The other day on my Facebook wall, a potential pitcher to World’s Collider had some questions for me. Though I’ve tried to make the brief for this collection as open as possible to avoid stifling creativity, there are some points worth expanding on that may help pin things down for those struggling to come up with an idea.
So, here are the questions:
1. What is the rift? Where does it appear? What does it do?
2. What is the global impact?
3. Is this to be hard science fiction? Soft? Fantasy/science fiction? Doomsday? Bizarro?
Here’s my response (some additional bits and pieces edited/added)…
The answers to these questions I hope will grow organically from the discussion group I’m going to set up for the chosen writers. I have deliberately left things wide open because I don’t want to restrict people’s imaginations.
There are two reasons why I’m only asking for story ideas at this stage. The first reason is that stories will need to incorporate elements of other events in the book, so I don’t want people to have to rewrite stories they’ve already written in full. The second reason is so that some stories can be the heavy lifters, and incorporate elements that help define the nature of the rift, why it occurred, where it leads to, etc and drive the overall plot forward. Again my hope is this all happens organically and fits naturally with the stories as they are developed and discussed. I don’t want to shoehorn anything in where it doesn’t fit.
So, let’s tackle the individual questions.
– What is the rift?
It’s all that’s left after the LHC explodes and punches a whole in reality. Nobody knows where it leads or why it occurred (yet), but over the course of the book all will be revealed… or perhaps it won’t be. The science behind it and the actual nature of the rift is less important than the stories about humanity’s struggles with the crap that comes through over time.
– Where does [the rift] appear?
Check the map. This is the one constant in the collection. The centre of the rift is the LHC ring, but the rift itself is much larger than this. I have it almost reaching Paris, but if someone comes up with a reason in their story why Paris or even London needs to have been obliterated, I can make it bigger :)
– What does [the rift] do?
It lets all sorts of weird and wonderful and terrifying stuff in from other worlds, other dimensions, other realities. This is where the author’s imagination is the limit. I want some monsters of course, but I want other stuff too, subtle stuff, world changing stuff, intangible stuff. Diseases, gasses, ideas, intelligences, ANYTHING!
– What is the global impact?
This is in the guidelines. Eventually the weight of all this crap coming through will tip the scales and civilization will collapse. It may not all happen at once, it may take many years for all countries to fall, but fall they will. The number of stories set post-apocalypse will depend entirely on the story ideas I pick and where best they fit: pre-, post- or during. What event (or events) will tip the scales is TBD.
Bear in mind that your story idea may be something very subtle that comes through the rift that only affects one person and one person only. While I don’t want all the stories to be like this, I certainly want a few.
– Is this to be hard science fiction? Soft? Fantasy/science fiction? Doomsday? Bizarro?
I don’t mind. You can write in the genre you are most comfortable with and makes sense for the story, so long as you are prepared to adapt it to fit with everyone else’s, and so long as the story is about something that comes through the rift and how that something affects your characters. Write it bleak and apocalyptic and doom-laden, write it about elves and faeries making contact with humanity, write it about a change to our natural laws that forces scientists to rewrite half their theories, write about an unspeakable horror unleashed upon the people of the world… It’s up to you. Just be prepared to add those elves to your final story if need be :)
I hope this helps. As I said before, I’m really trying not to nail too much stuff down as I don’t want to limit creativity. The beauty is, if I like your story idea but it doesn’t quite fit with the other stories I’ve also chosen, we can work together to make it fit.
I welcome all questions, comments and suggestions from anybody at any time :)