Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Avenir Eclectia: Multi-Author Microfiction

Grace Bridges is the founder of Splashdown Books, an independent publisher operating out of New Zealand. Splashdown publishes fantasy and science fiction novels and the occasional short story collection. In 2011, Grace launched Avenir Eclectia, a multi-author microfiction project. Avenir Eclectia: Volume 1 collects stories from the first year of the project.

Jeff: Please give an overview of the Avenir Eclectia project.

Grace: On the outside, it's a multi-author microfiction project with episodes now in the hundreds. On the inside, it's an expansive tale of the descendants of a colony ship, arrived at their destination some 70 light years from Earth. Our story is set several generations after the colony was established - memories of home are all but lost, and the people must survive their inhospitable surroundings as best they can. We usually post two stories a week on the main website. There's one book so far, and a soundtrack CD with a body of artwork both created by Michael L. Rogers for this project.

Jeff: What inspired you to create the Avenir Eclectia world?

Grace: It was as much for myself as anyone else. I wanted to set up a storyworld that I could come back to again and again as a writer, one that would develop a rich history and cast of characters. So I placed the Avenir ship, itself repurposed as a space station, orbiting Eclectia, a dangerously unstable planet, where the safest place to live is under the sea. Add in some sentient telepathic sea creatures, some dirtside hunters, giant bugs, diamond mines, nomads, and space pirates as well as asteroid monasteries and moon bases, and there is a great range of settings and characters to choose from. The variety is intended to provide a space for speculative writers of all sorts: science fiction, fantasy and horror.

Jeff: What are you looking for in submissions?

Grace: Stories need to be written especially for this world. Tidying up any existing stories generally doesn't work because of the peculiarities of the setting. We call it microfiction—this could be a length of 100-500 words, though we go up to 1000 or over on occasion. Try to make each episode complete in itself, containing a vignette of intense emotion, although strings of related episodes are also welcome. You may use existing characters if their author doesn't mind, or have your new character interact with them. A good degree of familiarity with the storyworld is a must. All episodes are on our website, or for a truly well-rounded introduction, there is the anthology we put out last year containing 138 micro-episodes and several articles about the history and setting. Find it here in paperback and Kindle:

Jeff: What does the future hold for the Avenir Eclectia project?

Grace: A number of our authors, including myself, are working on novel-length projects set in this world, and as with the anthology, these will likely also be published by Splashdown Books as time goes on. More anthologies are also going to happen when we have gathered enough appropriate material. Avenir Eclectia Vol. 1 is a finalist in the Sir Julius Vogel Awards, which recognizes excellence in science fiction and fantasy from a New Zealand origin—the winners will be announced on July 14, so that's going to be exciting! In the meantime, keep looking on the site for new stories. We are always after new contributors to add a new angle on this shared world.


  1. It's not for me, but dies sound an interesting project.

  2. This looks like my cup of tea. I've just sold another story about telepathic aquatic aliens. Thanks so much for the heads-up