FEBRUARY: ON THE AIR
Coming to you live from an undisclosed location, now accepting all callers.
MARCH: EARTH, WIND, AND FIRE (F/F SPECIAL)
The time has once again come for the ancient and noble art of ladybending.
His brain may be positronic, but his heart is real.
JUNE: FATHERS' DAY
We have taken to referring to this as our 'daddy issue' and are unlikely to stop anytime soon.
JULY: COLOR WHEEL (YES, AND SPECIAL)
Calling all rainbows!
AUGUST: THE SOLDIERING LIFE
Seamen, rear admirals, and other brothers in arms, it's time for you to report for duty.
SEPTEMBER: FOUR SEASONS (ARTIST SPECIAL)
A discourse on the transitory nature of life and the passage of time. Either that, or a really swanky hotel.
OCTOBER: UNDER THE SEA
Since life is better down where it's wetter.
DECEMBER: THEME-FREE BIG BANG*BANG
And as always, the sky's the limit!
Some commentary on themes in general and these themes in particular can be found below:
We loved all the ideas we got out of the theme suggestion post!
The question is always what would make a good whole issue. We want enough specificity so that there's room for inspiration, but not so much that we run the risk of having the same story a dozen times. Generally, if I can brainstorm ten solid ideas for a theme in five minutes, that will probably be that works for a lot of different people and gets a variety of stories.
If you had a theme you really liked and you don't see it here, there are two reasons you shouldn't fret! One is that we've got a big collected list of theme suggestions waiting to be used in the future, and two is that you can still write the story you wanted to write for it whenever you want! Themes are, as always, only suggestions, and you can spindle, fold, mutilate, and/or ignore them as suits you.
Dates are forthcoming, but you can pretty much bet that with few expections, an issue will come out on the last Monday of its specified month, the artist deadline will be the Saturday before that, and the text deadline will be the Tuesday before that.
A couple of the specific themes this coming round deserve more explanation than they get in those glib one-liners up there, though, so:
One of the reasons we didn't go with a 'doing it wrong' type of a theme is that we always encourage willful misinterpretation. For instance, when we called February's issue On the Air, we were thinking radio and television. If you wanted to write a story with, say, airplanes, you'd still be fitting the theme, just in your own special way -- and we'd probably be grateful for the unexpected interpretation. (Now don't everybody run off and write stories about airplanes, okay?)
We haven't done a hard science fiction theme in a while, so A.I. seemed like a good way to give another chance for that. While we intend this theme to include all sorts of robots, androids, replicants, and scary smart computers, we couldn't pass up the pun in the title, since ai is 'love' in Japanese.
The themes for the special issues tend to be real general, but this is by design: since we only do those once a year, we don't want anyone to feel shut out by a too-narrow topic. In general we were thinking elements for Earth, Wind, and Fire (hence the Avatar joke), compliments and contrasts all over the spectrum for Color Wheel, and nature and time for Four Seasons; we left the titles vague, though, so you can go anywhere you want from there.
While we appreciate DILFs in any context, the Fathers' Day issue is meant specifically for the display and appreciation of hot dads! ...Or stepdads, or surrogate dads, or would-be dads, or whatever you like. Or evil dads! Basically, if they're dads and they're hot, we want 'em right here.
We had a lot of calls for wuxia and martial arts in the suggestions post, so we went with the broader theme of The Soldiering Life so that people who aren't fans of that specific genre could still come to the party. If you were looking forward to creating dazzling feats of wire-fighting goodness, though, this would be the place. If you don't recognize the title, though, you owe it to yourself to become familiar with this incredibly homoerotic Decemberists song.
We are, of course, grateful to anyone who spreads the word, and we'd love to hear any questions/comments you've got!