Call for submissions: New Doc Talos Files anthology – “Mona”

The first Doc Talos Files anthology, featuring Rickie Talos (pastiche of Pat Savage) was a great success. The DTF Anthology series features a spotlight on specific characters from The Talos Chronicle, and next up is a collection exploring the life of Dr. James Talos’ great unconsummated love, Mona.

Based on Princess Monja from the Doc Savage canon, the Doc Talos take on the character, Mona Chayak, is a much more realistic one. She is not a Mayan princess, but a Guatemalan woman of Mayan descent. Her father, not the king of a lost civilization, is an early 20th century Central American gold magnate, who becomes the partner of Doc’s father, James Talos Sr.

The younger Talos — James Jr. — accompanies his father on a trip to Guatemala in the 1920’s, and young James and Mona are immediately attracted to one another, but both are exceedingly shy (despite being very capable in violent situations), and they share a slow courtship over the course of the next twenty years. Finally in 1949 they plan to be married, but the ceremony is called off at the last minute (an event depicted in The Talos Chronicle), and the two, despite still loving one another, part permanently.

Mona will die in 1962 (of cancer), and much later, using 21st century Virtual Reality technology, Doc creates a VR companion that is in many ways his lost Mona reborn.

Stories in the Mona anthology will take place across that whole arc of time. As with the Rickie anthology, the tone of the stories will be mature and sophisticated…most will not be conventional pulp action scenes (though there is potential for those as well), but tales and vignettes exploring the personalities, beliefs, aspirations, joys and pain experienced by Doc and Mona over the course of their relationship.

A sample of the type of story to be included in the anthology is Daughter of the King, by Marissa Sarno (click on the title link to read), which was a part of the 2021 Doc Talos fan fiction contest. Marissa has graciously given permission for her story to be included in the new anthology, along with tales by Doc Talos author/creator R. Paul Sardanas.

Some classic books that might also provide inspiration for potential stories are the works of Isabel Allende, or the D.H. Lawrence 1926 novel The Plumed Serpent. Certainly a familiarity with the three Doc Savage novels Monja appears in, The Man of Bronze, The Golden Peril, and They Died Twice, will be helpful, but by no means necessary, as the tone of these stories is quite different from what will be appearing in Mona. Still, though more mainstream in presentation, Mona’s character — her courage, dignity and personal strength — is much informed by the Madonna-like Princess Monja.

For those who have not read The Talos Chronicle, here are some of the events and details of Mona’s life:

Birth year: 1905

Death year: 1962

Ethnicity: Guatemalan of Mayan descent.

Meets Doc Talos in 1925 — she is 20, he is 25.

Childhood in Guatemala City and the smaller village of Cobán, much of it spent in the violent environment of her father’s gold business.

Mona becomes a sculptor in her 20’s, and by 1939 is an acclaimed artist to the point of her work appearing at the Pan American Pavilion of the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

Mona is Catholic, which causes some challenging philosophical exchanges between her and the atheistic Doc Talos.

Planned marriage between Doc and Mona: December 1949 (marriage is called off after Doc confesses extreme details of his own violent past).

Possible stories could be set in Central America or New York, with background events or elements like World War II; The Depression; the violent underground of early 20th Century Guatemala City; Mayan culture in modern Guatemala.

If your submission is selected to appear in the book, you will receive an author’s copy of the paperback, and a percentage of book profits divided equally among all anthology authors. Authors will retain copyright of their stories.

The book will be illustrated, as was the Rickie anthology, with black and white line drawings created by R. Paul Sardanas.

Mona portrait – illustration sample

Submissions will be accepted until a final deadline of November 15, 2022. Publication of the anthology is scheduled for spring/summer 2023.

Submissions should be made in Word or Open Office format. There is no length restriction: stories/vignettes can be as short as one page, or as long as needed to tell the tale. As pro-quality tales, these should be free from serious or multiple typographical errors to be considered.

As these stories will be considered a part of Doc Talos canon, series creator R. Paul Sardanas will be consulted to review all tales and to suggest any revisions to authors that will keep the stories solidly within the facts/continuity of Talos canon.

If you would like to pitch an idea or have any questions before writing a full story, contacting the book’s editor/main author R. Paul Sardanas is certainly encouraged — you may write and describe your idea directly to: taloschronicle@gmail.com.

Thanks in advance to all who are interested in taking part!

Mona

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