming Anthologies: To Wreck and Reign by Liz Bourke

In addition to our regular reprint series curated by Bogi Takacs, we here at Galli Books are always interested in seeing what people have been reading and enjoying elseweb. In the wake of a particularly interesting table of contents for a theoretical reprint anthology tweeted by Liz Bourke, we decided to seize on the concept: Dreaming Anthologies, a series of occasional essays by critics, writers, editors and more, telling us about their dream reprint anthologies made up of fiction that you can read online. If you’d like to pitch your own essay to us, just use the contact form on the website!

Our first Dreaming Anthologies column is by the formidable and beloved genre critic Liz Bourke herself. Without further ado, over to her…
This anthology doesn’t exist. I’ve composed it from eight stories, all available freely online — though one takes a little looking, since the late and lamented Ideomancer has since gone defunct. If I were to title it, I’d probably call it To Wreck and Reign, but then, I’m a) terrible at titles, and b) never could resist a bad pun.

All the stories in this anthology deal with love, in some form or other: with love and with power, and with the inevitable costs of our choices. None of the stories in this anthology are particularly romantic, but several of them are epic, despite their short length. Their themes includes difficult questions of identity, loyalty, grief and survival. Their worldbuilding is precise and gloriously sharp. Some of them are batshit fun. Most of them are bittersweet, complicated gems.

Let’s open with Arkady Martine’s “All the Colors You Thought Were Kings.” Originally published in Shimmer Magazine in 2016 (Issue 31), this gorgeous and painful science fiction story is a paean to loyalty, (half-doomed) idealism, and sacrifice told in the second-person present tense. An unusual choice of perspective, but it really works.

“You wish so much it were that simple. You also wish it weren’t true. You’d like it if you could ever feel all one way about a thing.”

Then we’ll swoop along to Aliette de Bodard’s “A Salvaging of Ghosts,” first published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, also in 2016 (Issue 195). Set in de Bodard’s Xuya continuity, it features Thuy, a woman who’s lost her daughter and grieves her deeply. Like her daughter, Thuy is a deep-space salvager, diving wrecks in the deep spaces where humans can’t long survive even with the aid of technology. “A Salvaging of Ghosts” is a story about grief and the temptations of self-destruction — and the possibility, too, of carrying on.

The third entry on our Table of Contents is Elizabeth Bear’s “She Still Loves The Dragon” (Uncanny Magazine, 2018: Issue 20). This is a story about love and pain and choices, and the fact that even the things (the people) you love can hurt you — but you can choose what to do with your hurt, afterwards.

“Everything is pain.

Beneath the pain is freedom.”

If we go past the dragon, we come to “ζῆ καὶ βασιλεύει,” by Sonya Taaffe. Published in Ideomancer in 2015 (Vol 14 Issue 1), it is a story of a sister of Alexander the Great — a world-conqueror in her own right, besieging the city of Tyre and making bargains with a goddess.

“The sea will take you, in the end. The sea of salt or the sea of sand, the sea of forgetfulness and the sea of time.” For a moment the goddess’ eyes were empty as a toppled statue, her palms cracked ochre. The sphinx’s shadow looked like a larnax, lid open, awaiting its bequest of ash. Then the tent walls rippled with a sea-wind; the lapis inlays of the flowers around ‘Aštart’s throat gleamed like phosphorescence on the silky black sea-swell and she looked like a living woman again, or near enough that Eurydike could look at her, potent and perilous as dusk and dawn. “I cannot make you unperishing” — the heroic word, aphthita. “I would see more of you before then.”

“Then, yes,” said the woman who was Kynnane to her lovers and her mother’s shade, Eurydike the third of that name in Makedonia.

Then a slightly lighter note, Yoon Ha Lee’s “Extracurricular Activities” (Tor.com, 2017). Set in Lee’s hexarchate (or heptarchate) universe, the same setting as Ninefox Gambit and its sequels. In this story, a much younger Shuos Jedao has to go behind enemy lines and figure out what’s going on before everything explodes — and there’s a very attractive nice young man who’s interested in him for added flavour.

JY Yang’s “Waiting on a Bright Moon” (Tor.com, 2017) is a very accomplished novelette. It’s a story about revolution and repression, about prejudice and murder and unlikely connections. It, too, is told in the second-person present tense (I may have a slight weakness for this style in stories of a certain cast). Yang is an excellent writer, as their several award nominations bear out: this story is a bright and precise argument about choices and consequences.

“You study her face, noting how sharp and bright it is. She is as young as you are, perhaps younger. A terrible burden to carry, the title of starmage. You wonder if she ever tires of it.”

Our penultimate story is the award-winning “Seasons of Glass and Iron,” by the brilliant and talented Amal El-Mohtar. Available online at Uncanny Magazine, it was first published in The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales (Saga Press, 2016). It is about cruelty and loyalty and the slow blossom of friendship and love between women, and it is the kind of story I fall back into again and again, every time I read it.

“Tabitha”—and Amira does not know what to do except to reach for her hand, clutch it, look at her in the way she looks at the geese, longing to speak and be understood—“you did nothing wrong.”

Tabitha holds Amira’s gaze. “Neither did you.”

And going out with a meditation on monsterhood, with nuclear explosions and desperate last stands, we finally come to Seth Dickinson’s “Morrigan in Shadow” (Clarkesword, 2015, Issue 111), full of bombs and pain and love and loss and striving. I think it’s a high note.

Laporte doesn’t know what to say to that. She has been a monster. But she’s going to see Simms again, and when they’re together, she won’t feel like anything but a happy woman. Is monsterhood conditional? Like a mirror you hold up to the war around you, just long enough to win?

Everything dies. Even humanity, Laporte supposes. Maybe how you live should count for more than how long you last.


Liz Bourke is a cranky queer person who reads books. She holds a Ph.D in Classics from Trinity College, Dublin. Her first book, Sleeping With Monsters, a collection of reviews and criticism, was published in 2017 by Aqueduct Press. It was a finalist for the 2018 Locus Awards and was nominated for a 2018 Hugo Award in Best Related Work. Find her at her blog, where she’s been known to talk about even more books thanks to her Patreon supporters. Or find her at her Twitter. She supports the work of the Irish Refugee Council, the Transgender Equality Network Ireland, and the Abortion Rights Campaign.

Call for Submissions

Call For Submissions: Rosalind’s Siblings

Deadline extended to December 31 2018!

Rosalind’s Siblings is an anthology of speculative stories about people of marginalized genders/sexes who are scientists: scientists doing good, changing the world, or just getting on with their work of expanding human knowledge in a speculative context, presented in a positive light. This anthology is named for Rosalind Franklin, the so-called Dark Lady of DNA, one of the most famously erased female scientists in history, and a direct relation of the founder of Galli Books. The anthology is being edited by Bogi Takács.

The stories do not need to problematize gender/sex, though this is also welcome, and we would like to publish a mix of approaches. We are generally interested in positive portrayals of science and the protagonists doing research, but this can include a critical reappraisal. (E.g., we would very much like to see stories in which science is decolonized and/or Indigenized, or in some other ways incorporates approaches beyond Western neo-positivism.) We are not interested in “mad scientist” tropes or “evil science.” We are also not interested in disability cure narratives and related tropes, unless they are actively subverted / deconstructed.

Stories must contain a speculative element. We are happy to read works from any speculative subgenre: science fiction, fantasy, horror, alternate history, magical realism, fabulism, mythic work, Weird fiction and so on. Any amount of science detail is welcome with thoughtful engagement.

Protagonists can be trans and/or nonbinary people, women (trans or cis), intersex people, genderqueer or gender-nonconforming people, people of culturally specific genders/sexes, and any combinations thereof. They do not need to identify as women, feminine or femme specifically, but those stories are particularly welcome; as are stories with trans, nonbinary and/or intersex men or masculine protagonists. Protagonists can have any sexual orientation and gender presentation (e.g., we would love to receive stories with butch trans women or femme trans men protagonists, and so on).

You do not need to belong to any marginalized group to submit, but we are very happy to consider submissions from people who belong to underrepresented / marginalized groups in speculative fiction, including Black, Indigenous people and/or people of color, non-Western and/or non-Anglophonic people, migrants, QUILTBAG+ people, disabled, chronically ill and/or neuroatypical people. We welcome people from all letters of the QUILTBAG+, including trans (transfeminine, transmasculine and any kind of trans), intersex, asexual, aromantic and bisexual people, who are more commonly ignored. It is not a requirement for stories to be #ownvoices (i.e., about your own marginalization), but we are very happy to read your #ownvoices stories.  Please don’t self-reject!

You do not need to disclose your marginalizations in your cover letter, but you are welcome to do so. Please send submissions to galli-books@galli-books.co.uk with “ROSALIND” in the subject line and the story title. Format submissions reasonably close to Standard Manuscript Format, and send them in .doc, .odt, .rtf formats, or .pdf if the story has unusual formatting that needs to be preserved. Please do NOT send .docx files.

Submissions open on 1st November and close on the 31st of December. Please do not submit outside that window.

We pay £0.08/word upon signed contract and are interested in previously unpublished short stories between 500 and 7500 words, nonfiction essays, and poetry on our theme. We pay a flat rate of £50 per poem.

We do not accept simultaneous submissions. First-round responses will go out in December 2018, at which point authors whose stories are held for final consideration will also be notified. Limited multiple submissions: you are welcome to submit one of each kind of material (one poem, one essay, one short story), but no more than that.

Call for Submissions

Call For Portfolios: Speculative Masculinities


Galli Books is looking for a cover artist to work with the company in producing covers for the anthologies we publish. We’re particularly looking for an artist who will bring a strong, unified artistic vision to the company, and who will grow with and alongside the press. Initially, we’re looking for an artist for our first volume, Speculative Masculinities, who we hope to then continue to work with as a long term partnership.

Galli Books is particularly focused on publishing authors from marginalised communities or backgrounds, and we are particularly seeking artists from marginalised communities or backgrounds for covers for our books. We are not looking for pulp-style covers, but instead more modern approaches to speculative fiction cover art. The work of Patricio Betteo, Galen Dara, John Harris, Susie Oh, Jeffrey Alan Love, Aatmaja Pandya, Dave McKean, Jenny Grigg, and Daniel Egnéus may be useful reference points.

Galli Books intends to put out one volume in 2018, and two volumes per year thereafter, with original covers for each book. The pay rate will be £500 for each cover. In exchange, we will request perpetual rights to the work as a cover, but rights to use or sell it in any other manner will remain with the artist.

In order to submit yourself for consideration, please email your portfolio, a brief biography, your Twitter handle if you have one, and your three best pieces of art that would be suitable for a book cover to galli-books[at]galli-books[dot]co[dot]uk with the subject line “Artist Portfolio: [Your Name]”. Submissions should be received no later than April 15th, 2018.

Image by Melinda Taber, used under Creative Commons licence.

Call for Submissions

Call For Submissions: Speculative Masculinities


Masculinity has, almost since the category of speculative fiction emerged in the early 20th century, been a concern of fiction written in the genre. A culturally dominant, Western, toxic form of masculinity has dominated storytelling in speculative fiction. In worlds as varied and diverse as the distant past of magical worlds and the far future of this one, models of maleness and masculinity tend to be the same toxic form of masculinity that dominates modern Western culture. We want to interrogate that model of masculinity, to problematise it, and to question it; we want to see other possible models of masculinity, models not centred on dominance and violence and repression of feelings; other role models for men. We are looking for fiction, essays and poetry which do this.

We are particularly looking for submissions from authors from marginalised identities and backgrounds, especially where those identities complicate the author’s relationship with masculinity, including but by no means limited to disabled writers, trans writers, and writers of colour.

Reading Period: January 15th-April 15th 2018. No responses to submissions will be sent out before May 2nd, 2018.

Fiction editors: Jay Wolf & Ronan Sadler

Masculinity, as so much of our media defines it, is discouragingly narrow; the constructs that define “masculinity” are often rigid and unforgiving. Toxic masculinity engenders violence to those marginalized by, as well as to those contained within, it. This violence looks and feels different to everyone, depending on their social location. But what if it didn’t have to be this way?
We’re looking for speculative short fiction that looks past the fitted mold of masculinity, the known and assumed qualities of what constitutes “manliness” that enforce an artificial exclusion. We want to see thoughtful futures, alternate histories, or far-flung fantasies that examine masculinity without boxing it in. We’re not looking for gender-based “gotcha” moments or punchlines. What can masculinity be when it is not a rigid social construct? The stories we are looking for will examine what it means to be masculine while leaving pre-judgments at the door.

Length: 1,000-7,500 words.
Payment: £0.08/word
Fiction Submissions Procedure:
•Please submit your essays as 14pt font, serifed (ex: Time New Roman, Courier, Garamond), double spaced, .RTF, .DOC, or .DOCX format documents.
•The subject line of your email should read FICTION SUBMISSION: [Title], where [Title] is the title of your story.
•Please include the wordcount of your story in the email.
•Email your submission to galli-books [at] galli-books [dot] co [dot] uk
•Please do not send multiple submissions at once, or submissions simultaneously submitted to another market or anthology.

Poetry editor: Brandon O’Brien

We’re looking for rich, evocative poetry with depth and a compelling, unique voice. We are looking for work which explores issues and themes related to radical perspectives on masculinity without giving in to stereotype, and we encourage work that offers radically positive models of masculinity.

Length: No line limits
Payment: £30/poem
Poetry Submissions Procedure:
•You may submit up to three poems. Please submit each poem in a separate email, in the form they should appear in the final anthology, in .RTF, .DOC or .DOCX formats. Depending on the complexity of formatting, this may require further discussion between yourself and our poetry editor, Brandon O’Brien.
•The subject line of your email should read POETRY SUBMISSION: [Title], where [Title] is the title of your poem
•Email your submission to galli-books [at] galli-books [dot] co [dot] uk
•Please do not send submissions simultaneously submitted to another market or anthology.

Nonfiction editor: D Franklin

We are looking for essays discussing the presentation and creation of masculinity in speculative fiction, including science fiction and fantasy; including essays looking at how such presentation and creation has influenced you. We are interested in essays looking at single works or the field as a whole. Creative nonfiction, academic essay, personal essay, or other non-fiction styles are all welcome. We particularly welcome essays which complicate questions of what masculinity means, especially in the context of speculative fiction.

Length: 1,000-3,000 words
Payment: £50/essay
Nonfiction Submissions Procedure:
•Please submit your essays as 14pt font, serifed (ex: Time New Roman, Courier, Garamond), double spaced, .RTF, .DOC, or .DOCX format documents.
•The subject line of your email should read ESSAY SUBMISSION: [Title], where [Title] is the title of your essay
•Please include a brief summary of your essay in the email.
•Email your submission to galli-books [at] galli-books [dot] co [dot] uk
•Please do not send multiple submissions at once, or submissions simultaneously submitted to another market or anthology.

All submissions must be previously unpublished. We are not accepting reprints. If you are unsure whether a submission would count as previously published, or have any other queries, please get in touch by emailing galli-books [at] galli-books [dot] co [dot] uk.

About the Editors

Jay Wolf is a nonbinary author and freelance illustrator based out of Jersey City, NJ. They divide time between disciplines: writing, illustration, costuming, sculpture, mold-making and casting, and other freelance art and creative projects. In addition, Jay is a submissions editor at Uncanny Magazine and Viable Paradise alumnus.

Ronan Sadler is a disabled trans editor and writer based in Toronto. For more information on them, see alembiceditorial.com

Brandon O’Brien is a performance poet and writer from Trinidad and Tobago. His work has appeared in Uncanny Magazine, Strange Horizons, Arsenika, and New Worlds, Old Ways: Speculative Tales from the Caribbean, among other outlets. He is also the poetry editor of FIYAH: A Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction.

D Franklin is the founder of Galli Books. They are by day a Glasgow-based bookseller, and by night a nonbinary reader and fan of science fiction and fantasy.