This year marks 200 years since the birth of Charles Darwin, and 150 years since the publication of The Origin of Species. To mark the anniversaries, Tangled Bank Press is publishing The Tangled Bank, an e-anthology of speculative fiction, artwork, and poetry exploring the legacy of Charles Darwin and the theory of evolution.
It’s hard to overestimate the impact of Charles Darwin’s work on science and society — the theory of evolution has been described as the best idea anyone has ever had. Science fiction has been profoundly influenced: Gardner Dozois has gone so far as to say that science fiction began with The Origin of Species, by establishing an evolutionary sense of time that allowed science-fictional ideas to flourish. And yet Brian Stableford, in his entry on evolution in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, argues that “it is lamentably unfortunate that so few sf stories have deployed the theory in any reasonably rigorous fashion”.
H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine was a powerful late 19th century meditation on Darwin’s theory. More than a century later, Darwin’s theory remains socially controversial, despite an explosion of evidence and new ideas that build on Darwin’s insights. Why? What is it about evolution that refuses to catch the imagination of so many? What does evolution mean in the early 21st century? What will it mean in the future? The Tangled Bank is an attempt to answer these questions in an entertaining and thought-provoking way.
Explore the process of evolution in any of its forms. Breed us a story that engages the heart and the brain, a story that explores what evolution means to you, a story that evokes wonder or fear, laughter or despair. Take us on a voyage of discovery. Bring back specimens from old worlds, or new ones. Shine a light on dark corners. Illuminate what it means to be human, or inhuman. It could be a hard sf story, a contemporary tale of atheists and creationists, a magic realist story in Charles Darwin’s backyard, a myth of origin, a fairy tale, steampunk, cyberpunk, horror, new weird, old weird, or something entirely different.
The Tangled Bank crawls with a multitude of beasts. Show us one of them.