Taking Submissions: Intelligence in Fiction

Deadline: July 15th, 2017
Payment: 8c/word, up to 5000 words

The Machine Intelligence Research Institute has put out a call for intelligent stories illustrating concepts related to (artificial or natural) intelligence. Guidelines are quite specific; read below.

This call is intended to reward people who write thoughtful and compelling stories about artificial general intelligence, intelligence amplification, or the AI alignment problem. We’re looking to appreciate and publicize authors who help readers understand intelligence in the sense of general problem-solving ability, as opposed to thinking of intelligence as a parlor trick for memorizing digits of pi, and who help readers intuit that non-human minds can have all sorts of different non-human preferences while still possessing instrumental intelligence.

The winning stories are intended to show (rather than tell) these ideas to an intellectually curious audience. Conscious attempts to signal that the ideas are weird, wonky, exotic, or of merely academic interest are minuses. We’re looking for stories that just take these ideas as reality in the setting of the story and run with them. In all cases, the most important evaluation criterion will just be submissions’ quality as works of fiction; accurately conveying important ideas is no excuse for bad art!

To get a good sense of what we’re looking for, we recommend you read some or all of the following:

Submission Details

  • Purchasing First Publication Rights
  • Pay Rate: 8c/word, up to 5000 words
  • Multiple Submissions ok
  • Simultaneous Submissions ok
  • Submissions window: Open until July 15

Withdrawal policy:

After you submit a story, we prefer you don’t withdraw it. If you withdraw a story, we won’t consider any version of that story in the future. However, if you do need to withdraw a story (because, for example, you have sold exclusive rights elsewhere), please send an e-mail telling us that you need to withdraw ASAP.

Important Notes:

MIRI is neither a publishing house nor a science fiction magazine and cannot directly publish you. However, MIRI will help link a large number of readers to your story.

We frankly do not know whether being selected by MIRI will qualify as a Professional Sale for purposes of membership in the SFWA. We suspect, through readership numbers and payscale, that it will, but we have not spoken to the SFWA to clarify this.

If you have a work of hypertext fiction you think might be a good fit for this call, please query us to discuss how to submit it.

To submit a work, send your submissions as .DOC or .DOCX email attachments to [email protected], with your cover letter in the email body, and a subject line of SUBMISSION: (Title).

How to Contact Us:

To contact us for any reason, write to [email protected] with the word QUERY: at the beginning of your subject line. Add a few words to the subject line to indicate what you’re querying about.

Via: The Machine Intelligence Research Institute.

Taking Submissions: Retro Future Issue #4

retro-future

Deadline: September 1st, 2017
Payment: Unlisted but “will always meet or exceed SFWA minimum compensation guidelines”

Retro Future is a quarterly pulp magazine that searches for diverse, surprising, and progressive science fiction in art, prose, essay, and comics.

Issue Submission Themes

Issue #4: Resistance to oppression.

Submissions Guidelines

We welcome submissions of art and writing that approaches retrofuturism through a progressive lens. Essays and flash fiction of approximately 250-500 words is especially welcome; longer works may be serialized.

Comic submissions should be 1-8 pages of finished work. Anything longer may get serialized across multiple issues. Please note that inside art should be in grayscale (please refer to art and comic templates for details.)

Galileo Books acquires first serial rights; upon publication, these rights revert back to you, the author. We ask that you acknowledge Retro Future (Galileo Books) as the venue of original publication when the work appears in your book or is otherwise collected.

If a work becomes unavailable while under our review, please contact us via email. Submitted work for specific issues may be considered for other issues if themes fit. Please include your name and contact information (at least an email) at the top of your submission.

Art and comic templates are located here. Please make sure that art finals are high resolution (at least 300 DPI), in the RGB or Grayscale color space, and native Photoshop or TIFF files. No JPG or GIF.
(Dropbox will ask you to join, you can ignore that and click the ‘continue to download’ link)

Written material should be attached to the email in TXT, RTF or Word formats.

Retro Future is a progressive publication. Subjects such as sexual violence, un-examined racism, and other potentially offensive material are often used as fodder for exposition in genre stories–this is not appropriate for inclusion in Retro Future.

We are looking for forward-looking and optimistic science and science-fiction. Sensitive topics can be part of a good story, but a vision of a future better than our present is the focus of Retro Future. Keep this in mind when submitting.

Submission Email

[email protected]
In the subject, please format as follows for artwork:
          Full Name, artrf, Your Project Title
In the subject, please format as follows for writing:
          Full Name, litrf, Your Project Title

This will help our filters organize better! You can expect a response up to a month after the deadline date.

We will always meet or exceed SFWA minimum compensation guidelines.

Via: Galileo Games.

Taking Submissions: Strange Beasties

Deadline: July 15th, 2017
Payment: 6 cents per word

“Strange Beasties” – Slipstream. Are you itching to invent your own odd literary devices or creatures? Impress us, delight us, or scare us with the diversity of your fiendish creations. Creatures of the id don’t necessarily have to be monsters, but they do need to be strange. We’d fancy some ghostbusters and monster hunters too.

Reading Period: May 15 – July 15, 2017
Writer Deadline: July 15, 2017
Publication Date: September 20, 2017

Third Flatiron Publishing is based in Boulder, Colorado, and Ayr, Scotland. We are looking for submissions to our quarterly themed anthologies. Our focus is on science fiction and fantasy and anthropological fiction. We want tightly plotted tales in out-of-the-ordinary scenarios. Light horror is acceptable, provided it fits the theme.

Please send us short stories that revolve around age-old questions and have something illuminating to tell us as human beings. Fantastical situations and creatures, exciting dialog, irony, mild horror, and wry humor are all welcome. Stories should be between 1,500 and 3,000 words. Inquire if longer.

Role models for the type of fiction we want include Kurt Vonnegut, Arthur C. Clarke, Dan Simmons, Connie Willis, Vernor Vinge, and Ken Kesey. We want to showcase some of the best new shorts available today.

For each anthology, we will also accept a few very short humor pieces on the order of the “Shouts and Murmurs” feature in The New Yorker Magazine (600 words or so). These can be written from a first-person perspective or can be mini-essays that tell people what they ought to do, how to do something better, or explain why something is like it is, humorously. An SF/Fantasy bent is preferred.

Continuing with Third Flatiron’s quarterly themed anthologies, we will be soliciting SF/Fantasy/Horror short stories with the following themes. Themes are designed to be open-ended, allowing authors considerable leeway. We appreciate short, imaginative tales, preferring those that work with the theme in some way. Short stories should be 3,000 words or less. Flash humor pieces (<=1,000 words) can be on any theme. We aim to be inclusive and encourage submissions from all creators. Stories should be submitted in either Microsoft Word (using double spacing), RTF, or plain text. They should be between 1,500 and 3,000 words. Flash humor pieces (Grins and Gurgles) should be short, around 600 words. Please don’t send simultaneous or multiple submissions. If a story has been rejected, you can then send another. Submit by email to [email protected] either as an attachment (Word, RTF) or in the body of the mail (text). In the Subject: line of the email, please put flatsubmit:Title_of_Your_Work to avoid being deemed a canned meat product based on ham. If the work is for the humor section, please note that in the body of your email. A brief bio and a one- or two-sentence synopsis in the body of your email would also be helpful to us. Use the following template (basically, follow William Shunn’s Standard Manuscript Format): Your Name Address Email Word count [10 blank lines] Title Byline Body of story ——– Our response time is expected to be about 8 weeks (or less if the writer deadline is coming up soon). Remuneration As of: November 1, 2016 Your story must be original work, with the digital rights unencumbered. Accepted stories will be paid at the flat rate of 6 cents per word (U.S./SFWA professional rate), in return for the first publication rights to the story for six months after publication. All other rights will remain with the author. We no longer offer royalties. If your story is selected as the lead story, we request permission to podcast the story as a free sample portion of the anthology. We welcome new writers. Third Flatiron will price and market your story to various e-publishing venues. We will format the story for the most popular electronic readers and platforms. You agree that we may distribute a sample (portion of the story) to potential customers. For non-U.S. submissions, we prefer to pay via PayPal, if you have such an account. Authors selected for publication will also be entitled to one free online copy of the anthology. Via: Third Flat Iron Press.

Taking Submissions: Welcome to Miskatonic University

Deadline: June 30th, 2017
Payment: 8 cents per word

With Ride the Star Wind in the editing phase, we are now open to submissions for our next anthology: Welcome to Miskatonic University, an anthology of modern-day weird tales set in good ol’ MU.

Miskatonic University is still going strong in the Arkham Valley (and in various satellite campuses and research stations around the world). Resilient and forward thinking, few institutions can weather the times and adapt like good ol’ MU. It’s a strange brew of conservatively reaching into the past while progressively marching forward. And it’s a hotbed for the weird and the wonderful!

So what might a modern MU look like? What might student life be like today? These tales combine college life and the cosmic weird. Of course, there’s beer, sex, and parties; study groups and all-night cramming; campus activism and impassioned discourse; vital research and faculty struggling for tenure. But also, you know, gruesome and psychedelic cosmic weirdness.

What avenues of study has the university sanctioned either publicly or privately? Where are they getting so much funding? The university’s been around the block and are at the bleeding edge of certain realms of research. Occult studies have seeped, seemingly innocuously, into various branches of nearly all academic departments and inform everything from quantum physics to computer science, sociology to modern American literature. Library studies is hands down the best, most advanced in the world, likely one of the most well funded of sectors at the institution with ever-evolving safeguards and best practices.

But there’s bound to be lingering effects from all the occult activity, like “sensitive” people and locations with breaches to the “other side.” People disappear all the time; sometimes they even come back. Entire wings are off limits to humans indefinitely. As a whole, this anthology is about the angst and drama of college life, the promise of big occult ideas, and the terror and dread (and headfirst exploration) of the unknown, of the forbidden. And some dark humor would not be misplaced.

We want diverse stories with modern sensibilities from many different voices that show the immense and diverging possibilities ahead for the weird. We want to forge ahead and explore the new and the strange. We are actively seeking submissions from writers from underrepresented populations. (This includes, but is not limited to, writers of any race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, class, and physical or mental ability.) 

  • We want weird fiction set in a modern-day Miskatonic University. Stories should be set within or be inspired by the Cthulhu Mythos. We want to see the Mythos continue to grow and evolve, to expand as a shared literary world and not be tied to outdated and limiting sensibilities. We are not interested in stories with bigoted views on race and gender.
  • Subversive or experimental stories are welcome. 
  • No pastiches of previous eras. 
  • Original, previously unpublished short stories (3,000-6,000 words) and flash fiction (1,000 words or less).
  • Pay rate of 8 c/w for first rights to digital, audio, and print formats in English. 
  • Simultaneous submissions are welcome, but please, let us know as soon as possible if your submission has become unavailable before you hear back from us.
  • Only one submission per author.
  • We seek both rich characters and grandiose ideas. We seek diverse characters.

Submit your story in standard manuscript format as an attachment to submissions(at)brokeneyebooks(dot)com with a subject line of the following: [WTMU] “Your Story Title”.

Submission window open from April 1, 2017 to June 30, 2017. (We are working on streamlining our review process. We will start reading submissions in May after making headway into Ride the Star Wind edits. We cannot confirm receipt of your manuscript.) The published  anthology will be a mix of stories both from invited authors and from slush pile submissions. Don’t self-reject. If in doubt, submit. 

Requests

  • We’re trying to present a living, breathing setting for MU. There’s no requirement or even request for any coordination of story details. We just ask that you avoid the more world-ending (or even university-ending) plots. Sure, people will die, just as new faculty is hired and new students fill empty seats. Buildings will crumble or disappear into wormholes, but there is always new construction. Monsters will come and go, sometimes with fanfare and sometimes not; some even stick around as lab specimens, secret pets, lazing in the sewers, or disguised as faculty. But above all, Miskatonic University persists.
  • For this anthology, Miskatonic University is assumed to be a fully modern, multicultural hotbed of cutting edge occult and technological research. In this modern incarnation, we’re assuming that it has fully embraced modern technology and norms and has both a faculty and student body thriving with personalities from all walks of life (no matter race, religion, gender, or anything [so it’s not just a bunch of white dudes])–and it’s been that way for at least decades. Of course, the institution will have its secrets and likely everyone there has their own agendas as well. So while there could certainly be your occasional reactionary character pining for the “old days,” those characters are not the norm. Hope that helps!

Content & Style

  • Rape: Avoid rape, especially that intended only to demonize villains or raise heroes to action. Avoid rape victims serving only as plot devices. And on the instances when rape is vital to a story, we need to see the victim’s reactions, their journey after, the consequences. We prefer characters to have agency, not just be plot points and set pieces. If those considerations are unattainable in the writing, no rape. Also, no bestiality or child abuse.
  • Sex: Sex between consenting adults is perfectly welcome, regardless of gender, including with aliens and monsters. It doesn’t need to be tasteful, just consensual (though we’re not currently shopping for stories that are solely erotica). Incest, however, should be treated with the same considerations as rape (see above).
  • Hate: Vile, hate-filled (such as racist or sexist) characters/speech, that which could promote such hate, should not be reflective of the entire work. Any such characters should not be portrayed as narrators; such speech should not be adopted by the narrator. Such topics would be of interest to us if well navigated, as in LaValle’s The Ballad of Black Tom.
  • Style & Theme: We are happy to consider subversive themes, marginalized voices, and experimental styles.
  • Editorial: We will edit your work in collaboration with you and “in broad daylight” in accordance withChicago Manual of Style and our experience. We are always open to discussion.
  • Current Tropes to Avoid: Forced Motherhood; Chosen One.

Via: Broken Eye Books.

Taking Submissions: Broad Knowledge

Deadline: May 30th, 2017
Payment: 6 cents per word.
Note: Only female authors.

Announcing an open call for submissions for Broad Knowledge: 35 Women Up To No Good, an anthology of dark and speculative fiction in the Women Up To No Good book series, co-edited by H.L. Nelson and Joanne Merriam, to be published by Upper Rubber Boot Books.

Authors must identify as female, non-binary, or a marginalized sex or gender identity.

This anthology will be themed around the idea of knowledge (learning/science/education/training/etc). Stories may be funny or serious, set anywhere on or off the world, in any time period, but must feature female protagonists whose knowledge is integral to the plot/conflict.

  • Word/page count: Up to 5,000 words/story.
  • Payment: six cents per word.
  • Genres: Dark and speculative fiction encompasses horror, science fiction, fantasy, and magical realism, and we welcome all of these genres.
  • Publication history: Original stories only. Reprints may be submitted by invitation only.
  • Multiple submissions: No.
  • Simultaneous submissions: No.
  • Deadline: 30 May 2017. We plan to reply within one to two months from the deadline.
  • To submit: Send to joanne at upperrubberboot dot com:
    (a) your complete manuscript as a .RTF,
    (b) a bio of 100 words or fewer, and
    (c) make sure you provide the following information: legal name (if different from the name you write under), mailing address, and word count.
    Put “WOMEN UP TO NO GOOD” in the subject line.
  • If the work is a translation, please also provide a statement from the rightsholder that you are authorized to translate and submit it (both author and translator will receive full payment).

We encourage and welcome stories from voices underrepresented in speculative fiction, including (but not limited to) writers of color, LGBTQ writers, writers with disabilities, and writers in translation.

Via: Upper Rubber Boot.

Taking Submissions: Unidentified Funny Objects 6

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Deadline: April 30th, 2017
Payment: 10 cents per word and a contributor’s copy

Please read the guidelines carefully before submitting your story!


Unidentified Funny Objects
is an annual anthology of humorous SF/F. Past headliners include George R. R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, Esther Friesner, David Gerrold, Laura Resnick, Mike Resnick, Piers Anthony, Kevin J. Anderson, etc.

For UFO6 we’re seeking all style and sub-genres of speculative humor.

SUBMISSION WINDOW: April 1 – April 30, 2017

LENGTH: 500-5000 words.

 

PAYMENT: $0.10 per word + contributor copy. Payment will be made upon acceptance. Our preferred method of payment is via PayPal, but you may request
a check.

FORMAT: RTF or DOC. Standard Manuscript Format or something close to it (We won’t take points off if you prefer Courier over Times New Roman or some such).

SEND TO: Upload your stories via this submissions link.

Limit of 1 submission per author — even if you receive a response before the submission window closes please do not send another story unless directly invited to do so.

Please do not respond to rejections. The email address associated with submissions is not monitored. If you wish to query for any reason, please use the contact form or e-mail us: ufopublishing at gmail dot com.

 

RIGHTS SOUGHT: First Worldwide print and electronic English Language rights. Exclusivity for 90 days from date of release. Non-exclusive print, e-book, and audio rights afterward. Preview sample contract.

POLICIES & RESPONSE TIME: No reprints, multiple or simultaneous submissions please. Do not send any stories we already considered for a previous UFO volume or any other anthology edited by Alex Shvartsman. You may query after 30 days. Please send only one submission per author unless directly invited to send more.

 


WHAT WE WANT:

We’re looking for speculative stories with a strong humor element. Think Resnick and Sheckley, Fredric Brown and Douglas Adams.  We welcome quality flash fiction and non-traditional narratives. Take chances, try something new, just make sure that your story is funny.

Puns and stories that are little more than vehicles for delivering a punch line at the end aren’t likely to win us over.  The best way to learn what we like in general is to read a previous volume. You can buy it here and also read the online stories for free.

 

WHAT WE DON’T WANT

These are the tropes we see entirely too much of in the slush pile. You will improve your odds if you steer clear of these:

* Zombies
* Vampires
* Deals with the Devil / Djinn in a bottle variants
* Stereotypical aliens probing people, abducting cattle, and doing other stereotypical alien things.

 

ABOUT US:

See the UFO Publishing About Us page

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

I have two 6100-word horror stories that were previously printed and are now on submission at several magazines. Can I send them to you, simultaneously?

Please don’t. We have carefully considered what we’re looking for and expressed it above. If you strongly feel the need to break one of the guidelines, query first and provide a good reason.

My story was previously published in an obscure college anthology in 1996, which sold 16 copies. Can I submit it?

Sorry, but we won’t consider previously published stories, no matter how obscure. Stories posted on your personal blog, Facebook page, or Patreon page are considered published.

I may have accidentally begun my manuscript three double spaces below the byline instead of two. Am I getting auto-rejected?

Don’t sweat the small stuff. We’ll reformat your submission to fit our needs. You’re even welcome to send your story handwritten in pink crayon on glitter-sprinkled construction paper, but we will take that into consideration when deciding whether to purchase it, and whether to file for a restraining order.

I plan on winning multiple awards for my UFO story. Will your exclusivity rights prevent me from being included in the Nebula Showcase?

Congratulations on all your future success. We will gladly make exceptions for “Best Of” anthologies.

An anthology of humor SF/F is the greatest idea since sliced bread. What can I do to help?

Spread the word. Support our Kickstarter campaign. Pick up copies of previous UFO volumes. If you want to invite our authors/editors to a con you’re organizing, sell paperback copies of UFO at your store, bake us cookies, or help in any other way, we’d love to hear from you.

Via: Alex Shvartsman.

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