Call for Submissions! The Omnibus of Doctor Bill Shakes and the Magnificent Ionic Pentatetrameter: A Steampunk’s Shakespeare Anthology

Posted by 14th December 2010

If that title doesn’t intrigue you, I don’t know what will, but yes, the Steampunk imprint of Flying Pen Press will be releasing this anthology, first in print, then as an ebook, and the editors are Matt Delman (of Free the Princess and Doctor Fantastique’s Show of Wonders), Lia Keyes (hostess of the Steampunk Writers & Artists Guild), and yours truly!

See, we were chatting in the Twitter #steampunkchat? We were supposed to be talking about steampunk elements as window-dressing and whether it’s possible for the aesthetic to be integral to the story and someone mentioned Shakespeare and it all went downhill from there IN THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE, as we started coming up with lines like “Out, out, damn soot” and “my machinery’s ions are nothing like the sun…”. And I said I’d so go through the slush pile for that, and next thing I knew, I’m co-editor.

So! Love Shakespeare? Love steampunk? Want to help put two awesome things together into one giant ball of Awesome? That is to say, want to submit to this anthology?
Submissions guidelines as follows!
From Hamlet as half-man half-machine to Henry V at the helm of an army of men in steam-powered mechanical suits, the sky is the proverbial limit for adapting William Shakespeare’s classic plays and sonnets to the Steampunk aesthetic.
This is not intended to be a series of mash-ups, like Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, but rather re-inventions of the classic Shakespearean stories and sonnets. You are free to adapt Shakespeare’s language and themes to a Neo-Victorian setting as you will, but unlike the typical mash-up, you don’t have to include every line of original text from your chosen play or sonnet.
We prefer stories where Steampunk elements and themes are thoughtfully applied to Shakespeare’s works. Do not simply throw automatons into Hamlet or Steampunk technology into Richard III; consider how such technological changes may reinterpret the original stories. Saying it another way: What new insight will your Steampunk version of Shakespeare bring to the Bard’s original works?
General Guidelines:
  • Send all submissions to as attachment in either Microsoft Word (DOC or DOCX), Real Text Format (RTF) or OpenOffice (ODT) format, with a short introductory letter.
  • All submissions should have STEAMPUNK SHAKESPEARE: Story Title/Sonnet Numbers in the subject line. Any submissions without this information will not be considered for the anthology.
  • We’d prefer inclusion of Steampunk elements in the title of each story, i.e. “Othello, The Half-Machine Moor of Venice” or something similar.
  • We also welcome interpretations with queer characters, characters of color, non-heteronormative relationships, characters with disabilities, non-Eurocentric settings and other traditionally marginalized narratives in mainstream fiction.
  • All submissions must be received no later than 12 a.m. U.S. Eastern Time on 30 May 2011. There will be no exceptions.
Play Adaptation Guidelines:
  • 10,000 words or less on one scene, act, or aspect of any play from Shakespeare’s canon.
  • Integrate Shakespearean language as best as you can within the context of the story; it’s not required that you include some of Shakespeare’s original lines, but it is encouraged.
  • The play that your story is based on must be recognizable within your version; if you adapt Henry V, the reader must be able to tell it’s Henry V as source material.
  • Any violence or sexual situations should remain within the limits of general audience acceptability. Let the play you’re adapting be your guide.
  • You are allowed to submit multiple short stories, so long as you do so by the deadline.
Sonnet Adaptation Guidelines: 
  • Adapt any of Shakespeare’s sonnets into a Steampunk version of the same sonnet.
  • The original Sonnet must be recognizable inside your adaptation (i.e. if we the editors can place your version of Sonnet 156 and Shakespeare’s Sonnet 156 side-by-side, we should be able to identify the origin of your version).
  • You may submit multiple sonnets.
Payment is a percentage of the royalties. If there are any questions about these guidelines, anthology co-editors Jaymee Goh, Lia Keyes, and Matthew Delman may all be contacted via The Steampunk Writers & Artists Guild webportal at
I’m very excited and honoured to be part of this project, and look forward to seeing your submissions!

ETA: Updated guidelines 16/12 to clarify some things!


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