The Sea is Ours: Tales of Steampunk and Southeast Asia


Lord knows I love steampunk. But what I love even more are all the conversations that have been that have been going on over the years (more and more as time goes on) about steampunk not so entrenched in the Western World. My friend Jaymee Goh, prolific writer, scholar and bad ass in the steampunk and SFF community has written about this before: check out some of her work on Tor.com. Now she and the amazing Joyce Chng are putting together a steampunk anthology of steampunk short stories set in Southeast Asia!

Jaymee and I did our Master’s at the same university. She’s prolific and passionate, and Joyce’s writing is incredible. This is a little late – the deadline is pretty close. Still, if you can whip up a story fast or grab one out of the trunk and revise, you might still be able to make it! Check out the Call for Submissions below:

THE SEA IS OURS is an anthology of Southeast Asian steampunk. We are looking for steampunk stories that are set in Southeast Asia (SEA), or secondary worlds that evoke Southeast Asia, with Southeast Asian protagonists, in any of the countries that make up the region: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. We are seeking historically and technologically-innovative stories.

Steampunk, for the purposes of this anthology, is defined as an aesthetic that combines technofantasy, anachronism, retro-futurism, an alternate history/world, and the evocation of an incipient industrial revolution. How does the steampunk aesthetic look, feel, sound, smell, or taste like in these regions? What kind of technologies would grow in resource-rich SEAsia? What do our historical figures, our Parameswaras, Trung sisters, Lapu-Lapus, do in such a world?

Submissions are encouraged to explore various levels and kinds of technologies, not just steam technology. Locals myths can also find their way into these stories; what does the mix of technology and fantasy look like in such worlds? We welcome exploration of all kinds of stories: from the extraordinary to the everyday. What changes does accelerated technology create for the local landscape and societies? If historical events are given a steampunk twist, how do their outcomes change, or stay the same?

We will contact all submitters within four weeks of submissions closing.

  • •Stories should have a visible development arc, even if they are somewhat experimental.
  • •Stories should be in English, but we take a broad view of English, which includes dialect, accents, local slang, and non-English words that express nuances that standard English can’t.
  • •Characters should be embedded in their settings. We should not be able to transplant the specifics of their story easily, even if they are based on common science fiction/fantasy archetypes.
  • •Local takes on actual historical events are highly encouraged, although not necessary in alternate world settings. Mention in your submission email the specific event you are referencing.
  • •Stories featuring queer characters, characters with disabilities, non-normative relationships, and other such non-mainstream narratives are welcome.

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