States of Deseret is now available

Cover of States of Deseret featuring a Casey Jex Smith pen and ink illustration of a Mormon temple with the San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate bridge in the backgroundPeculiar Pages in collaboration with A Motley Vision is pleased to announce the release of States of Deseret. With a foreword by Theric Jepson, cover illustration by Casey Jex Smith and 8 pieces of short and short short fiction, States of Deseret is, as far as I can tell, the first anthology devoted solely to Mormon alternate history.

It was a ton of fun to edit. My thanks to the eight contributors who authored such interesting and varied stories and who put up with my editing notes. This is a short anthology–it’s about 26,000 total words of fiction. It’s lean and mean and packs a punch. But that means that we’ve by no means exhausted this particular patch of the garden. I hope that it’ll inspire other Mormon authors to tackle the genre of alternate history.

Here’s the blurb:

What if the territory of Deseret had never joined the Union and instead became its own nation? What if Leo Tolstoy or Nikola Tesla had converted to the LDS Church? What if Brigham Young had gone all the way to California instead of stopping in Utah? The genre of alternate history invites us to imagine how the past (and thus our present and future) would be different if different choices had been made. These eight stories provide glimpses at alternate historical trajectories for Mormons and Mormonism—of other states of Deseret.

States of Deseret is available in several different ebook formats worldwide for $2.99* from: Amazon/Kindle | B&N/Nook | Kobo | iBooks

We don’t plan on offering a print version at this time, but if things change, I’ll be sure to let you know.

*or local currency equivalent

Review: With a Title Like _Monsters & Mormons_, How Could You Not Have Fun?, Part One

It’s taking me a while to get through  Monsters & Mormons, not because it’s not super enjoyable (because it is!), but because it’s a pretty long book (which, to me, is no flaw. The upcoming Saints on Stage: An Anthology For Mormon Drama which I edited for Zarahemla Books is a behemoth as well). Also when I finish a short story, I feel a temporary sense of completeness, so the book doesn’t always draw me back like a novel does because I’m not left “hanging” so to speak. So I’ve decided to break up my review of Monsters and Mormons over a few different reviews so I can write while the stories are still somewhat fresh in my mind. It will also allow me to address the short stories more individually instead of as a blurred whole.

First, my overall impression of Monsters & Mormons: it’s a winner. A big winner. As some one who has lived in imaginative waters since he was a child and hasn’t been afraid to invite his religion to play in those waters with him, I totally dig projects like this. Now, I’ve never been much of a horror fan, especially when it leads to copious amounts of blood and gore. I mean, like, yuck. Not my thing. However, I do love ghost stories and supernatural monsters (I keep wanting to read some H.P. Lovecraft), and, if it doesn’t lead to too much gruesomeness, I can definitely enjoy stories like this. This is definitely not something I would suggest to some of my less adventurous or conservative thinking family and friends, but it’s something I would suggest to the imaginative Mormon who doesn’t mind mixing fantasy and religion (and I know a number of non-Mormons who would get a kick out of it!) . So let’s get to the individual stories in the first part of the collection:

Continue reading “Review: With a Title Like _Monsters & Mormons_, How Could You Not Have Fun?, Part One”

Monsters & Mormons: round 3 of admits

Yes, progress is being made, and Theric and I are pleased to announced round 3 of admits to the Monsters & Mormons anthology. These 7 works bring us to 15 total. There is still room for more. And we are continuing to work on figuring out which submissions will make the cut. Once again, until you have been specifically e-mailed a rejection, your work is still in the running. And, once again, we’re not doing this in order of our favorite works to our least favorites or anything like that. This is simply the next round we want to announce and is calculated to show that whole thing about range and depth*. And yet again, we’ve got some pretty awesome authors and works here (in no particular order):

  • The novella Fangs of a Dragon by David J. West — a Porter Rockwell (tall-) tale that draws heavily on late 19th-century Utah history and folk legend
  • The short story “I Had Killed A Zombie” by Adam Greenwood — a zombie post-apocalyptic first person account that riffs off of Joseph Smith’s rhetorical style
  • The short comic “Mormon Golem” by Steve Morrison — a reworking of the Golem legend set in 1838 in Far West, Missouri
  • The short story “That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made” by Eric James Stone — space opera of the alien-encounter sort with an unusual Mormon angle that was originally published in Analog
  • The short story “The Living Wife” by Emily Milner — a domestic-drama ghost story with a very Mormon context
  • The novella Brothers In Arms by Graham Bradley — action-packed zombie military sci-fi with Mormon protagonists
  • The short comic “Traitors and Tyrants: A Wives of Erasmus Adventure” written by John Nakamura Remy with art by Galen Dara  — ninja action adventure Mormon polygamy/State of Deseret alternate history steampunk

Note that I use the word Mormon as an adjective a lot in the descriptions above. Part of that is that I don’t want to get too far in to spoiler territory, but it’s also that each of these works very much embrace both the Monsters and the Mormons aspects to this anthology. We’ve got some good ones here, folks. And more to come.

*For example, you’ll notice that we have included at least one novella and two short stories in each class so far. That trend may or may not continue.