a speculative open-mic
(presented in collaboration with Word Sprout)
"Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today — but the core of science fiction, its essence, the concept around which it revolves, has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all."
"It shouldn’t be a surprise to you that ultra-hip MPLS + STPL has an open mic night dedicated to...sci-fi, fantasy, tales of the supernatural and such. It also shouldn’t be a surprise that the quality of the material is higher than an H.G. Wells zeppelin."
- Hitara, Secrets of the City
"...that was some delightfully trippy shit...mind-bendingly strange and fun...they burrow into your mind and keep you thinking about them long after they're done."
- Matthew Everett, Single White Fringe Geek
"...definitely in the grand tradition of short-story writing in the genre...if you like story-telling events, don't miss this one. Seriously. Just...don't." "I love audio books. I love science fiction and fantasy stories. I love really good storytellers. I loved this show." "...helps you to see that there are many possibilities in this vast universe of ours." - five-star audience reviews (from the Minnesota Fringe Festival)
About the Show
Have you ever imagined a world whose laws of physics differed from our own? In our current dystopian future, the Not-So-Silent Planet is entering cyberspace. Listen to some of the most frequent contributors to the country's only recurring open-mic dedicated to speculative fiction: fantasy, sci-fi, or supernatural horror! Tune in, and hear about places of which you've never dreamt.
Nota Bene: for our sixth and online season, we have assembled a lineup of some of our most frequent contributors and will not be holding open sign-ups. The information below has been left for historical interest (and hopefully future interest, for when we are able to return to in-person shows).
What are the genre restrictions?
We're looking for speculative fiction, roughly definited for our purposes as:
- Science fiction.
- Supernatural horror. (We love gritty, psychological horror! But this is a venue for stories that in some way defy the natural order.)
- Anachronistic interpretations of myth. This one's a bit trickier. Basically, we're looking for myths/legends pulled out of their expected context, and into something strange and unexpected (e.g. something in the neighborhood of urban fantasy). We have nothing against traditional folktales, but this probably isn't the venue for them.
The shorter answer may be: we're looking for material that is set in a world whose laws of physics function in some way different from the way that they are generally accepted to function in ours.
What about personal narrative?
Personal narrative is great! But there is no shortage of venues devoted to them: we're trying to build a space for something else.
What about form?
All forms -- storytelling, poetry, comedy, music, readings, interpretive mime -- are acceptable, as long as the content lands somewhere in the genres above!
What if I do something outside those boundaries?
We don't screen or censor anything! And we totally get that a lot of these genre definitions are blurry. That said, if you consistently perform straightforward stories about your childhood or something, you may no longer be given priority.
How long do I have?
5-7 minutes! We'd love to hear all of your work, but we also want to create space to hear others. Run over, and you'll be politely asked to conclude.
None. While we appreciate the importance of safe spaces, we also appreciate the importance of unsafe spaces, in which writers can experiment with edgier material. In this instance, our open-mic is truly open. What that means? If, hypothetically, a Klansman were to hit the stage and deliver a white power creed, they would still get their 5-7 minutes (as long as there was, like, a robot or an elf in it or something).
That said, "open" doesn't mean that nobody judges -- it means that the audience does. I imagine that said Klansman would probably be booed off the stage. I'm just saying that the host won't yank you off with a hook. We're free-speech absolutists, and we recognize that that occasionally comes at an uncomfortable price.
One point of (hopefully unnecessary) clarification: while we believe in extraordinary latitude for the genre-fictional stories from our stage, that doesn't mean that personal interactions amongst performers and patrons are a free-for-all -- Word Sprout does have a harassment policy in place. Please don't be a dick, whether you have one or not.
Can I use notes?
Absolutely! We're believers in both the oral and literary traditions.
That seems a like lot of restrictions. I'm nervous.
Don't overthink it. If you've got a goofy idea, feel free to show up, try it, see how it goes, and talk to us afterwards. We may judge. But we're Minnesotans. We know how to judge quietly.