The frontier is a complex backdrop for many stories, within many genres, because of its expansive landscape and absence of societal constraints. Often, the frontier means there is no law, allowing for fiercely independent characters because there are no structures to rely on when things go horribly wrong—which they inevitably do in frontier spaces.
A frontier is any land or space that has yet to be explored. From the Wild West with its lawlessness and vigilante justice, to new frontiers created by climate change, technology, and other borders that capture the beauty and brutality of seclusion vs. progress.
Whether it’s a lone character trying to do the right thing in a hostile environment, or a ragtag group of mismatched people working together to survive and create new worlds, now more than ever, frontier tropes are ripe for a reawakening because of the timeless relevance in which an outsider is drawn to new horizons, answering the call to push against boundaries, fight for an underdog cause, or discover unexplored terrains.
Frontier themes might include:
- justice and revenge
- good vs. evil
- lawlessness vs. colonization
- solitary figures
- harsh, unforgiving landscapes
- scarce resources
- space exploration
- classic Westerns
- Native viewpoints on frontier expansion (#ownvoices only, please)
- climate change
- scientific discoveries
Some of our favorite stories utilizing different types of frontiers include: Firefly, Mad Max: Fury Road, Wind River, The Road, The Girl and the Tiger, The Martian, Annihilation, Justified, Interstellar, The Last of the Mohicans, Far and Away, The Walking Dead, The Prestige, The Deadliest Catch, Wild, The Great Alone, Everest, Ex Machina, and so many more!
Frontier spaces mean pushing new boundaries in interesting ways, in the past, present, and future. Whatever your interpretation is, please join us to talk about discovering uncharted spaces of all varieties—real and imagined.
A few new things we’re trying this year:
- If you’d like to watch us talk about our theme and what we’re excited to see, you can find the replay here.
- If you’d like to sign up for our newsletter, we’ll send out weekly short story tips and updates about the kinds of stories we’re seeing (or not seeing) throughout the submission period.
- On July 15, three of our former anthology authors will be LIVE on Facebook, talking about what makes a great short story and how writing them has impacted their publishing careers. Join us July 15 at 9pm EST.
- Submissions will be accepted June 27th – July 24th.
- We love all genres. We’re looking for anything with great storytelling and a tie to the theme. To see how the different genres come together in fun ways, check out any of our previous anthologies.
- Stories should be new and NOT published elsewhere.
- Stories should be less than 7,500 words.
- Simultaneous submissions are accepted.
- Entrants should be 18 years or older.
- Authors will be notified of acceptance or pass between July 25th and 31st. We’ll read everything first before any notifications are sent.
- The anthology will be published in October 2021.
- Authors selected for the anthology will be paid $50 & receive one print copy of the finished book.
- If we are interested in your story, we will send you a contract and additional details about edits, payment, and final due dates.
Send entries to firstname.lastname@example.org as a Word attachment with Frontiers in the subject line, and we will respond between July 25th and 31st. We look forward to hearing from you!
Past anthology themes: