Bryan Thomas Schmidt is a critically praised author and editor. His anthologies include Shattered Shields, coedited by Jennifer Brozek (Baen 2014), Mission: Tomorrow and Galactic Games forthcoming from Baen in 2015 and 2016, and Choices forthcoming from EDGE in 2016. His debut novel, The Worker Prince, received Honorable Mention on Barnes and Noble’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases of 2011. He also writes short fiction, children’s books and more and hosts Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chat bi-weekly on twitter. He can be found there as @BryanThomasS or via his website at www.bryanthomasschmidt.net
Sarah Hendrix would like to think she’s awesome, but her kids would wink and tell her: “No you’re not, dude, don’t lie.” To spite them, she does a little bit of everything from publicist work for Apex Publications to slush reading for Dagan Books and co-hosting #sffwrtcht on Twitter. She staves off insanity by untangling her kitten from yarn and working with tiny beads. Despite her heavy workload, she still finds time to write and edit her own stories and game with her fiancé. Her stories can be found in the In Situ and the FISH anthology, both from Dagan Books. You can follow her on her blog at http://shadowflame1974.wordpress.com.
Sarah Hendrix: What is SPECULATIONS KC?
Bryan Thomas Schmidt: Speculations KS is the working title of an anthology celebrating the contributions the Kansas City region has made to speculative fiction, which will release on the occasion of MidAmeriCon II, the second Kansas City Worldcon in August 2016. It is officially sanctioned by the ConComm but being funded on Kickstarter because of budget limitations for such a large Con.
SH: How did you get started with this project?
BTS: As an active anthologist and member of the local SFF groups, I have learned a lot about the amazing contributions local authors have made. I knew the Con Committee wanted to celebrate that and do something special for the Worldcon, and I had seen Texas do an anthology for their San Antonio worldcon two years ago. So I suggested the possibility. KacSFFS Press, Kansas City Science Fiction and Fantasy Society, had put out a World Horror anthology in 2003 and they jumped at the chance. So did local authors and creative with local ties.
SH: What authors are participating in SPECULATIONS K.C.?
BTS: Robert Heinlein, William F. Nolan, James Gunn, George RR. Martin, Larry Niven, Jim Butcher, Pat Cadigan, C.J. Cherryh, Tom Reamy, Frank K. Kelly, Michael Swanwick, Robin Wayne Bailey, Rob Chilson, William F. Wu, Manly Banister, Phyllis Eisenstein, Kij Johnson, and several more, both known and up and coming.
SH: Why is this event important to the speculative fiction community in Kansas City?
BTS: Kansas City and the Midwest often get written off as the province of conservative, old fashioned people, but a lot of progressive work has happened here, especially in speculative fiction. Tom Reamy was an award-winning LGBT writer whose frequent homoerotic themes were considering daring for his day. And legends like Robert Heinlein, James Gunn and William F. Nolan were born and lived considerable years here. On top of that, there are many others who have lived and worked here doing significant work that has had long term impact on the speculative fiction form and community.
SH: What ties does Kansas City have to the speculative fiction community?
BTS: Besides Heinlein, Gunn and Nolan? We held an innovative World Con in 1976 which created the film festival as programming, the Academy Awards-style Hugo Ceremony, introduced Star Wars to a pre-release public with visits from Gary Kurtz and Mark Hamill and tons of props and slides, as well as made videotaping a regular part of worldcons. Additionally, we founded the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, which was later bought and taken to Seattle by Paul Allen to house near the Space Needle, we have the Gunn Center For The Study of Science Fiction at University of Kansas, The Theodore Sturgeon and John Campbell Awards are given annually there, and top names like Pat Cadigan, John Kessel, Kij Johnson, Robin Wayne Bailey, Rob Chilson, and more have significant local connections from living and working here. We also were home to Frank K. Kelly who was one of the youngest successful pulp writers of the Golden Age and sold every story he wrote in his teens and twenties, almost all science fiction, then went on to write speeches for Harry Truman and a life of politics. And many of these local creatives have won multiple major awards like Nebulas, Hugos, etc.
SH: What speculative fiction stories have been set in Kansas City?
BTS: Portions of James Gunn’s Immortals series, which became a TV show, Larry Niven, who went to school at nearby Washburn University, has set stories around the area, Heinlein’s “Requiem” amongst other stories, etc. And we will add a whole new set with this anthology as well.
SH: How does one get a copy of SPECULATIONS K.C.?
BTS: The way to preorder and to also help guarantee the anthology actually is published is to support our Kickstarter at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/601968027/speculations-kc-kansas-city-worldcon-anthology. We have about a week left, and if we don’t fund, the anthology likely won’t happen. You will also be able to buy copies at MidAmeriCon II or afterwards via Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. but signed copies can only be preordered via the Kickstarter.
SH: When will the anthology be published and when will backers receive copies?
BTS: In August of 2016, during WorldCon, will have copies available. We will get them signed by all authors who attend and ship them out thereafter to backers before releasing the title for sale to the general public.
SH: Why are you funding so far ahead?
BTS: Because some of the authors involved who will write original stories must be guaranteed payment to write stories and need 9 months or more to write them given their busy schedules. Plus, we then need several months’ production time to be certain we publish a really top notch quality book for collectors and fans.
SH: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about SPECULATIONS KC?
BTS: We are going to include a variety of stories, from stories marking each decade since the 1930s to contemporary tales, also including diverse themes and authors as I always do. We have several LGBT writers involved and some stories with LGBT themes, as mentioned, as well as writers of color, women and male, and we are using classic art from legendary artist Ed Emshwiller for our cover. Carol Emshwiller was quite pleased we asked for the piece, which was a cover of Galaxy magazine in the 1950s.