Winners of literary awards from the Pulitzer Prize to the Bram Stoker are represented in the collection, the first from Rosarium Publishing. Contributors include Junot Diaz, Victor LaValle, Lauren Beukes, Tobias Buckell, N.K. Jemisin, S.P. Somtow, Eden Robinson, Vandana Singh, Rabih Alameddine, Linda D. Addison, Charles R. Saunders, Darius James, Greg Tate, Carmen Maria Machado, Chinelo Onwualu, Jaymee Goh, and Tade Thompson. Many of the stories have been published previously.
Co-editor Bill Campbell told the Washington City Paper that he started the book project to gain more recognition for black sf authors:
While attending predominantly white science-fiction conventions, the Prince George’s County resident perceived a general disregard for black authors writing speculative fiction. “I would mention these people’s names and people would just be like ‘who?'” Campbell says. “Either I could complain that these people aren’t known or I could do something about it.”
…Campbell refers to the pieces in Mothership as “story donations”—he couldn’t afford to commission his writers. He started his own publishing company specifically for the book.
And he explained the choice of title in an interview for RisingShadow:
We named the collection “Mothership” because we wanted to capture the spirit, in a literary sense, of what one could expect in a Parliament/Funkadelic album, which was the unexpected. We also wanted to give readers a taste of the diversity that many of these writers have to offer. So, we have stories from all the genres within speculative fiction. We have stories with and without overtly political content. We even have stories that some would most likely contest aren’t speculative fiction at all. But that is the beauty and spectrum of the writers represented here. We felt that it was important to celebrate that.