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Patrice Fitzgerald has been here before for my Women in Science Fiction series, but today, she’s come back specifically to talk about her anthology series Dark Beyond the Stars. The first anthology got some unexpected attention for featuring only women authors. As usual, the gender divide is alive and well. The second collection released today and while it contains some men this time, Patrice’s commitment to diversity and supporting women in a genre which often ignores us is alive and well. Here she is to talk about it!
P.K. Tyler – Today we’d like to focus on the anthologies you’ve been publishing, The Beyond the Stars Series! For readers that aren’t familiar, how would you describe these books, and what can readers expect to find within their pages?
I’ve just launched the second in the series, and I’m thrilled about the excellence of this new collection. What readers can expect is tremendous story-telling and good fun. There’s a big range of tales, and a lot of fascinating world-building going on. It continues to amaze me how a good writer–and we have good writers–can pull you in with very few words and convince you that this landscape, this predicament, or this creature could actually exist.
PKT – What is a space opera, and why did you choose this genre to bind your anthologies together?
PF – First of all, space opera stories are expansive and limited only by our imaginations. The subgenre is wide open for exploration, and can be approached from so many directions. I chose to concentrate our anthologies in this specific niche of sci-fi because it’s both exciting and super hot right now. It’s no accident that the new Star Wars is a hit around the world, or that our first collection, DARK BEYOND THE STARS, was a bestseller.
PKT – Animal Planet is your story within the first anthology. What inspired you to write it, and what are your favorite sci-fi elements within it?
PF: Animal Planet is a story about what we, as humans, are afraid of. And about the urge to explore. Those themes come together in a tale about colonists and the scary unknown creatures they encounter on a wild planet. To me, this story was a little bit like an episode of Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits. Which I consider to be a flattering comparison!
PKT – What is the main difference between the first book in the series and book two: A Planet Too Far?
PF – I think that with each new release the stories get better. In the second one, the theme of “A Planet Too Far” seemed to inspire the writers to really describe the extremes of what the future could be like. I think they pushed themselves to do their best work.
PKT – What inspired you to initially put together this collection?
PF – A big part of it was just that we thought it would be fun. We watched Samuel Peralta’s amazing success with The Future Chronicles, and thought “let’s put out our own book!” And so we did.
PKT – The entire first anthology includes Women writers. Was this focus on women in Science Fiction purposeful? Why?
PF – We sort of fell into it. And once everyone in our little group of writer friends said yes, all the spots were taken… and so it became a women’s SF collection. Which we thought was cool, but not that big a deal. Truthfully, that wasn’t so much a bold political statement as the result of a bunch of friends getting together to put out a short story anthology. Friends who all happened to be women.
PKT – For those who love classic science fiction authors like Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. What stories in the Beyond the Stars series will they gravitate towards?
PF – All of them, of course! Seriously… I think Nick Webb’s powerful story “Hope 91” is reminiscent of those kinds of writers, as well as the lead short in the new collection, G. S. Jennsen’s “Venatoris.” But all of these tales truly have echoes of the big themes and the excitement of exploration brought out by Verne and Wells.
PKT – What does the Beyond the Stars series offer readers that they can’t find elsewhere?
PF – I don’t know of another anthology series that is truly focused on space opera. Or one that has such a neat mix of New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors alongside brand new writers–all of whom have something unique to contribute.
PKT – Will there be more Beyond the Stars collections? How can readers find out when they’re available?
PF – Yes! The third anthology comes out in August. We’re just kicking around titles right now. One of the possibilities is BEYOND THE STARS: At Galaxy’s Edge.
We have a mailing list to let folks know when new collections are released. They can sign up at http://eepurl.com/bwdOcf
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About Patrice Fitzgerald
Intellectual property attorney, part-time opera diva, and CEO of a tiny publishing company, Patrice Fitzgerald has been happily published since Independence Day, 2011. In addition to putting together the stories for the BEYOND THE STARS anthologies, she has a number of her own books out, from Karma of the Silo (a story based in Hugh Howey’s world of WOOL), to Running (a political thriller about two women vying for the presidency), and numerous short stories. She’s currently working on SPACE CRIMES, about an investigator on a peacekeeping starship who is able to penetrate minds and read memories.
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Patrice is giving away five copies of the new anthology in ebook form, and one print copy. She’ll even sign it!
Comment to enter to win!
14 thoughts on “#WomenofSciFi – Dark Beyond the Stars”
Sounds like a great series. Love Space Opera!
Thanks, Sandy. We’re having a great time with these stories! Next one out in August…
I loved both “Beyond The Stars” anthologies! I’m also looking forward to Patrice’s “Star Crimes” and the next anthology coming out in August. And her short stories, like “Piece of Cake”, “I Dream of Pia” and “Hanging With Humans” are very funny while also being wonderful sci-fi stories as well.
I so appreciate that, Chris. I’m looking forward to finding out what happens in Star Crimes, too! I just have to write it first. 😉
Your time and care in posting reviews for these and for the Future Chronicles is simply tremendous.
Seriously love this antho series. It actually inspired me to start writing again, the first one did. And let’s just say Hope 91 was infuriating simply because it ended lol
I know, right? I adored Hope 91! But here’s a little secret… Nick Webb is considering expanding it into a novel-length book that tells the REST of the story. Wouldn’t that be great? He asked me about that possibility, and I told him, “yes, duh!”
So thrilled that you’ve been inspired to write by our collections! You know that the third one is going to be open for submissions. Stories can be submitted between May 1 and July 1 for late August publication. We’re looking for shorts between four and eight thousand words. More details will be posted soon on the Facebook page: DARK BEYOND THE STARS: a space opera anthology. https://www.facebook.com/groups/720907514685152/
Totally already there. Plotting and planning and researching. Hope to start writing soon… even if I’m stuck using my Kindle lol
I loved Dark Beyond the Stars. I didn’t even know the 1st book was all about women in science fiction, duh! It’s just a lot of great stories. I got Mosaics knowing it was to honor women authors, I bought it on International Women’s Day. To me a good writer is genderless, it’s about the story, the characters.
I completely agree. We didn’t say anything about the genders of the authors in the first anthology… perhaps there was a tiny mention in the Foreword (I’d have to go back and look) but otherwise we didn’t play that up at all. And several folks said they didn’t even realize it.
Talent has no gender.
Talent has no gender! We need a giant poster of that up in time square!!
Fascinating interview, I’m a recent convert to SciFi books so I’m really looking forward to reading this anthology.
Thanks, Pam! I meandered in and out of Sci-Fi-dom, and I still read in all kinds of genres. But the freedom for both writer and reader in this field is what keeps me coming back.
Thank you very much for these collections… I enjoyed the first one, love the second so far, and can’t wait for the third!
I so appreciate hearing that, Shay! We will be starting to read submissions for the summer release in May… I can hardly wait to see what comes in.