Meet The Showrunners of The Parallelia World: Marsha Clarke and Giselle Bodden

Parallelia, a science fiction world with elements of magical realism created by Syllble Showrunners Marsha Clarke and Giselle Bodden will take center stage as the first fictional World chosen in this new iteration of PENS DOWN. Writers and creators are invited to join their writers’ collective and attend one or more of the six PENS DOWN event where they will write a flash story in less than an hour.

We are happy to announce the PENS DOWN flash meetups events will take place virtually: Saturday March 12th, Saturday March 26, Saturday April 9, Saturday April 23, Saturday May 14, Saturday May 28.

The Collective behind the Parallelia World will be hosting weekly Thursday Write-in Sessions and Monthly Studio Time to get feedback on stories written and produced: Saturday April 2nd, Saturday April 30 and Saturday 28 of May.

The World of Parallelia

Parallelia tells of a future world in the year 2087. After a series of unrelenting extreme natural disasters that ravaged most of the world, most people across the United States are left homeless. Years pass and they form a new collective called the Earthbound as they move into the abandoned city of Los Angeles and the Bay Area. 

As a community focused on maintaining a primal and spiritual connection to earth, they are able to restore some land and remnants of technology to establish live-able conditions and a culture based on energetic connectivity.

Meanwhile, the Silicons, a group of hybridized human-android elites operate with alternative intentions. They found a way to digitize themselves as well as physical earth to escape the deteriorating conditions of the planet. They actively build a pixelized parallel reality by usurping land and resources that Earthbounds have christened as sacred modalities of connectivity. 

There’s a major and hostile rift between both groups for the survival of humanity for each claim that their way is the answer.

Read part of the Story Bible here

Parallelia is really relevant today, especially with the fires in California, the extreme weather patterns rising across the U.S and this enthusiasm with the meta-verse that has taken our culture by storm. I hope creatives everywhere can have a space to play-in and imagine new narratives together” says Fabrice Guerrier, Syllble Founder

Meet Marsha Clarke

Where are you from and how does that affect your work? 

My family is from Barbados, I am a 1st generation American born and raised in Brooklyn, NY.  I love the way that NYC instills its own culture while encouraging people to stay connected to their roots. Being aware of the many similarities and differences has given me the ability to create characters who have deep cultural connections but are navigation spaces they are foreigners in.   

Who are your biggest artistic influences?

Prince! Is my overall favorite artist but my favorite author is Toni Morrison. Not only does her personal story inspire me to keep writing, but the way that she positions her antagonist characters to be emotionally devastating is a work of art. 

Where do you find inspiration? 

I can find inspiration for a story just about anywhere because there is always a backstory to everything that leads to something new and I let my imagination run wild with that. I assume all creative minds want to find out “why” writing gives a reason and a resolve. 

Describe how speculative fiction is important to society. 

Speculative fiction always seeps into a new social norm, it’s scary. Our minds create our environment and sometimes we’re thinking of disasters without the rescue mission. 

What motivates you to create? 

Creativity is a window into what we are thinking about. I hope that when people read what I write that it connects to something that they’ve thought about. 

What was the process like for you in creating Parallelia? 

Homelessness has always been a very complicated situation for me to understand while living in America and in one of the wealthiest cities in the world. I want to unpack the hardships of not having a designated place to sleep, food insecurity, abuse and violence but also show what it means to build a community of people whose only wealth is caring for eachother and the earth. 

What does it mean for you?

When I think of what happens to humans in natural disasters then pile on top of that they don’t have shelter and are either ignored or harmed. I wanted to change their story not just to success but to also be the creators of better humanity. 

Meet Giselle Bodden

Where are you from and how does that affect your work?

I was raised between South Florida and Honduras. I’ve traveled quite a bit but South Florida still serves as my home base. I am a first generation U.S. citizen. The experiences of my background affect my work in that I become very perceptive to culture when world building. I tend to create new language, customs and traditions within my character development while also finding opportunities to include magical realism. 

Who are your biggest artistic influences?

My biggest artistic influences as a writer are Juno Diaz, Paulo Coelho, Thrity Urimgar and Kate Chopin. Each of these authors had at least one work that made a huge impact on me personally and the way I wanted to express my own writing. The first time I read Diaz’s This is How You Lose Her, it felt like reading my own voice from a masculine perspective whereas Umrigar’s The Space Between Us managed to capture a feminine struggle that I strongly identified with. Each of these authors also depict stories through a cultural lens that feels whimsical yet realistically relatable.  

Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration through people, travel and dance. Everyone, every place and every step tells a story. 

Describe how speculative fiction is important to society.

It’s like that saying art reflects life and life reflects art. Through speculative fiction we create new realities even if it is just on a page. Then, maybe, just maybe, if people are in agreement with an ideology or a philosophy embedded in a story, that idea can then leap off of the page and into the world where we live. I often think of how many people adopted the growth mindset of “when you want something, the universe conspires in helping you achieve it” after reading Coehlo’s The Alchemist.  We can change hearts, minds, lives and even societies through our words. Words can shape the world. 

What motivates you to create?

Well, it is human nature to be creative. All of us are creative through choices that we make. Individual lives are creations. But what motivates me to write is that it’s like leaving a little piece of me behind for others now and in the future to see.  

What was the process like for you in creating Parallelia? What does it mean for you?

Parallelia is like coming face to face with a nightmare. It’s answering the question of “what is it like to witness and breathe into the experience of a dystopia.” It’s an exciting challenge to envision what the world looks like with earth ravaged, peoples displaced, and technologically advanced humans usurping precious resources, further contributing to the damage. The process requires me to think critically about values to the level of their political demonstration in an “us vs. them” model. Further, it’s asking how to change that model into an “us with them” version. To me this story is about returning to the essence of humanity by exchanging material values for that of spiritual values, which in my view includes an eternally continuous connection to others seen and unseen. 


A signature manuscript will be published and released at the end of Parallelia’s PENS DOWN. It will include selected flash stories, the World background and history, unique narratives and a multitude of art creators in the collective produce during this four month production cycle.

Marsha and Giselle are looking for original, unpublished flash fiction (1,000 words or less) and original, unpublished short stories up to 5,000 words set in the Parallelia World if you are unable to participate in the PENS DOWN flash meet up events. They are also looking for original Art and Illustrations inspired by the Parallelia World.

To be considered please forward your story in a word document or your Art via google drive or dropbox in an email that includes a short bio and your portfolio to

Deadline to submit is March 29th, 2022.