Editors Seek War Poems about Emerging & Future Tech
Middle West Press LLC, an independent micro-publisher of military-themed and -adjacent literary projects, has issued a call for human-generated poems engaging with “Giant Robot” technology themes.
What is a "Giant Robot" theme? For this project, the term "Giant Robots" can include examples of technologies in timelines both real and imagined, and of any size or (even formless) form. Living Ships. Loitering Drones. Taxi-cab AI. Robot Tanks. Virtual Soldiers. Space Explorers. Mecha-suits. In short, any vessel for exploring themes of human-electro-mechanical-cyber interaction, connection, and competition.
The working title of this project is Giant Robot Poems: Poetry About Mecha-Human Science, Culture & War.
Editors of the project write:
Our intent with this project is to have fun, but also to illuminate, interrogate, and challenge (via the still-human domain of poetry!!!) the ways people think about emerging and future technologies such as robots and drones, Artificial Intelligence (AI), cybernetic enhancements, etc. We are looking for terrain-shifting, mind's-eye-bending, firmament-rending expressions of new and future realities. Be provocative. Be poignant. Be human. Even if you write like a Giant Robot.
Ideally, many of the works submitted will engage such questions as:
- How does technology potentially change human behavior / culture / society?
- How does technology potentially change human behavior ethics / values?
- How does technology potentially change the ways humans fight / love / think / feel?
Many examples of "Giant Robot-ness" exist in today's news and culture. As a starting point or prompt, our editors offer a list of examples and inspirations. In creating and crafting their own, original concepts and works, poets might consider various modes of commenting, observing, or even inhabiting technologies, mythologies, or stories depicted in these and other venues:
Giant Robots in Modern News & Modern War. Examples & inspirations include:
- Tactical Drones & "Loyal Wingman" concepts
- Battlefield Robots & Security Drones & Dog-bots
- Exoskeletons / Powered Armor / Battlesuits / "Iron-Man" Suits
Giant Robots in Literature. Examples & inspirations include:
- Keith Laumer's Bolos
- "Living Ships," such as those of Anne Leckie's Imperial Radch trilogy; Fred Saberhagen's Berserkers; Anne McCaffrey's "Brain & Brawn Ships"
- Martha Wells' Murderbot Diaries series
- Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers (1959)
- Frankenstein's monster from Mary Shelley's 1818 book; Golems and other fantastical constructed creatures
Giant Robots in TV, Toys, Movies & Animation. Examples & inspirations include:
- "The Iron Giant" (Warner, 1999)
- "Giant Robo" a.k.a. "Johnny Sokko & His Flying Robot" (1967); "Gigantor" (1963) a.k.a. "Tetsujin 28-go"
- "Mobile Suit Gundum" (1979)
- Voltron; "Titan Maximum"
- Rock'Em Sock'Em Robots; "Real Steel" (DreamWorks, 2011)
Giant Robots in Comics. Examples & inspirations include:
- Marvel Comics' mutant-hunting Sentinels
- Giant Robot Maintenance Crew (Cosmic Times, 2017); Mech Cadet Yu (Boom, 2017); Giant Robot Warriors (AiT/PlanetLar, 2004)
- Giga (Vault Comics, 2020); The Monuments (2023); 20th Century Men (Image, 2023): We Ride Titans (Vault, 2022)
Giant Robots in Video & War Games. Examples & inspirations include:
- OGRE (Steve Jackson Games, 1977-present)
- BattleTech/MechCommander franchise (FASA)
- Iron Harvest (King Art, 2020)
- Titanfall 2 (Electronic Arts, 2016)
- Pizza Titan Ultra (2018)
- Deadline for submissions is Dec. 4, 2023. Notifications will be sent not later than Jan. 1, 2024. Target publication date for this project is April 2024.
- Submit from 1 to 3 poems in the same file (.DOC or .DOCX).
- Work generated using ChatGPT and similar computer-assisted word "AI" will NOT be accepted. Human-generated poems only, please.
- New and original work is preferred. Please note in cover letter whether specific works have previously been published elsewhere.
- Simultaneous submissions are accepted. Please notify the editors via Submittable if one of more poems becomes unavailable during the consideration period.
- Publisher requests non-exclusive, worldwide, English-language print and e-book anthology rights.
Submit work via the publisher's Submittable page here at this link.
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