Post industrial fiction writing challenge

Dear Wizards,

I am in the process of putting together a book of short stories set in the future. Many of you will be famliiar with John Michael Greer's 'After Oil' series and the types of stories that appeared therein, and it is in a similar vein that I hope to compile a selection of stories that open up imaginative insights into possible future scenarios.

The competition has been running for a while and I've already received some excellent entries which will likely make it into the book. Some entries, however, have defied the brief and veered off into more traditional sci-fi staples, including colonies on Mars, robots with laser guns, giant space bats etc. So I'm hoping the collective imagination of the Green Wizards will be able to fill in the remaining gaps.

In brief, stories should be between 2,000 and 8,000 words and set up to 100 years into the future from now. In framing the story, the following assumptions should apply:

1 - Humankind's access to highly concentrated forms of energy will be severely curtailed in the near to medium term

2 - There will be a corresponding collapse in the complexity of civilisation and the population it can support

3 - The future will be haunted by the mistakes of the past, especially in the form of inappropriate technologies

That said, I'm pushing the boat out a little on this and am hoping to attract some really inventive stories. To that end, stories may, if you like, feature aliens, ghosts and metaphysical whatnots, just so long as it sounds plausible and not too Dan Dare. Full details of the competition can be found on my blog.

The stories selected will be published in an anthology print-on-demand book through a small post-industrial fiction press I have created here in the UK - Belenos Press - and 70% of any proceeds from sales will be shared out equally between the authors. The deadline for entries is midsummer, which is June 21st.

Please just email me at or add a comment here on this post if you have any questions.

Thanks for listening!

Jason Heppenstall

Dear all. I have now selected the stories for the forthcoming anthology of post industrial fiction. For more details see:

Many thanks to all of those who entered, and congratulations to those whose stories have been selected.

I'm sure I'll be doing another anthology in due course.


Hey Jason,

I got the impression from your blog post that you're hoping more for non US-centric stories:

"At present there is not much going on in this genre over on this side of the Atlantic (Europe, that is), or indeed the world outside of America — so I'm particularly interested in, but not limited to, stories taking place in the wider world."

I mean, I recognize the "out" provided there, but wonder if that's actually your preference.

I was, in a way, hoping to attract a few writers in from elsewhere, but if it's a good story it doesn't matter where it's set. The dominant culture spanning the entire globe is now western-style industrial materialism, so when that goes away it will affect everyone. So, a few stories from around the world would add spice to the stew, but 'Merican tales are more than welcome.


Then I shall proceed to revise a potential candidate and see if it fits what you're looking for! Yay!

Do you also plan to make digital versions available? I know a number of folks who live in smaller places who prefer ebooks to fuel their reading without crowding their bookshelves, so though e-readers are possibly last-rush-of-cheap-energy flotsam, they do give access to a wider audience.

And, let me just keep editing this post to death as I keep thinking of more questions - what rights are you acquiring?

It will, to start with, be a paperback. I'm getting some great artwork for the cover and I hope the finished product will look very tempting to anyone who picks it up. As for digital versions, I'm struggling a bit with that one. I hear where you are coming from but in my experience, the moment you publish an ebook it immediately gets pirated (it may well be automated by bots) and given away for free as a PDF on clickbait sites. It's very frustrating.

I don't know of any solution to this. One idea is maybe making the book available digitally on a one-to-one basis. I.e. you want a digital copy, you send me an email and pay by Paypal and I'll email an ePub version. That would get round the auto-pirating problem. I may also then publish a full ebook version a year after the paperback one.

All the published writers will get sent a free copy. Rights will be the usual deal i.e. worldwide rights, publisher retains copyright etc. Writers will get paid their share six months after it is published, and then again every six months until sales drop off. There will be a publishing contract and everything will be transparent, meaning you'll get a copy of the unit sales report for each period.

In turn I will:

- Select and edit the stories

- Typeset the manuscript

- Commission and pay for artwork

- Promote the finished book in a range of media, such as blogs, social media, print magazines etc.

BTW I'm also interested in publishing whole books in the same genre.

Thanks Jason

Sounds great, and I've got my entry in - I hope you get lots more really good entries! I'd love to see another anthology of realistic scifi stories... we ain't living on Mars folks, no way, no how!

Thanks Cathy. Once all the stories are in I hope to get the book out as soon as possible.