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Submissions Update


General Submissions: We’re currently ~80% through Stage 1 for our November general submissions, and hope to be making Stage 2 decisions in early February.

Seasonal/Holiday submissions: We’ll be opening to submissions again in the first half of February, seasonal/holiday submissions. This is to cover Halloween 2023, Christmas/Winter Holidays 2023, and any other special event that you have a story that you think would be a good fit for!

Full guidelines are here: https://www.castofwonders.org/submissions/

We look forward to reading your stories!

Cast of Wonders Flash Fiction Contest


We’re now in the last few days of voting in the final round of our flash fiction contest, and the competition is fierce!
If you’re a forum member, you can read and vote on the finalists here (and if you’re not a forum member, why not join up, introduce yourself, and join in on the fun?).

The three winning stories will be published here in early 2023!

Introducing our new assistant editors!


Stagehands Assemble!

There’ve been some changes backstage in the last month, and two of our very talented and hard-working staff members have stepped up to join the editorial team at Cast of Wonders. Cup Jacob and Alicia Caporaso have both shown their skills as associate editors in the slushpile; their careful and supportive critiques and advice have helped shape many of our published pieces, and helped the team provide what we hope are useful and fair rejection letters. They’ve got to grips with all the nuts and bolts of the production process, and have taken the lead on several smaller submission windows. Now, it’s time to give them a moment in the spotlight to introduce themselves in their own words.


First up is Alicia Caporaso, who has been with the team for the last five years.

Hello! My name is Alicia Caporaso, and I am so happy to take on the role of Assistant Editor at Cast of Wonders. I first learned about Escape Artists around 2008 through listening to the French-language Science Fiction and Fantasy Podcast Utopod, which, on Science Fiction blogs, was repeatedly and favorably compared to EscapePod. I had to check it out, and have been listening to EscapePod, Podcastle, PseudoPod, and Cast of Wonders ever since (that’s a lot of stories!). I was one of the winners of the first Podcastle Flash Fiction Contest in 2010 with my story The Water Sprite, and I still have my original Podcastle t-shirt that I won! In 2017 I applied to be an Associate Editor with Cast of Wonders and have loved every minute of reading stories submitted to us. I was honored to guest edit Banned Books Week 2022, which gave me an excellent introduction to the behind-the-scenes process of editing our podcast. I am blown away by the diversity and creativity of our authors. We have a true community of storytellers here.

I am a marine archaeologist with undergraduate degrees in Anthropology and Engineering, a Master’s degree in Anthropology, and a Ph.D. in Oceanography (I love it when authors incorporate science into stories!). I work as a marine scientist for the U.S. federal government in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. My office is in New Orleans, but I work from Minnesota (yay remote work!). My two little Louisiana Swamp Monsters – they look like dogs, but you know – just experienced their first snow, and I can’t say that they like it yet. We are looking forward to getting to know the speculative fiction community here and I can’t wait to go to my first CONvergence!


And here’s Cup Jacob, with his thoughts about YA fiction and working with Cast of Wonders.

Young Adult Fiction is some of the most impactful literature because we read them at the age we started reading for ourselves. By this I mean we chose to read these stories instead of having an adult decide what we might like.

I wasn’t the nicest of kids and I would get into a lot of trouble in grade school. Detention where I went to school meant having our play hours replaced with library time. And I loved it! I started with the encyclopedias, then I discovered our school’s huge collection of Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and Three Investigators Mysteries. I eventually started going to the library outside of detention hours.

Soon after, I discovered the used book stores and with my student allowance savings I discovered Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn, Ursula LeGuin’s A Wizard of Earthsea, while high school literature classes introduced Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s This Earth of Mankind and Ceres Alabado’s Kangkong 1896.

For some condescending reason, many adults consider young adult literature as easy reading. I don’t see anything wrong with that. This ease in reading is often achieved by a musicality of language and a tightness of structure that many so-called adult stories aspire for. It harkens back to our early civilizations where stories are oral, they are recited to an audience, and they provoke conversation after, building community.

Nowadays, I am often stuck doing things I would rather not be doing and podcasts have helped make those times worth living. It seems that long commute hours and chores have replaced detention of my childhood, while podcasts like Cast of Wonders make these hours not just liveable but wonderful.

I look forward to more stories with you.

September News


Submissions schedule for 2022/2023

We’ve just updated our submissions schedule for the remainder of the year and the first half of 2023. More opportunities may be announced in due course, and all dates are subject to potential change.

Flash Fiction Contest

The portal for flash fiction contest entries has now closed, and the team will be announcing the schedule for the contest groups soon! If you don’t already have an account on the EA forum (where the stories will be posted), now’s a great time to grab one!

Production Delays

Some stories take a while to find the right voice, but we hope you’re happy with what they bring to our episodes. We’ve got a flood of new pieces just around the corner, in the run-up to Banned Books Week. Expect the next episode to drop next weekend, with several more hot on its heels.

Banned Books Week

We are SO excited about our stories for Banned Books Week this year. Watch this space at the end of the month…

Banned Books Week 2022 – call for submissions


To See Yourself in Pages, Paragraphs, Sentences, and Words: Books, Stories, and Representation

Each year, the American Library Association Office of Intellectual Freedom (OIF) compiles a list of the top 10 most challenged books that are requested for removal from schools and libraries. In 2021, the OIF documented 729 challenges of 1597 books and materials; however, it estimates that 82-97% of challenges go unreported. That means approximately 50,000 challenges to books were made in 2021! While trends in the subject of challenged books may reflect reactionary response to social movements that challenge prevailing authorities – reasons given for many top-10 challenges in 2020 during the peak of the Black Lives Matter movement include “promoting anti-police views” – most books are challenged for centering the lived experiences of marginalized peoples along racial, gender, and social lines. 

In the United States, more than 12 states have recently passed laws that restrict how public-school teachers can talk about race, gender, and sexuality in the classroom, including banning associated materials from school libraries. Some states have even begun debating whether to expand these restrictions to public libraries that serve adult readers. (For a discussion of these trends, see this article.) 

At Cast of Wonders, we welcome stories that portray the full spectrum of human (and non-human) experience. We don’t challenge books; we want books and stories to challenge us! 

For Banned Books Week 2022, send us your stories that show how books and stories serve as a beacon for identity, serving to draw peoples and communities together; books that make the statement: “This is who I am, this is who we are, and we will be heard!” (This phrase need not appear in the story but should be a resonant theme). The book should feature prominently in the story and not serve as a prop or McGuffin; however, we encourage creativity in interpreting what a book is and how it is woven into the story. We like to be surprised! We are especially interested in stories that feature joy and hope, even if the setting is intergalactic war or a zombie apocalypse. 

Cast of Wonders looks for stories that evoke a sense of wonder, have deep emotional resonance, and have something unreal about them. We aim for a 12-17 age range: that means sophisticated, non-condescending stories with wide appeal, and without gratuitous or explicit sex, violence or pervasive obscene language.

Preference for this submission window is under 5,000 words with an absolute limit of 6,000 words. Submissions must adhere to Cast of Wonders guidelines. 

Submissions will be accepted from May 1 to May 14 through our Moksha Portal – we can’t wait to read what you send in!

Joining the editorial team for this call is one of our long-standing Associate Editors, Alicia Caporaso. We’re thrilled to have her and all of her expertise on the team for this event.

Banned Books Week: hold the date!


Our slush team have worked tremendously hard these past few months on General Subs and an absolutely stellar set of Halloween submissions. So, we’ve decided to delay our Banned Books Week window by a month, and give them a bit of a breather.  Expect a further announcement about our Banned Books Week call in the next week or so!

 

Revised submissions schedule can be found here:

Schedule

Closing the Curtains on 2021


Closing the Curtains on 2021

Cast of Wonders’ Annual Review and 2022 Awards Eligibility Post

Ten Years of Wonder

It’s been another busy year at Cast of Wonders. We didn’t quite dodge COVID, and we couldn’t gather together with our friends as much as we’d have liked, but we still had a chance to celebrate. 2021 was Cast of Wonders’ 10th birthday! Our little stage celebrated ten years of wonder last summer with a series of posts reviewing what makes a Cast of Wonders story special, and showcasing our favourite stories of the past decade.   

This year, we published 25 pieces of original fiction and 20 reprints – a full list can be found further down the page. As always, you can find our individual favourite stories on our Staff Picks page, and a highlights package for 2021 will follow soon. (Continue Reading…)

10th birthday image

Ten Years of Wonder – III


Continuing on from the previous post, here are our spotlight stories from the last five years of Cast of Wonders!

Year 6

Our back catalogue story for year 6 is one of my all time favourites, Mr Quacky in Space by Amanda Helms, narrated by Katherine Inskip. A sinister, demonic alien force possesses a mechanical… duck? In a space station amusement park? This story was a sheer delight to narrate, and it’s one I come back to time and time again.

Our editor’s pick is Blood and Water by Jason Kimble, narrated by Paul Cram. This is a gorgeous, gorgeous teen romance. Bring tissues for this one – it’s an absolute masterclass in grabbing the reader by “the feels”.

(Continue Reading…)

10th birthday image

Ten Years of Wonder – II


Over the last few days, our twitter account has been highlighting some of our favourite stories from the last ten years. If you’ve not read/listened back that far, they’re all well worth your time!

Year 1

Cast of Wonders’ very first story is A Suitable Pet , by Abigail Hilton, narrated by Summer Brooks. This tale of princesses, knights, and dragons is really all about cages. Some are more comfortable than others, but all kinds hold us back from our potential.

For each year, we’re also highlighting an editor’s choice story. From year one, To Be True (part 1) (part 2), by Jess Hyslop, narrated by Graeme Dunlop. Karima, the young protagonist of this story, learns some hard truths about her world but finds the courage inside herself to take a stand against corruption and dishonour.

(Continue Reading…)

Open to Submissions – Young Authors!


Each summer, we have a special submissions window for young authors. If you are aged 19 or under, this submissions call is for you!

Our usual submissions guidelines still apply – please ensure your manuscript is fully anonymised, and that the content of the story is appropriate for Cast of Wonders. It’s easier on our readers if your story is in a standard manuscript format, but this is not essential. We love to receive stories that are meaningful to you. Write us something fun, magical, inspiring, terrifying, novel, exciting… whatever form of wonder speaks to you!

Don’t self reject! Our readers are waiting!

The stage doors will be open from July 18th through to August 18th.

 

10th birthday image

Ten Years of Wonder


Ten Years of Wonder: what wonder means to us.

Cast of Wonders is a pro-paying, SFWA qualifying market and part of the Escape Artists family of podcasts, but beyond that we are principally a Young Adult speculative fiction market. Generally speaking, we aim to produce stories that a 12-year-old reader would have no trouble following, but that a 17-year-old wouldn’t find childish. We hope adult readers would enjoy our stories, too.

Being a Young Adult, speculative fiction podcast means we want to receive stories that include the hallmarks of Young Adult fiction. One of the chief characteristics of the YA genre is that its stories generally contain a sense of “wonder”. It’s no coincidence that “Wonder” is in the title of our podcast. (Continue Reading…)