As I was preparing to write this post to announce the launch of our Kickstarter campaign for Embroidered Worlds: Fantastic Fiction from Ukraine and the Diaspora, I realized that it was almost exactly 12 years ago (September 2, 2011) that I ran my first Kickstarter campaign, along with artist Madeline Carol Matz, for our comic book, Sticks & Bones. Kickstarter was still a fairly new platform then; nonetheless, it brought together 90 backers who helped us bring that comic, with its beautifully hand-painted pages, to fruition. I love that story, and I am so grateful for the lessons my first Kickstarter taught me about collaboration and creative community.
So much has changed in those 12 years—in the world and in my life. This time, the goal of the kickstarter is to bring Ukrainian stories of the fantastic to a broader audience, in partnership with an indie publisher out of Detroit, Atthis Arts. The executive editor is author E.D.E. Bell, who works alongside managing editor Chris Bell, with the support of a team of friends and associates.
How did a small press in Detroit connect with two editors in Dnipro, Ukraine—Olha Brylova and Iryna Pasko—and one (that’s me) in Chicago? Thanks to some introductions by members of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association, writers who are living and fighting and writing though a war were able to connect with an indie publisher passionate about championing diverse and authentic voices.
You can hear from those two Ukrainian editors on the Kickstarter video (link below in the comments), and from me (I appear at the end!) It is an honor to work alongside them and the publishers to bring you this anthology. I would have loved to discover such a collection of stories when I was young. Back in the 1980s, I could find little contemporary Ukrainian fiction, due to Soviet censorship and propaganda. I was hungry for those stories; that is part of what motivated me to start writing my own, and it is also a big reason why I am editing this anthology today.
In this terrible invasion that is part of its ongoing colonialism, Russia is trying to erase Ukraine, her people, her culture, her history, her language, her stories. Art and writing are very much an act of resistance. Science fiction, fantasy, horror, weird, and experimental genres of literature have long allowed writers to tell imaginative stories that also comment on injustice, provide an escape, celebrate authentic expression, challenge assumptions, defy stereotypes, and suggest possibilities other than the one we are living through today.
That is powerful. Stories are powerful, and that power grows when the stories are shared. Please help us to share these stories in any way you are able. There are different options on the Kickstarter campaign, and there are so many social media channels and community organizations that can help to spread the word. Reach out to me on this site if you have questions; I will do my best to answer them or find someone who can.
Thank you for your time and support. Slava Ukraini!