Still here? Well, perhaps rumours surrounding the extinction of the human race, and the destruction of the planet we inhabit, have been a little exaggerated. Which is good news, in more ways that one, but the thing that is exciting me the most is that this means we can announce the judges of the third issue of The Red Line. And what better people to share your life-raft or last meal with, than the Post-Apocalyptic Book Club based in London? So, without further shenanigans, here is what they look like, and what they say about themselves:
The Post-Apocalyptic Book Club started 4 years ago with a very shy group of 6 people meeting to discuss Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. The group has grown and evolved since then, with a member base of over 600 readers, we don’t just read books anymore. We have had our own short story competitions, organise author panels and the club’s organiser Leila Abu el Hawa has even been invited to speak at the Natural History Museum in London on themes within post-apocalyptic and dystopian literature.
The chosen judges are all long term members and three were finalists of the PABC competition End It! Here’s a little bit about us:
Leila Abu el Hawa is the founder and organiser of the Post-Apocalyptic Book Club which means that she has ploughed through at least an impressive 60 books this endeavour. As well as organising the group, she also organises and chairs authors panels, most recently Dark Societies in association with Waterstones Piccadilly and reviews books for Sci-Fi London (http://www.sci-fi-london.com/ ). Her favourite post-apocalyptic book is On the Beach by Nevil Shute.
Lucy Blackburn has been a member of the book club since September 2011 after being introduced to the group by a friend. She helps Leila with the organisation of the group and also reviews books for their website. Lucy’s favourite book is Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood.
Jason Pursey landed on our shores in April 2011 and joined the group within hours of his arrival. A very vocal member of the group, this man is difficult to please. His favourite book is also On the Beach by Nevil Shute. Jason came joint 3rd place in the End it! short story competition.
Liam Hogan is a writer-wannabe and inventor of the Crocopig which came 4th place. Modesty forbids him from talking about his other short story successes but you can find them all at http://happyendingnotguaranteed.blogspot.co.uk/. His favourite Post-Apocalyptic novel is Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut. He joined the group in September 2011.
Gillian McGrandles has been a member of the group for nearly two years so has witnessed a number of ways to end the world now. She has previously worked as an actor and teacher, but now spends her days in the archives of Wandsworth Heritage Service helping people to find out whether their house used to be the local lunatic asylum in 1857 or was narrowly missed by a V2 bomb in 1944. Her story came in 2nd place and her favourite book is The Plague by Albert Camus, a book she read at school and thought so real that maybe it was a part of French history that she was thus far unaware of!
Will Robertson In the real world is a marketing copywriter with a biochemistry degree – so he’s no stranger to science or fiction. A fan of post-apocalyptic fiction since reading The Day of the Triffids as a boy, he writes short stories and occasionally begins novels, none of which seem to make it past a few thousand words. His story came in joint 3rd with Jason.
Across the world the lights have gone out. The black hand of annihilation has tightened like a fist around the Earth. Submissions are now closed for the End of the World. Where are you now, Scamp, when we need you most…?
The good news is that a small band of survivors have grouped together to sift through the shortlisted entries and choose one writer to save from the wreckage of the apocalypse. So, the reading group for Issue three will be announced later this week, followed by the shortlist.
Thanks to everyone who has entered so far. We are delighted at the steadily growing interest in this project.
The purpose of this feedback is to both give the writers some insight into how the decision was reached, as well as to provide some useful criticism about the work.
So, the stories themselves and the feedback on each is available here.
In the meantime, only three days remain before The End of the World, and the judges will be announced shortly after the deadline is closed.
Once again we are delighted to announce a winner, and recipient of the fifty pounds cash prize. Once again we are delighted at the high caliber of entrants, and the fierce nature of the competition. Once again the Irish have triumphed.
Obviously, one half of the editorial team is delighted. The other half of the editorial team less so. Yes, the winner of the second ever Red Line competition is Barrie McKinley’s tale of Irish defiance against the symbols of a waning, toothless British empire, “Dogs”.
Still, in spite of the national divisions within our editorial team, it is now undoubtedly the case that the Irish are on a roll, and have laid down the gauntlet to the rest of the English-speaking world. As before, full feedback will be posted on all stories shortly. Maybe it will help some of the non-Irish writers to raise their game.
However, we are now ten days away from the end of the world, at which point national boundaries are likely to be fairly insignificant. We are all in this one together. The End is coming.
The only ray of hope is that plucky Scamp, who was thought to have given his life to prevent global destruction only last week, has been found alive and well, having washed up on a beach in the Maldives. Attached to this post is the first image of our canine hero that has been released to the press.
So raise a glass with me and let’s toast: “To Dogs!”
Due to the valiant efforts of young Jimmy Williams (pictured) the world has been granted a temporary reprieve from the impending disaster that was set to wipe out most, if not all, human life on this planet. Using only string and matches, and accompanied by his pet dog, Scamp, little Jimmy was able to succeed where governments, superheroes, and rogue scientists with crazy, million-to-one-shot theories have so far failed. Tragically Scamp did not survive to accompany his master in this press photograph, having sacrificed himself to rescue Jimmy from some un-named peril during their heroic, if somewhat light on detail, adventure.
So a round of applause for Scamp, a manly slap on the back for Jimmy, and a short stay of execution for the rest of us.
The End of the World submissions will now close on Friday 17th May, at which time the lights will most definitely go out across the globe, and the shortlist will be decided.
In the meantime, we may as well enjoy our last few remaining weeks together by seeing who has won the second Red Line competition, themed Excess. Our judges have been tucked away in their bunker for a few weeks now, and the day is drawing near when they announce their decision.
For Issue 4, we want to take a look at this strange beast: its effects and slippery nature. How does time change our surroundings, our lives, our minds? How can we control its flow and should we even try? How do our yesterdays effect our tomorrows? And what does it mean to live in interesting times?
Get those submissions in before June 30th and, as Shakespeare wrote, ‘Defer no time; delays have dangerous ends’.
If you go to the “Issue 1: Borders” menu option, in red at the top of the home page, you can read, or re-read, the entries as well as see the rankings that were assigned by the judges and the reasoning behind each – the positive and the negative.
Apologies for the wait, and we would like to make it clear that this is the fault of the editors and not the judges.
Hailing from sunny California, USA, the judges are a group of Graduate Creative Writing Students at San Francisco State University. :
Stephanie Doeing will soon be receiving her MA in Fiction at SFSU. She is the former Fiction Editor of Fourteen Hills and has been published in Gesture and in Transfer, where shereceived the Leo Litwak award for fiction.
Miah Jeffra is an artist, educator and writer, living in San Francisco. He is Chair of Humanities and Art at the Art Institute of California, and Visiting Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at SFAI. His work can be seen in Fifth Wednesday, Educe, A Cappella Zoo, Edge and Cause & Effect, among others. He is Editor-in-Chief of Fourteen Hills.
Kelly McNerney is a bookseller, editor, and an MFA Candidate in Poetry at SFSU. Former Editor-in-Chief and Poetry Editor of Fourteen Hills, her work has appeared in Transfer, Verse Wisconsin, and Metonym.
Ari Moskowitz is working toward his MFA in Fiction at SFSU, where he is currently the Fiction Editor of Fourteen Hills. He also serves as a graduate instructional aid in poetry classes. He graduated from Wesleyan University as an English major, which helps with the grad school thing but not so much with his poker play nor his yoga practice.
Nate Waggoner is a writer, educator, and cartoonist living in Oakland, CA. He is an MFA candidate at San Francisco State University for Fiction, a former Creative World Awards screenplay judge, and a current contributor tokqed.org/pop. He and his ex-girlfriend host a romance advice podcast called “Invitation to Love,” which is available on iTunes.www.natewagg.com and twitter.com/nathanielwagg.
There you have it. The Issue 2 winner will be announced on April 30th.
So, in the meantime, check out the shortlist and give our judges a warm welcome.
Hello, and welcome back. We are delighted to announce the shortlist for the second issue of the Red Line, “Excess”. We think that it is a strong and diverse selection, including some thought-provoking topics and bold narratives. We hope you enjoy them.
The judges will introduce themselves shortly, and at the end of the month we look forward to announcing another winner.
Apologies in the meantime for tardiness on posting the full feedback from last month’s judges. Please stay with us; it will be posted ahead of the current judges announcements.
The shortlist for the Excess issue is:
As before, you are able to read the stories using the Issuu application by selecting the “Excess Shortlist” page from the menu above.
It’s been a bit quiet from us recently and we apologise for that, but both of us have made big moves this month; Toby to a new home in London, and Stephen to Guangzhou in China. Even so we have diligently been picking through the submissions for the Excess issue, and will continue to do so through the flurry of entries that come before the deadline, so that we can announce the shortlist on round-about the 5th April.
Submissions are also still open for the “End of the World” issue.
After a nail-biting month since the shortlist was announced, we can now confirm the winner for the first ever Red Line competition and fifty British pounds. Congratulations to Geraldine Creed whose story “Fuel for the Fire” came out narrowly on top. Djmoma described it as, amongst other things, an “engrossing human drama anyone can relate to”. In addition they have provided fantastic, constructive feedback on all of the entries this issue. We will be compiling all of the stories and related feedback to create a single document that will go up on the site some time next week.
In the meantime, commiserations to those that did not win, (though hopefully making the shortlist is a prize in itself!). Thanks to Magda, Mo, Dean and John for being our first judges, and streamers and fanfares for our first winner, Geraldine Creed.
The next time a well-meaning friend or family member tries to tell you “it’s not the end of the world” you can turn around and tell them with absolute confidence that they are dead wrong. The end is nigh and the only questions are “when” and “how”.
“When” is April 30th, but “how” is entirely up to you.
Doomsday cults, Mayan prophecies and itinerant asteroids haven’t wiped us out yet but for Issue 3 we want you to tell us what The End may truly look like. What will finally snuff us out: cosmic catastrophe, disease, nuclear war? And what would surviving the apocalypse mean? What would life in the post-civilisation landscape look like?
Of course the apocalypse can also be personal. We all live in our own worlds, so what happens when these end? What do we do when the stability of our modern lives is ruptured by environmental disaster, economic disorder, violent revolution, betrayal, or not getting those tickets that you told your girlfriend you would definitely remember today and, no, she didn’t need you to remind you because you definitely would remember this time?
So for Issue 3, the world is yours to end (just don’t do it with zombies, please).