Reading 5X5 anthology

Reading 5X5 anthology

5 stories, 5 times

Buy the book!

Available now Intrigued? The full anthology is available as an e-book or paperback from Amazon and other vendors. Readers' edition Twenty-five great stories by twenty-five great authors. EPUB, Kindle, and paperback options.   Writers' edition...

Art

Cover art by Kathryn Weaver

Charity

This anthology was a labor of love and curiosity. The editor and authors agreed from the start that all proceeds would benefit charity, and chose the Jo Clayton Memorial Medical Fund as the beneficiary. Clayton...

The concept

What if you had different authors each write the same story? What would each of them bring to the piece in terms of style, tone, and resolution? That’s the question this anthology sets out to answer.

Reading 5X5 asked twenty-five authors to tell five stories in five different ways. We started with story briefs in five different genres – each brief with just the basic information required to tell a story. Then we asked five authors to write that story, each in their own way. The result is twenty-five great, fascinatingly different stories.

The story briefs are imaginative and compelling all on their own – from a grandmother who can bring devastation just by visiting the kitchen to a person asked to sacrifice everything for space flight – but it’s what the authors did with them that makes this collection special.

Some briefs were detailed and specific, others broad and conceptual. Some authors stuck closely to the brief, while others substituted their own innovations in some areas. The results are wildly different tales that each have the same basic story at their heart.

The anthology includes not only the 25 resulting stories, but the original story briefs, and story notes by each author and brief writer on what was hard, what was easy, what they expected, and what they found.

Not only that, but we’re inviting you to join in! All the briefs are here, on this site, and you’re welcome to try writing and posting your own story. See how what you come up with compares to others, and to what the original writers came up with!

Interviews with the authors and artist
Five Questions for Karl Dandenell
Author of "The Long View" (Hard Science Fiction)   How long have you been writing? What got you started?  God heavens, we’re starting there? All...
Read More "Five Questions for Karl Dandenell"
Five Questions for Matt Thompson (Soft Science Fiction)
Author of “The Visible Spectrum" (Soft Science Fiction)   How long have you been writing? Do you write genres other than speculative fiction? I started writing...
Read More "Five Questions for Matt Thompson (Soft Science Fiction)"
Five Questions for Karolina Fedyk
Author of “The Gentlest River” (High Fantasy)   How long have you been writing? Do you write genres other than speculative fiction?  I’ve been telling...
Read More "Five Questions for Karolina Fedyk"
Five Questions for Vanessa Fogg
Author of “Kitchen” (Contemporary Fantasy)   How long have you been writing? Do you write in genres other than speculative fiction? If so, which ones?...
Read More "Five Questions for Vanessa Fogg"
Five Questions for Rhoads Brazos
Author of “Deux ex Noir” (Other)   How long have you been writing? Do you write genres other than speculative fiction? I’ve been publishing stories...
Read More "Five Questions for Rhoads Brazos"
Five Questions for Pauline Yates
Author of “In the Absence of Time” (Hard Science Fiction)   What is your typical writing process? Do you outline or let things grow organically?...
Read More "Five Questions for Pauline Yates"

Buy the book!

Available now

Intrigued? The full anthology is available as an e-book or paperback from Amazon and other vendors.

Readers’ edition

Twenty-five great stories by twenty-five great authors.
EPUB, Kindle, and paperback options.

 

Writers’ edition

Everything in the Readers’ edition, plus two extra stories, the original story briefs, and extensive author notes for each story and each brief.
100 pages of extra material specifically intended for writers!
EPUB, Kindle, and paperback options.

    

New stories

Charity

This anthology was a labor of love and curiosity. The editor and authors agreed from the start that all proceeds would benefit charity, and chose the Jo Clayton Memorial Medical Fund as the beneficiary.

Clayton Memorial Medical Fund

Dedicated to Helping Pacific Northwest Writers Facing Medical Emergencies

The fund helps professional science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mystery writers living in the Pacific Northwest states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska deal with the financial burden of medical expenses. Please consider donating through the link below.

Clayton Memorial Medical Fund

Five stories, five times

Twenty-five authors take on five different story ideas in five different genres. How do different authors handle the same basic information. Find out!

From the editor

In his Retrospective, Gene Wolfe suggests a writing exercise – take any published story (he offers one of his own), and rewrite it from scratch, in your own style. What choices did you make, and why were they different from his?

More recently, there’s an annual, cooperative exercise in which dozens of authors get together to write a Novel-in-a-Day – each author gets about 19 hours to write one chapter of a shared novel, without knowing more than a few basic facts; not even the genre. It’s become so popular that each exercise generates multiple versions, with the same chapters by different authors.

Starting from those two seeds, I came up with the idea for an anthology of stories specifically designed to see what different authors would do with the same basic material. Happily, I’m not only a writer, but the editor of Metaphorosis magazine – an online weekly magazine dedicated to beautifully written SFF – so I had a list of excellent writers at hand. I approached authors who had appeared in Metaphorosis, and very quickly, almost 30 signed up to participate – so many that the anthology had alternates ready in case of emergency. Two of those alternate stories appear on this website and in the expanded version of the anthology.

I’m amazed at what the authors came up with – from the five who wrote briefs to the twenty-seven who wrote stories. The ideas are innovative, the writing is great, and the results fantastic, in every sense of the word. Not only that, but the authors did it all as volunteers, as a cooperative enterprise benefiting charity.

Reading 5X5 set out to look at exactly what it is that different writers bring to their story. The short answer is: all sorts of imagination, creativity, and originality. Within each genre group, each story is clearly related, and yet each one is wildly different, based on each author’s unique perspective.

I hope you’ll enjoy the anthology as much as we enjoyed putting it together, and as much as we’ve enjoyed reading the finished product. And, if you’re a writer, why not contribute your own version? Go here to read the briefs and write your own story from them.