Guest Post: Zombies Need (Writer) Brains

I’m handing the desk over to ZNB editors S.C. Butler and Joshua Palmatier, so they can talk about their newest anthologies, and what they’re looking for….  Readers and writers, take note!

Thanks to Laura Anne for inviting us to guest post today here at her blog. We appreciate the opportunity!

The small press Zombies Need Brains is currently running a Kickstarter for three all new SF&F themed anthologies called APOCALYPTIC, GALACTIC STEW, and MY BATTERY IS LOW AND IT IS GETTING DARK. You can check out the details at, but I thought I’d let the editors talk in more detail about what we were thinking in terms of the theme for APOCALYPTIC. Since we’ll be doing an open call for submissions once the Kickstarter funds—meaning anyone can submit a story and possibly end up in the anthology—it might be a good idea if potential writers have an idea of where we’re coming from and what we’re looking for.

Let’s start with what editor S.C. Butler has to say about what he’s looking forward to seeing in APOCALYPTIC:

S.C. Butler: “One of the things I love about the new Zombies Need Brains Kickstarter, featuring the APOCALYPTIC anthology, is that apocalyptic fiction has been around forever. (Ragnarok, anyone?) Apocalyptic fiction embraces almost every genre you can think of, from horror to humor, science fiction to fantasy. Apocalyptic romance? I love it already.

“What I’m trying to say is, anything goes. For this, and every other ZNB anthology, you never know what you’re going to read, both in the open call and from our anchor authors. Sometimes it’s the unsolicited submissions that blow us away; sometimes it’s the work of our better-known authors. And though we might perhaps find a wider audience (and easier Kickstarters) if we stocked our anthologies solely with stories from the frequently published, I don’t think the anthologies would be nearly as interesting. Or have nearly as much humor. Though I’m far too lazy to do the necessary analysis (Josh is the math guy) I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that the majority of our funny stories come stomping in through the slush. Hats off to writers who can do it every time (we have some of those!), but generally I think it’s a lot easier to write a funny one-off than to do it whenever you open your keyboard.

“And really, is there any better feeling for a writer than selling that first, or second, or even third story? Perhaps it gets a little old by the seventy-eighth, or maybe the hundred and third. (Nah.) And though the feeling of having bought that first, or second, or third story may not be quite as piquant as having sold it, it’s still a feeling worth savoring. Which is why I’m asking you to please, please fund the latest ZNB Kickstarter, and our three newest anthologies: APOCALYPTIC, GALACTIC STEW, and MY BATTERY IS LOW AND IT IS GETTING DARK. Not just for the fifteen or so great new stories you’ll read in each book, and not even for the six or seven great new writers you’ll discover in each one either. I’m asking you to do it for me (and maybe Josh, too), so we’ll get to read (and publish!) all those great new stories in the first place!

“Fund! Fund! Fund!”

So Sam is looking for apocalypses with a variety of tones—humorous, dark, thoughtful, fun. ZNB is always trying for variety in its anthologies. I’d also emphasize a variety of TYPES of apocalypses as to what I’m looking for as the co-editor. Yes, I want the variety of tones, but I also want to see some unique apocalypses. We’ve seen the zombie apocalypse, the flu apocalypse, the meteor strike. We’ll probably include a few of those in the anthology (well, maybe not the zombie apocalypse; we haven’t published a zombie story yet, despite our name), but we’ll shy away from putting in TWO flu apocalypses. I’d rather have a flu apocalypse of high quality and then some other apocalypse instead. So don’t just go with the standards, try to be more creative with your apocalypses.

And one other thing—I’m much more interested in stories in which the apocalypse is either happening or has already happened and we’re looking at the survivors. A story in which the characters avert the apocalypse in some way isn’t what I’m going for. Mitigating it, but still suffering through the consequences is fine, but not something where the world doesn’t collapse in some way. I want an apocalypse, not just the threat of one.

So that gives you a better idea of what we’re hunting for with this anthology. But we can’t do the open call unless we get ​funded. So if you can, swing on by the Kickstarter at and check out our reward levels. We’ve got the basics ($15 for ebooks, $48 for limited-edition paperback), but we also have a ton of special reward levels where you could get signed copies of books by your favorite authors, Tuckerizations, and swag bags. Hopefully you’ll find some reward level that suits you and you can help us reach our goal!

And if you are submitting a story, good luck!


– Joshua and S.C.

The art for “Apocalyptic”


Zombies Need Brains LLC, focuses on producing SF&F themed anthologies, the most recent being Portals, Temporally Deactivated, and Alternate Peace. Find out more at You can also find them on Facebook under Zombies Need Brains, and on Twitter at @ZNBLLC.

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