Monday, November 25, 2019

Call for submissions: Cold Hard Type III: Backspaces



Typewritten Tales of Time Travel

edited by
Richard Polt, Frederic S. Durbin, and Andrew V. McFeaters

published by

            What if you could travel back into the heyday of typewriters? 
            The stories in this anthology will explore that question. The time traveler(s) may be one or more people; they may travel by any means you can imagine, intentional or accidental; they may come from any time after the heyday of typewriters, which we are defining as 1870-1990, and they must travel back into that period. A typewriter, or typewriters, must play some role in the story. 

Deadline for submissions: March 15, 2020

            Submit your work to Richard Polt by e-mail or post (see the end of this post). It will be reviewed by Polt (author of The Typewriter Revolution: A Typist’s Companion for the 21st Century novelist Fred Durbin (, and English professor Andrew McFeaters ( 
            The maximum length for texts is 5000 words.
            At this stage, texts may be either digital or typewritten. 
            Submissions may be dark, comic, romantic, or whatever you like in the way of genre and style; they may be intended for adults, but should not be pornographic or sadistic.
            Poetry, art, and photography are welcome, as long as they fit the theme of the book. 
            Submissions of artwork and photos may include color cover images and grayscale interior images. Illustrations should fit appropriately within the dimensions of the book’s pages, 6x9 inches. Resolution of digital images should be 300 dpi or better.
            To give your work the best chance of being accepted, we recommend that you read the first two volumes in the Cold Hard Type seriesParadigm Shifts and Escapements, and reflect on what you like about your favorite pieces. As a rule of thumb, an effective story has interesting characters, a dramatic plot, and vivid sensory details. Avoid telling the reader about generalities; instead, show the reader concrete things and events. Good spelling, grammar, and punctuation also matter.

Decision date: May 15, 2020

            The editors will either accept your work or reject it by May 15. There will be no “revise and resubmit” judgments, although if your work is accepted, we may require some corrections or suggest some optional revisions. 

Deadline for finished, typewritten work: July 1, 2020

            All texts in the published book will be typewritten on real typewriters. This will require care and attention. Guidelines for typing will be sent to authors whose work is accepted. The finished typescript may be submitted on paper or as a scan.

Provisional publication date: September 1, 2020

            Around this time, the book will be available for purchase on Amazon as a print-on-demand volume. The book will contain no digital text, only images of typewriting. It will not be available as an e-book, only in print. The price will be as affordable as possible (approximately $7), and neither editors nor contributors will make any money from the project. However, every contributor will receive one free copy of the published volume.

Frequently Asked Questions

            Can you give me advice on a rough draft of my work? — No. We expect many submissions, so we will not be able to review anything but polished work that you consider ready for publication.
            Can it be a typewriter that goes back in time, instead of a person? — Yes.
            May authors collaborate? — Yes.
            May I submit more than one piece? — Yes, but it is unlikely that we will be able to publish more than one.
            May I use a pseudonym or remain anonymous? — Yes.
            What about foreign-language or bilingual material? — The language for the collection is English, so submissions must be in good English, and any bits in other languages must also come with a translation, so that readers who do not know those languages can understand.
            Can work have been published previously? — Yes, but we do prefer contributions that are new or not well known. Any previously published material must follow any copyright conditions attached to the previous publication.
            May I republish my work later? — Yes. You will retain copyright on your work, and after the book is published, you may publish your work in other formats, noting that it first appeared in Backspaces.
            Will I be paid? — No. No contributors or editors will make any money whatsoever from this project. We will profit in the form of joy, fun, and the satisfaction of contributing to the typewriter insurgency—and contributors will get a free copy of the book.

Send all questions and submissions to Richard Polt

Richard Polt
Dept. of Philosophy
Xavier University
3800 Victory Pky.
Cincinnati, OH 45207-4443

Saturday, November 23, 2019

How they make ribbons and carbon paper

W. Heath Robinson was the British Rube Goldberg, known for his whimsical illustrations of silly machines. Here's a cartoon he drew around 1930 to promote Kado carbon paper and ribbons.