I owe a huge apology to you wonderful Steel Cities contributors. There is no excuse for my lack of communication these past few months, and I’m sorry to keep everyone waiting.
So, what happened? Normally, we release the anthology at the annual Confluence SF Convention in July in Pittsburgh. I gear up for that process in May and June, which makes those months pretty unbearable in terms of my own writing and day-to-day life. When the convention had to be cancelled this year, my first concern was that we might have to cancel Steel Cities too. For a time, I wavered between poles on this issue. On the one hand, the sales generated at the convention help to fund the next installment. On the other, thanks largely to a generous contribution from an individual donor, we have enough money on hand to publish the anthology this year. Why break the string of annual publications?
In the end, I decided we should move forward. It would be a shame to waste all the effort that went into the first stages of the project, the time and effort of our associate editors, the energies put into writing stories specifically for our theme, etc. So, yes, we would do this thing. Only it wasn’t quite as easy as that. A dozen other projects had come along to suck up time and energy I would normally give to Steel Cities. Days turned into weeks, into a month or more, and here we are. The only way to get this engine back onto the tracks is to do it. So, today is the day we begin anew. My focus is on Steel Cities for the next month or six weeks. By the end of September we will have the anthology put together.
Here’s the deal. We have already contacted a few writers whose stories we feel will form the backbone of the collection. We’ve committed to roughly 12,000 words of content, and have tentatively agreed to another 21,000 words. This leaves between 17,000 and 27,000 words to fill out the anthology. So, roughly 4-12 stories, depending on length. We have 57 stories remaining in the queue. Which means I will have to say no to a significant majority of them. I plan to offer detailed, constructive comments, the least I should do after having delayed your decisions, but I understand that may not be enough. So, if you wish to send your story elsewhere, that is fine. No need to withdraw the submission from Steel Cities (unless you wish to, of course). I’ll provide a formal decision and comments. If we do ask for a rewrite/revision you can simply let me know the story is on submission elsewhere and there will be no hard feelings on this end. On the other hand, if you do decide to stick it out, I’ll have a decision to you within the next 4-6 weeks.
This week, I am contacting authors we previously accepted (tentatively or firmly) to make sure the stories remain available and to work through any rewrite issues already underway. Contracts will begin to go out for these next week.
For the remaining stories, I plan to work through them in order of receipt, offering detailed comments and a formal decision as quickly as I can manage.
Again, I apologize to our contributors and to our editors. We’ll do our best to make sure Steel Cities is a worthy successor to Morning After, Last Contact, and the prior editions that have been well-reviewed and well liked by readers.