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THE SECRET LUNAR WARS (1956-1979)

The myth of the US-USSR space race was that it was done for scientific prestige.

Behind that is the deeper myth that it was done for nuclear superiority and counterbalance.

The truth is that it was done to save humanity.

Immortal Works (editor Bruce F. Webster) hereby calls for submission for an anthology of SPACE-THEMED ALTERNATE HISTORY to be called

THE SECRET LUNAR WARS
(1956-1979)

Deadline for submissions: August 31, 2019
Payment: Royalties and a contributor copy

The President of the United States looked across the Oval Office desk at the Director of NASA, a holdover from the prior administration. “I’m sorry it’s taken so long to have this meeting, but I’m still getting a handle on this job. That said, let me cut to the chase: we sent men to the Moon roughly a half a century ago, but have done nothing since. Why?”

The Director bit his lip, grimaced a bit, then said, “To talk about that, we’ll need to bring the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence into the discussion.”

The President, startled, asked, “Why, for heaven’s sake?”

Another grimace. “Because there are – complications – with us, with anyone putting humans on the Moon again. Big complications. Deadly complications. Complications you probably wouldn’t believe. Trust me, we’re not incompetent at NASA. We could have multiple bases on the Moon by now if we wanted to. But we’ve been deliberately dragging our feet on any human mission outside of low Earth orbit since the 1970s. For very good reasons.”

The Secret Lunar Wars is an anthology of alternate history short stories that explains what was really going on during the period of time from the first suborbital rocket launches in 1956 to the fall of Skylab from orbit in 1979. Here’s the framework:

  1. Your story will explain what was actually going on during (or at some key point[s]) of that time period, with two requirements: the public perception of events remains that of the actual historical record (hence, “secret”), and the fate of humanity has to somehow be at stake. It also would explain – or at least hint at – why humans have not been back to the Moon, or even outside of low Earth orbit (LEO), since 1972 (Apollo 17). [Note: the intro ‘story’ above and the follow-up below are just to give you a sense of the theme; they are not canonical and not necessary to include, reference, or assume.]
  2. For those interested, here is a spreadsheet timeline (Excel .xlsx) with over 200 actual space missions and related events during the period in question, along with (actual) historical notes that should suggest all sorts of story ideas. (Example: fertilized quail eggs on board a Russian space station were developing embryos without heads. No, really. Check out Soyuz 32, 02/25/79.) Feel free to weave in other actual historical events from the same time period.
  3. Each story can stand alone, though authors are permitted (nay, encouraged) to coordinate their stories if they desire. In such cases, we will group the coordinated stories together.
  4. The genre can be science fiction, fantasy, horror, or some combination thereof. Tone can range from tongue-in-cheek humor to stark Lovecraftian despair. In any case, explanation must be given as to why the true events occurred and the grave threat to humanity remained secret.
  5. Content would be within Immortal Works guidelines (“Appropriate for Teens – Intriguing for Adults”).
  6. Length should be at least 2,000 words and no more than 10,000 words.
  7. The deadline for submissions is August 31, 2019, or until filled.
  8. Authors will not receive up front payments. Authors will share in revenue from sales of the book over time and will receive one (1) complementary copy.
  9. Send queries, story proposals, and submissions to bwebster@bfwa.com. Include the words SECRET LUNAR WARS in the subject line.

The President of the United States sat in the secure conference room in Area 51, which is where the other three participants – the Director of NASA, the Secretary of Defense, and the Director of National Intelligence  — insisted this briefing take place. The information presented was, literally, incredible.

The President looked at the others. “I can’t believe it. This is just too much to take in. And you say this has been going on for all these decades?”

The SecDef nodded. “Yes,. That’s why we brought you out here. We had to show you certain things that we keep here, that are only known to a few people.”

A sigh from the President. “Well, if that’s what we have to do, that’s what we have to do.” A look at the others. “But we can still go to Mars, can’t we?”

The other three all looked at one another and then back at the President. The DNI said, “About that….”

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