Coming soon (and already here) -- support options!

Our Patreon page is going to be launching very soon, we're nearly finished getting all the details together. 

In the meantime, we finished setting up our donate feature through Squarespace! If you wanted to lend us some support, but aren't interested in any of the backer perks in our Patreon and don't want to make it a recurring thing, this is the perfect option for you.

Click here, or on the button in the sidebar:

New "About Solarpunk" page

The idea of Solarpunk has been briefly covered on the About page of our website, but Watson and I want to provide a resource page for people who may not know as much about the origin or developing ideology behind Solarpunk.

Both of us had been writing about Solarpunk for months before we'd even thought of starting a magazine. We wrote through our tumblr, watsons-solarpunk (well, it's Watson's -- I contribute), so we're pulling and compiling posts from our blog that we find to be informative.

We'll be adding to the About Solarpunk page as we continue to pull together our past resources, as well as other sources that contain valuable information about Solarpunk.

In the meantime, we've launched the page here.


There are lots of things we want to do on here. It has been a continuous effort in the preparation stages of this project to restrain our imaginations and focus primarily on things we can hope to accomplish. 

It's possible we'll only ever get to do what we've set out to do so far: 12 episodes across 1 year. But in the event that we get to keep going -- in the event that we get to expand -- we have a lot of thoughts on what we could do next. Our Patreon supporters will have access to polls that we'll use to guide the direction of the podcast* -- we won't ignore suggestions posted elsewhere, of course.

Increase frequency of episodes

The earliest we'd likely be able to start this is in June, in the month of episode 9, because college. More likely we'd be getting ready to do it starting year 2 -- although if it turns out this whole running a magazine thing turns out to be a lot easier than we expected (or y'all donate a TON of money and we can quit our day jobs) we might get started on that sooner.

Raise author pay

One of our big ambitions if this project works out is to raise our rates to be a SFWA qualifying market. For one thing, writers work hard to create this work and we believe that they deserve to be paid well for it. For another, paying more money and being a SFWA qualifying market will attract more submissions, and submissions from more established authors. This serves the dual purposes of this magazine: our straightforward goal, to bring you the best fiction possible; and our Machiavellian scheme, to steer the direction of science fiction, and thereby the world, towards narratives of sustainability, collective action, and the dismantling of oligarchical power structures. *evil laugh*

Produce parallel news & editorial posts and podcast

Between the two editors, we have way more experience working with news media than fiction. (Total between us as of writing: 2 associate degrees in journalism, 2 years professional journalism experience, ~5 years student journalism & editorial experience, 1 year paid web editor experience.) And since the main interest areas of solarpunk are areas that could use a significant improvement in reporting -- science, environment, and counterculture politics -- we think we could do some really good work here.

That said, if we took this on, producing as much news per month as we do fiction content would be a lot more work, and probably a lot more expensive, and we don't know for sure that anybody's very interested in that. This is one of the kinds of projects we'll only pursue if we meet or exceed our funding goals, and get a lot of support for it in the supporter polls.

Of course, like all of these goals, it's not a "Start this year or never" kind of thing. Maybe it'll get easier with the advent of new technology or organizational structures in the next few years, and we'll be able to take it on with less effort. Maybe it'll get support from the community only after we've met other priorities, like getting more stories out and paying our authors pro rates. 

Assemble a year 1 print edition

We'd really like to be able to do this one. Even if we end up not having a second year, it'd be cool to be able to wrap up the year with a physical volume of the complete publications of Solarpunk Press.

My back-of-envelope calculations have led me to believe that I have no idea how to estimate how much it costs to print an anthology, so whether that's on the table will be determined as we do more research. 

Whatever else y'all think is cool

You want comics? Merchandise? 45 minute live discussions on abjection as a framing device for the alienation between the people and the state? You got it! 

By which we mean you can tell us. In the polls and forums. If you're a supporter. And we'll try our best to do what we can towards those goals.

Polls for Patreon supporters will run at least monthly, and we intend to add popular write-ins and discussion topics frequently, so we hope going forward into year 1 (and hopefully beyond) we'll get a nuanced idea of what y'all want from us and how we can provide it.

* To be really, really clear: we are not making our final decisions based exclusively on these polls; some things may turn out to be harder than we expected when start planning, some combinations of things may be impossible -- we don't want to disappoint anyone by having them discover after giving us money that their vote wasn't binding.

Volunteers (Why we're not asking yet)

Before we've even opened the call for submissions, we've already had people offering to volunteer for the magazine. That was really cool! We're excited that there are people out here on the web who want to volunteer their time and energy to this project.

So far, though, we've turned these offers down.

We don't yet know what the workload is going to be like for Solarpunk Press. We don't yet know how it will fit into our lives, around work and school and that other thing humans do with other humans in meatspace. (Socialize? Garfunkel? Duck?) Not to mention our Tumblr time.

We don't know those things. We do know, though, that taking on volunteers is a significant organizational challenge, especially if these volunteers aren't people we can easily interact with in meatspace. And it's not just a linear increase in effort -- it would require learning and using new software, new skills, new organization strategies, maintaining new kinds of relationships.

We don't want to start bringing additional people into the project until we're more confident that the amount of work it takes off our shoulders is greater than the amount generated by the addition of more people.

To the people who've offered to volunteer, and even to the people who've just thought about it: Thank you. It means a lot to us, and makes us feel good about the possibilities for growth in the future. 

Notes on the creation of the banner and logo

I'm pretty proud of the banner and logo I've got at the top of the page right now. They might be a little busy, and we might replace them with something put together by a more experienced graphic designer in the future (even if that's just me, later, when I have more experience). But for a launch, I'm really happy with this.

I didn't document the whole process, but I do have a few separate phases I can show off.

This is the first completed design. It's what I planned on putting at the top of the page, before I discovered that Squarespace doesn't provide an option for removing the text in the banner. 

The font is OpenDyslexic, which I picked because I think the combination between accessibility and more organic-looking shapes in fonts designed for dyslexia makes for a very solarpunk combination. (That's actually one of the first few things I wrote about solarpunk, back in September, before I even had a separate solarpunk Tumblr.)

The stained glass look is because one of the first big aesthetic memes of the solarpunk community was stained glass windows made of transparent solar cells. The yellow bits in the middle are chopped up chunks of a photo of a stained glass window by Louis Comfort Tiffany, and the wood is a strip of a public domain photo of some untreated wood, adjusted in brightness and contrast till it looked stained and sliced up into four strips.

The other stained glass I made myself, in separate Photoshop files: render clouds, then liquify and squiggle, then messed with a bunch of  levels until I felt good about how it looked. With the green, I also adjusted the brightness and contrast a few times between cutting it up so there'd be more variety among adjacent chunks of glass.

I wanted to make the text a more consistent color, that really stood out, and I also couldn't figure out how to make it transparent but keep the stroke. So I made it light-ish blue -- the exact color I used for the blue accents in the web design here -- and added the water pattern overlay at like 30 percent opacity. (I could definitely open the file to give this info with more detail, but, y'know, that's like five clicks.)

Once I figured out that I wasn't going to be able to use it with the separate text like that, I went in to try and make it work as a background. I started getting ready to begin the laborious process of figuring out how the heck I was going to get the outlines off the text, when I remembered that the "fill" slider in blending options exists. So, I dropped that down to zero, and I had my letter frames. (I left the water pattern on to add a bit of consistency to the texture of the letters.)

After that, I got to cleaning up the insides of the letters. This took a very long time, because pretty much every single piece of yellow or green glass poked into one of the letter's shapes. I hadn't bothered to trim the pieces under the letters, because they were covered up. And since every piece of glass was a separate layer -- and since it's only occurring to me right now as I write this that I could have saved this as a new file, merged them all, and done it in one go -- getting that trimming done was a lot of work.

The color in the background of the letters just comes from two more copies of the very-back layer, which also provides the glass pattern for the blue and the yellow-rim. I trimmed them so they fit their correct sections, then adjusted the hue/saturation using colorize until they pretty much matched the glass they were connected to.  (I do realize the irony of using a font designed for extra-readability then trying as hard as I can to make it invisible against its background.)

With all that completed, the image still conflicted too heavily with the text overlaid on the website. So I changed all the black lines to 42 percent gray (because that's what color overlay happened to already be set to, for some reason) and added a glow effect I learned on Tumblr to soften and blur the image a little bit. And (as of writing) that's the one at the top of the page now!

To make other one at the top of the page, and also on our social media accounts, I went back to the first one. It was just a matter of resizing and changing the text, pulling one of the pieces of wood way over, cropping it to a 1x1 square, then doing again what I did with the glass the first time.