Artifacts: Things Out of Time
Travelers: People Out of Time

First, read my five requirements for submitting to any of my anthologies.

Currently accepted items and their time periods:

  • Ballpoint pen, China, 1424 CE

This is actually a call for submissions for ONLY Artifacts: Things Out of Time. All writers whose stories are accepted will then be asked to provide a second story for Travelers: People Out of Time, a companion and sequel anthology that follows the events of the prologue and epilogue in Artifacts. Writers should not submit stories about people in the wrong times. Travelers will be an invitation-only anthology to the writers of Artifacts, and writers in Artifacts will be required to submit stories for Travelers. The plan is to release these very close together. So the short version: Don't submit to Artifacts if you aren't prepared to also write for Travelers.

This is a time-travel anthology. The individual stories will be linked together by the prologue and epilogue, which I'll write once the anthology is filled.

This anthology has been open a while, and I had received no appropriate submissions. I was about to kill it several months ago when I received a submission that knocked me over. That contributor hit the nail on the head, mostly because he's a very good writer but also because he clearly read the guidelines. He has reinvigorated me in pursuing this.

What I Want

Setting. The story must be set in the past, between 10,000 BCE and 1950 CE.

The item. The story must orient around an ordinary item from the present day that has inexplicably ended up in that past time period. You must not explain why the object is there; it just simply must be there. The story should center around your character(s) dealing with this out-of-time object. The item should be ordinary—the more ordinary, the better. I don't want high-tech devices, so no iPods or cell phones or motorcycles, because I suspect 95% of the submissions would do this. I want truly ordinary items: a hammer, a wristwatch, a book, a flashlight, a stuffed animal, etc. The writer who reinvigorated me sent in a story about a ballpoint pen that ended up in ancient China. That's the sort of thing I want: something that no one today would expect could likely alter the past.

Item's arrival. You may deal with the item actually arriving in the past time frame, but for the sake of continuity with the prologue/epilogue, make it vague: Items arrive in a small flash of white light, and that's it. But you don't have to do this; you could just have your protagonist discover the item. It could have arrived 100 years before, or 1,000 years before, and been sitting there all that time before being discovered. It's up to you. The writer who reinvigorated me simply had a Chinese man discover the pen.

Importance of the item to the story. The item should be integral to the plot and be very, very out of place. A flashlight showing up in 1935 CE would not be particularly out of place; a flashlight showing up in 1935 BCE would be very out of place. And the plot should orbit about this item: how the character uses it; the trouble he gets in with it; how the item causes disruption in the normal lives of the protagonist, antagonist, and other characters involved in this time frame; and so on. The item should absolutely, positively MATTER to your story.

Nature of the story. Regardless of your item and time frame and plot, these should be human stories. I want power. I want emotion. I want serious fiction. I want these present-day items to make a major difference in the time frames they end up. I want the protagonists and antagonist changed by these items, or changed by the events that are caused by these items.

Don't change history. I do not want the past utterly changed. I don't want a gun that ends up in the past to kill Romulus before he can found Rome. But you could have something end up in the past that is responsible for having history as we know it happen--say, a pair of sneakers makes the Marathon run possible. No matter what happens, our present must be preserved. This isn't an anthology about changing all of history (which would be difficult if not impossible with many unconnected writers).

Example. The very best example I can offer is the story "The Man Who Came Early" by Poul Anderson. You'd have to read it to understand, but basically an American GI stationed in Iceland ends up back in time with his gun. The story equally covers the oddity of a modern-day human stuck in the wrong time along with the oddity of an out-of-time object, the gun, being there, and how it affects the people.

What I Don't Want

No high-tech devices. That being said, if a story is so damn good that I cannot ignore it, and the high-tech device is so well-used in the story, I could relent. This should serve as a warning to those of you anxious to send your beloved computer tablets back to King Arthur's court: It had better be spectacular, because I'm likely to accept only one story with a high-tech item—if any at all. (For that matter, I'm not likely to accept a gun story, like in the Poul Anderson example above.) Think of it like this: If you were a scientist testing a time-travel machine, what items would you send back in time that you're certain couldn't make some kind of major difference? (And, of course, this anthology will feature non-make-a-difference items making a difference.)

No multiple time periods. I will likely only accept one story for any particular time period, although I recognize this is a hard range to quantify. I won't run two stories from the 20th century or even the 18th century, unless they're so vastly different in place or culture that I feel they should be there. I won't run two stories that take place during the Revolution, or two during the Renaissance, or two set in ancient Mesopotamia. However, if I have accepted a great story set in ancient Mesopotamia and you send me one that is equally good that is also set in Mesopotamia, I may offer the option to rewrite the story to be set elsewhere and elsewhen, a choice that will be left up to you. Obviously, you'll have no way of knowing what time periods have been submitted, but I will post on this page the time periods and items that are out of time once I have accepted such stories; that way, if you're working on a story set during around the construction of the Great Pyramids and I accept one, you'll know to change your setting, or if I've accepted a story involving a bicycle, your own bicycle story won't make the cut.

QUERY ME! Since these guidelines are very particular, you are welcome to query me first with the basics of your proposed story: time, place, object being sent back, and how it will make a difference. As you see from the top of this page, I will be posting the objects and time periods when stories are accepted.


I'd like 5,000 to 15,000 words. Shorter is better; longer is a much tougher sell.


As always, until filled. I am very picky and slow to fill, which you'd know if you read my five requirements.

How to Submit

Observing everything under my five requirements, submit to


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