Saturday, August 12, 2006

Call For Submissions

Note: The call for submissions has been updated with additional prizes, some clarifications, and the announcement of our deadline.

By now we've all heard the reports. And we've seen the pictures. The FAA is concerned that passengers may try to smuggle liquid and gel components onto airplanes disguised as drinks, toothpaste, or other personal items and then mix them to produce deadly explosives. So what do they do with these potentially disastrous items? Why, dump them all together into plastic waste bins in the middle of the airport, of course! What could possibly go wrong?

Why don't you tell us?

It Came From Airport Security is an upcoming anthology of short stories, and we need your submissions! How can you participate?

  • Write a story of no more than 4,000 words in any genre on the subject of what happens when someone (or something) is exposed to the substances mixed in an airport security waste bin.
  • License your story under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 license. (This blog and the resulting anthology will be licensed the same)
  • Prepare the story for electronic submission (ASCII Text, RTF, and DOC files are fine, no PDF files, please).
  • Pay the $5 token entry fee using the link in the sidebar.
  • Submit your story! Note that when you pay your fee, you will be asked to provide the author's name and the title of the story. A submission must match an entry fee to be accepted.
  • Submissions must be received by October 31. Other important dates to be announced. Start writing and submitting now!

Of course, there will be prizes!

  • All submissions will be considered for publication on the blog (with a link to the author's webpage, of course!).
  • The top 10 stories will be included in the anthology in addition to being published on the blog.
  • Authors of stories selected for the anthology will receive a free contributor's copy and a significant discount on up to 20 additional copies.
  • The authors of the top 10 stories will also receive an autographed copy of C. Glen William's CD, Post-Millennial Heebie-Jeebies.
  • The author of the top story will receive an autographed, hardbound copy of C. Glen Williams' award-winning play, The Mouser's Tales.
  • The author of the top story will also receive a hardbound copy of Wade Rubenstein's debut novel, Gullboy (courtesy of Pete).
  • The author of the story selected as our grand prize winner will also receive a $10 gift certificate to be used toward the purchase of any liquid or gel products you want (Or, really, anything you want - we're not going to police that).
  • Any old thing we come across to throw into the bin.

All the usual legal hoopla applies. Namely: All submissions must be the original work of persons who submit them, all submissions must be previously unpublished (publication to your own blog is all right, as long as the work is licensed as stated above), all judges' decision are final, contest is open to English-language international entries, and the editors reserve the right not to publish any submission.


At 1:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

By 'previously unpublished' does this affect hosting the said work on a personal blog for anyone to read prior to submission?


At 1:32 PM, Anonymous Mister Joshua said...

I hope you realize how misguided this is. By playing on the notion that there are, in fact, dangerous chemicals in the bins, you are drilling it into the public consciousness that these security measures are necessary. Liberals have been doing this since 9/11. The neocons attack Iraq, you say Iran and Syria are a threat. The neocons point to a non-existent terrorist threat abroad, you say we need to focus on domestic security. This is classic problem-reaction-solution. The compromise is always one involving less freedom.

I don't know if you were aware of this while it was happening, but liberal journalists blew everything the Bush Administration said about Iraq so far out of proportion that they ended up doing the neocons' propaganda for them.

Bush/Cheney never said Iraq was an imminent threat, but the liberal media did! They thought they were exposing government misdoing, but in reality were themselves manufacturing the misinformation through misquoting and hyperbole. Every "expose" served only to drill into the public consciousness that Saddam Hussein was a threat and war was necessary.

Remember, the average reader cannot comprehend sarcasm or irony. "Bush Administration Says Iraq an Imminent Threat" does not read as an accusation of government wrongdoing--it reads as a statement of fact. So, too, do these stories about the dangers of airport security bins.

The government manufactured a problem: liquid explosives. You reacted: mixing confiscated liquids is dangerous. What is the natural solution? Stop mixing the confiscated liquids. In other words, continue confiscating liquids, because they are a real threat. This is the rational conclusion from both the government's premise and yours. You have reinforced the government propaganda.

What do you think the good liberals of this country are talking about around the water cooler? "I heard from the government that terrorists are bringing liquid explosives onto planes," or "I heard that the government is stupidly mixing potentially dangerous chemicals confiscated from passengers"? Your readers take that message out into the community like a virus. Eventually, people start to believe it.

If you really wanted to effect positive change, you'd create an anthology of stories about there being no threat from liquid explosives in the first place.

At 2:37 PM, Anonymous Zaren said...

Wow. I already have an idea, a plot, the whole structure in my head for my story, and I only read about this an hour ago. I'll be back to look at this later when I see what sort of response it gets - and what sorrt of prizes are available. $5 is a bit much to ask for the prospect of a $10 gift if I'm the best of the best.

At 3:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

$5 to win $10 - seems a ripoff. Make it $20 or $30+ then you might get some entries.

At 3:46 PM, Anonymous calgodot said...

Mister Joshua said: "If you really wanted to effect positive change, you'd create an anthology of stories about there being no threat from liquid explosives in the first place."

Or, Joshua: you could write that story. About a hysterical fearful traveler who, upon seeing all those harmless liquids in the bin, comes to realize his fear is misplaced.

Instead of suggesting what others "should" do, why not do it yourself?

At 4:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Mr. Joshua. I wouldn't say that this contest is misguided, but that you certainly are easily upset.
This seems like a decent way to placate any fears generated by our government, and even turn them into something creative or *gasp* humourous.
You've certainly bought into some of the propaganda if you immediately start spouting off about 'dangerous liquids' and 'the government hates me.' Don't get me wrong, the government hates me too, but I did get some amusing ideas for this contest.
Think swampThing/radioactiveGoopGivesSomeoneSuperPowers/somethingElse

At 4:45 PM, Anonymous Matt Hamrick said...

Hey guys... how about we relax the requirement that the story has to be about some monster that comes from all them chemicals gettin' mixed together in a trash-can. I was thinking the project would be slightly more compelling (both as a writer and as a reader) if we could expand it to cover unintentional consequences of airport security measures.

Say like a retelling of Le Jette / 12 Monkeys where we can't get to the bad guy at the airport because everyone is held up at the security check-in. Sure... you're going to say how did the guy sneak the virus vials into the "secure" airport. But I think the beefy part of the story would be how the organized, evil-doers planted their agents in the airports for several months beforehand. It sorta speaks to the superficial nature of current security precautions.

Or you could have a story about how all multi-cellular life is an unintentional by-product of the actions of some bacteria-based hive-mind that's just now been able to perceive "humans." It would be cute to tell the security story from a bacteria's point of view. I think they would love the lines (since you're packing a bunch of "hosts" in a small place, makes it easy to get around.) I'm not sure if they would even notice the X-Rays from the X-Ray machine. But they would live in dread fear of the woman with the "elixir of death" (or Chlorox as it's known to us.)

But... I'm not sure we can really tell these stories here if we're concentrating on the "barrel of liquids" scenario.

-Matt H.

At 4:59 PM, Anonymous Mister Joshua said...

"Instead of suggesting what others 'should' do, why not do it yourself?"

a) Because I'm not an activist, i.e. I don't "really want to effect positive change."

b) Why not do both? I can criticize you people and write my own story for submission to a different, non-activist, publication.

c) I think you meant to say, "Don't be such a Negative Nancy."

At 5:27 PM, Blogger C. Glen Williams said...

Thanks for the comments and questions, everybody! We're glad to be getting such a response.

To answer some questions that we've been asked: our first anonymous poster wanted to know if the "previously unpublished" included posting it to your blog. The answer is that we consider "previously unpublished" to include in a magazine, in another book, or on a website that is not controlled by the author. If you wish to post it to your own blog for review, feel free - but remember that it must be licensed BY-SA to qualify for competition.

Matt - you wanted to know if we could expand the guidelines to include Airport Security in general. It sounds like a tempting idea for a future anthology - but for now, we would like to keep the focus of this anthology narrow. We want to focus on this idea for this volume, and other ideas may be introduced for future projects.

And there has been some concern over the $10 gift card. Honestly, we intended the card to be more part of the humor of the contest rather than a "big cash prize." Note that the grand prize also includes publication, a free copy of the anthology, and a significant discount on additional copies, as well as publication on the website. That said, we are looking to "sweeten the pot" for our winners. If you note, we left some leeway to add prizes as we go, and we're doing our best to do so - just don't expect a brand new car. :-)

At 6:12 PM, Anonymous sharon said...

The comments are getting good. I can't wait to read them and the book. I might even write my own little tale. As a sometime flyer, I've seen some interesting things at airports and in the trash cans.
For those that seem to be getting a little over excited, just have fun, be creative and who knows what you might end up with. sharon

At 10:23 PM, Blogger Steve S. said...

When you say "electronic format", I know you said no PDF, but do you mean raw ASCII? RTF? DOC? Any other specifics to make your lives easier?

At 10:28 PM, Anonymous Unholy Moses said...

I am so in ...

although, as a professional writer, I need a deadline so I can actually start it the night before.


Seriously, though, great idea. I do, however, have a question: Are the rules hard and fast, or can they be bent a bit? For example, does the COMBINATION of stuff have to be in there, or can just ONE liquid be the focus?

Oh, and Joshua -- and I thought I was wound tight. Mix in some decaf. Sheesh ...

At 1:14 AM, Anonymous Michelle Murrain said...

Well, I think it's an interesting idea, and there is no reason that many people might indeed send in entries that go counter to the idea that the liquids are dangerous.

But, I'll agree with a few other posters, $5 entry fee seems steep for a $10 prize.

At 11:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a bear of little brain. Can someone explain the licensing deal to me? I went and had a look but I don't quite understand what I am supposed to do. (I wrote a story for you, which I am all ready to submit but ... Do I just go ahead and pay and submit via PayPal or ...not?) Apologies for being so damn stupid. Any and all help very gratefully received!

At 2:52 PM, Blogger C. Glen Williams said...

Steve S. - That's a good question. Each of your specific examples is permissible as an entry. I guess in addition to PDF, I would avoid any proprietary formats (I know that .doc is Microsoft, but more than one software package will open them, so I think they're acceptable). If your story requires absolutely no special formatting, then ASCII will do - but if you want to preserve italics, etc., then an RTF or DOC format will work.

Unholy Moses - as long as the chemical is present in one of these bins and that's what the person is exposed to, I have no problem with only one of the substances in that bin being active.

And to our latest anonymous commentor - glad to hear you have your story ready to go! Sorry the link we provided wasn't more helpful. Try going to the main Creative Commons webpage at - they may be able to give you a better idea of what the license is. Basically, to use one of their licenses, you have to label the work as such, and they have a section of the website that will help you figure out what to add to your work to label it.

As to when you're ready to submit, give us your name and the title of your story and send us the fee via PayPal, and you should be taken to a page with the submissions e-mail address on it. Just send your story as an attachment to that address, and you're good to go!

At 3:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7:20 PM, Anonymous PJ said...

Is this open to international entries, or just US citizens?

At 8:06 PM, Blogger C. Glen Williams said...

pj - The contest is open to international entries as long as the entries are in English. It's not that we have anything against other languages, that's just the only one that our entire editorial staff reads.

At 6:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know honestly, I just had a real kick writing the story, forget the prize s. Fun idea and I had a good time.

At 8:41 AM, Anonymous S. Lott said...

Thanks for posing a real head-scratcher here.

"Bush/Cheney never said Iraq was an imminent threat, but the liberal media did!"


Wow, that's real drama: the strong but uninformed opinion, and the facts in direct opposition. The story almost writes itself.

At 9:39 PM, Anonymous Zaren said...

Well, here's a bummer... I've recently started a job at a major airport, so if I were to submit a story, there's the chance of employment consequences. What to do, what to do...

At 2:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this anthology still on?

At 3:18 PM, Blogger C. Glen Williams said...

Yes, indeed! There will be a new posting soon on it. We're still accepting submissions!


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