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Taking Submissions: Alien Dimensions #23
Submission Window: October 1st and October 31st of 2022
Theme: Short stories set in deep space and/or on alien planets from now on. Far, far from Earth!
To have your story considered for Issue 23 due out in November 2022, please submit it between October 1st and October 31st of 2022. I’ll read and reply in November 2022.
Announcement Jan 2022!
Since 2017, Alien Dimensions has been working hard to find its feet in the semiprozine world, while still covering costs. I’ve offered a token payment of $10 per story for stories accepted since then as, being a non-profit with no grants, that’s basically all Alien Dimensions can afford. Also, I volunteer my time to edit it. I’ve previously said that if sales increase, I’ll review that token payment. So, whether it was the double issue, covid, reduced number of issues being released, an increase in interest in space fiction worldwide, changing the release time limit from 1 year to 2 years, better advertising, a new algorithm from Amazon, more people interested in aliens, or more people reading via Kindle Unlimited, or, most likely, Issue #21-#22 being just so good, Alien Dimensions has not only been successful in 2021 it has started recovering losses for previous years.
As a result, with huge thanks to all the readers and writers, from 2022, payments for accepted stories will rise to USD$20 each. I know that is still far away from professional payments but, I plan to review that every year and increase it when possible. There’s been some contract adjustments for this to happen, too. Future issues will remain available indefinitely, from issue #23, and from February 2022, the minimum story length for submission is now 5000 words. Also, Alien Dimensions issues will be 200+ pages rather than 100. Yes, lots of changes for 2022!
So, do you have a space fiction story ready to submit?
Please read everything below to know what I’m looking for. It’s highly specific and will save you a lot of time. (Even if you’ve read this page previously, please note that I’ve made some changes – February 2022).
Alien Dimensions is now part of the Maldek House department ‘Space Fiction Books‘ and will only be publishing short stories set in deep space and/or on alien planets from now on. Far, far from Earth!
To get an idea of what kind of stories are likely to be accepted for Alien Dimensions in the future, please check out the Space Fiction Collection series.
What is Space Fiction?
- Nothing set on Earth. Or, if there is a part of your story on Earth, it should be so futuristic that we don’t recognise it.
- Aliens. Mandatory! Real aliens, with tusks, tentacles and blobby, leafy, electric, silicon bits! Avoid humanoid aliens. If you’re stuck, download and play Pokemon Go for a while and get some ideas! (I’ve even got a referral code for you: FFQDFK4MM )
- Space, with extrapolated science. I want to read explanations of how your spaceship drive works. I want to imagine how the engineering of your future operates. I want to hear the impossible details of the alien planets your characters visit.
- Adventurous and fun.
Write for Alien Dimensions
Thank you for your interest in submitting to Alien Dimensions
Read further for what stories I’m now looking for. Lots of detail below so that it saves us both time, and there’s less chance of a rejection!
5000-7000 words only. “Set it in space, in the far future, and include some friendly non-humanoid aliens helping to solve a pseudo-scientific problem. More cerebral than stomach! Space Fiction! Written in the restrictive third person.” US$20 flat rate.
Rights: First year – exclusive. Afterwards – non-exclusive. The Alien Dimensions issue your story is in will remain available in various forms indefinitely. However, if I decide to create a ‘best of’ issue, such as the next one in the ‘Space Fiction Collection’ series, then I’ll contact you again with a new contract.
Detailed Submission Guidelines
Things to include:
- 5000 to 7000 words – okay to go over but it’s still US$20 so…
- At least one great idea
- Preferably written in the third person (or if you prefer first person writing, do a lot of head jumping, and include lots of dialogue between multiple characters)
- Set in the future, at least 100 years hence. Happier with 1000 years hence. Let’s avoid 20th/21st century baggage and just tell an original story
- Some kind of non-humanoid aliens present, usually friendly
- More alien worlds, more non-humanoid characters. E.G.: intellectual bacteria, plants with tentacles, a conscious galaxy, or some other not even vaguely humanoid creature / energy being. Do your best to create something non-anthropomorphic
- End on a positive note (aim for it, but if it is impossible, I’ll still consider it, if the story is good)
- PG 13. No sex, swearing, obvious LGBTQI+ themes, unless the entire story will fall apart without it. It’s a short story so please don’t bother with a romance or endless character development, or detailed descriptions of what the characters look like.
- Must be original. No using copyright characters or established series.
- Must never have been published before by another publisher. As Alien Dimensions will be submitted to Amazon Kindle for approval, if Amazon’s A.I. detects something that’s already been published in a different way, Alien Dimensions might get blocked from publication.
- Dialogue between characters that move the story forward. Set in the now. (A short story doesn’t have time for prologues or too much backstory. Save those for your novels!)
- Short scenes. Change the location or the situation as quickly as possible. Don’t get stuck in one place for more than a few sentences
- Docx preferred.
And I’m also looking for a high level of grammar, vocabulary, intelligent dialogue and general creative writing ability.
Things to avoid:
- Derivative works referring to religious texts, either obvious or subtextual. Let’s not be too serious
- Works that pretend to be set in an alien world but feature obviously contemporary human situations with just the names, descriptions, locations and years changed to sound more alien and futuristic.
- Narration stories where there is no dialogue, and one character just tells a story from beginning to end. That includes stories set in characters’ heads when they’re having a conversation with themselves.
- ‘Journey’ stories. If characters need to get from A to B, please invent some sort of science to get them there in seconds. Save journeys for long novels. Short stories should be about focusing on the complicated situations characters find themselves in, and how they are (if they can be) resolved, rather than describing each step they take between A and B. If your characters must change location a lot, invent some device to get them there in seconds, and to skip five paragraphs of descriptive journey text!
- Court room scenes or boxing scenes! Courts have only existed for 800 years in western culture. Don’t expect them to be around in a 1000.
- Terms like ‘stargate’ (Stargate) or ‘warp drive’ (Star Trek), or ‘time vortex’ (Doctor Who), or ‘the force’ (Star Wars). ‘A.I.’ and ‘hyperspace’ are okay as they’re common terms throughout all SF.
- Dystopias and Climate Fiction. Alien Dimensions is a predominantly positive series about the future.
- Pop culture references. It is unlikely characters years in the future would know anything about the present. Readers love to become immersed in a story and feel like they are there, watching things unfold. Pop culture references that wouldn’t fit the reality throw them out of their immersion. They also age the story. Best avoided unless a section of the story is somehow set in 2022, or one of your characters is an immortal human.
- Fantasy. Alien Dimensions is no longer looking for any fantasy-style stories. Science Realism is preferred.
- Pseudoiterative writing – any habit or routine written in detail, unless it is completely alien.
- Domesticated scenes. Space Fiction, at its very basic, is about staff in space. Whether exploring, or military, it’s dangerous work and is not a place for children. There’s barely time to chew on a ration bar if food and drink is even mentioned or needed at all. So, if possible, please avoid having aliens discuss their disabilities in a kitchen, or humans struggling with their mental issues in the ship’s bar, or letting children run around killer cyborgs. (Yes, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and Picard. I’m looking at you!) Also, getting back to the idea that the story should be set in the far future, I’d expect humans to have evolved enough that there wouldn’t be these kinds of challenges we have today to even be worth mentioning. (It might be a bit naive of me but I expect humanity’s mental and physical abilities to improve alongside and along with our technological advancements. Would love to see the far future results of that in your stories.)
Please read some of the more science and dialogue-driven stories from Alien Dimensions to get a feel for what I’m looking for before submitting, and to support the ebook series so that I can buy more stories!
There’s more below, including an example contract, but if you think you’re ready to submit, you can email your submission to submissions(@)aliendimensions.com
Hi. I’m Neil A. Hogan and I’m the editor of Alien Dimensions. There is just me behind the scenes, so apologies if there is a delay in replying somewhere down the track. I’ve recently changed the release period for Alien Dimensions, which means I’ll just reply to your emails after each reading day. This will allow me time to focus on my own novel writing.
I’ve read online that some decades-old publications get between 700 and 1000 submissions a month. These publications tend to ask for more contemporary stories, or contemporary style human drama set in a slightly SF environment. While writing something is always hard, encouraging writers to tap into their experience and focus on the beauty of the word, rather than asking them to come up with a completely alien world that blows your mind, really doesn’t appeal to me that much. Sorry about that. Think pulp fiction and space opera, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction, not literary fiction. That’s why I created Alien Dimensions. The goal is to release stories with mind-numbing ideas, brain expanding concepts, or just to get a reader to say WTF? There isn’t enough space fiction out there that really makes you think about the universe, so, that’s what I’m looking for – something that at least includes SOME hard science or high-tech science, and preferably some hard-to-comprehend aliens.
Even so, if you can write a decent story, at least touching on some real science, you’ll get my attention. (I’d rather learn it through reading SF than try to get my head around it in a course!) If you write something that is non-anthropomorphic, or xenofictional, I’ll be shouting for joy!
If you’re stuck for a science idea to get you started, I recommend installing the app Science News from AppsForNexus. Google Play link here: Science News Daily It aggregates science news from a variety of sources.
If you’re stuck for ideas about aliens and alien civilisations, check out LIFE BEYOND 3: In Search of Giants. The Hunt for Intelligent Alien Life. About 42 minutes long, it’s packed with ideas and will give you another perspective on life, the universe and everything!
About Alien Dimensions
Alien Dimensions is a not-for-profit science fiction publication with a focus on independent authors from around the world, open to submissions from anyone, anywhere from any walk of life. So, you may find a mix of English grammar and spelling from the UK, Australia and the USA, as well as region specific mother tongue influences on sentence construction and punctuation usage. I don’t/wouldn’t want to destroy some of the subtle flavours / flavors / tastes that someone has/had added to their work so I’ll only change/be changing major/noticeable grammar problems where/if possible. English teachers beware!
I’m always on the lookout for new hard space fiction stories. I also feel that we’ll be in contact with intelligent aliens within the next 10 years, and this will reshape the future of humanity. As soon as the human race makes contact with aliens, every story ever written that doesn’t contain aliens would seem a bit outdated. It would be like watching old episodes of Alien Nation or Buffy without seeing a mobile phone.
So, please make sure there are some aliens in your story. Even better if your story is written from the aliens’ perspective.
If you’ve written a space fiction story that you’ve had rejected, worked on to improve, sent it to someone else, but then been rejected again and given up on, perhaps you could submit that to me? I might reject it too, but I’m looking for great ideas. If the ideas are great and teaches readers something, but the story just needs a little tweaking, I might be able to help you rewrite it to make it work. (You’ll get full credit, of course. I’m just a humble editor!)
If you write in the style of Robert A. Heinlein, Ann Leckie, Greg Bear, Martha Wells, Isaac Asimov, C J Cherryh, Poul Anderson, Annalee Newitz, Clifford D Simak, Arthur C. Clarke, Larry Niven, Stephen Baxter, Piers Anthony, Cixin Liu or Paul Cornell, and like to research your subject matter before writing, you might have what I’m looking for.
I’ll consider your story and, if it is suitable, offer you a flat rate of US$20.00 (twenty dollars) for it, paid by PayPal. (NB; Rate for stories from 2017 to 2021 was US$10 per story. New rate begins in 2022). New 2022 contract example here. (Previous writers, please note new terms) Minimum 5000 words, maximum 7000 words. If I suddenly get over 400 sales a month for several months, the rate will be reviewed again, so please tell your friends about Alien Dimensions!
There are hundreds of publications you can submit to out there. But, if you’re not accepted, most just have time for a short message like ‘I’m sorry but we are unable to accept your story for publication at this time.’ There isn’t much detail about what they want, and they don’t have time to give you much detail why they didn’t accept your story. So, to make up for that, please closely follow the list of things I’m looking for, and the list of things I’m not (above). That way, you can save yourself some time! Even so, as mentioned previously, if your story has some great ideas, I might ignore one or two of the ‘nots’ to let it through.
If you have a story that you think fits the above, and you’re happy for me to use it for US$20, send it to [email protected] as a Word .doc or .docx
If possible, please reformat your story to make it easier for me to read by following William Shunn’s Guide to Proper Manuscript Format (Mainly because I don’t have a submission tracking system. And also, well, it means you’re serious. You’ve probably already got that template set up on your computer and use it all the time.)
Of course, I know US$20 isn’t much in some countries, but it is a way to get something back from a story that you might have given up on, and it gets your name out there. If I ever sell more than 400 copies per issue a month, I’ll be able to cover costs and consider increasing that rate. (Publishing Alien Dimensions is a labor of love, and supported out of my own pocket and any money that comes back from sales, less costs and advertising. Completely non-profit.)
Happy to read your story if you’re a new writer and you think your writing is as good as, if not better than, the writers that have already written for Alien Dimensions. So, if you’ve never submitted before, give it a go!
Looking forward to reading your writing
P.S. Perhaps Alien Dimensions is not for you? Perhaps the contract isn’t what you’re looking for? No worries! I’m also a writer and know how you feel. I’d love to see your story but I also want you to succeed. The best way to succeed is to study the publications of the books you think you’d like to write for, then write specifically for that publication in their style. You could be the next Neil Gaiman or Philip K. Dick, so if you don’t think Alien Dimensions is the right publication for your story, I recommend you check out Aswiebe‘s site. She has an easy to use downloadable list of markets with clickable submission links that might help you find another place for your story. You can also search Ralan for other markets. If you have a spare $5(?) a month, you could check out Duotrope too.
If you’re just starting out, I also recommend you read the following pages:
Stories We’ve Seen Too Often – From Strange Horizons
If you’re interested in taking your writing a bit further, and avoiding stories where it is just humans versus aliens, I’d suggest getting your local library or university to get this title in stock: Science Fiction, Alien Encounters, and the Ethics of Posthumanism: Beyond the Golden Rule by Elana Gomel
If you’re planning to self-publish, Amazon statistics suggest that the lowest selling genre is science fiction, and the highest sales months for science fiction in this low selling category, compared to other genres at the same time, is February to May. Hopefully that’ll change over the next few years as more people discover science fiction!
Speaking of Amazon, if you haven’t already, I recommend you set up an author page before someone takes your name! Author Central Amazon
Quick guide for newbies
1. Prepare your story in the correct file format and attach it to an email
2. Create a short email intro. Example (delete parts that are not relevant):
Attached is my fiction submission (title) approximate word count (x,xxx) for consideration for your next release of Alien Dimensions. This story has not previously been published anywhere, and is not being considered for publication elsewhere.
My PayPal is (Paypal email or link)
If my story is chosen, you’re welcome to use the following bio if needed:
(Name) was born in/lives in (place) and has been writing for (years)
[optional] (Name)’s stories have appeared in (Recent Publication 1) , (Recent Publication 2) and (Recent Publication 3)
You can find out more at (Name)’s (blog/FB page)
(Full Amazon Author Central name / name that you would like your story to be listed under in the publication)
3. Send to [email protected]
4. Check reply dates above. Don’t forget to check your spam folder. (And if you’re on a limited sized mailbox, please clear it regularly. I sometimes get ‘mailbox full – cannot be delivered’ when I reply to prolific submitters!)
5. If rejected, don’t despair. And definitely don’t take it personally! Write another one and submit again.
6. If approved, read through the contract carefully to make sure you’re happy with the terms and conditions, then email me with a ‘Yes, I confirm everything is fine’ I will then pay you US$20 for your 5000-7000 word story via Paypal within about 7 days.
7. If your story is chosen, within about a week of the issue being released in both digital and print formats, I will email you a free pdf of the issue that your story appears in. Your bio details, in various forms, may also appear on the website, Amazon and other areas to help promote the book.
Wishing you all the best.
Via: Alien Dimensions.
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Stuart Conover is a father, husband, published author, blogger, geek, entrepreneur, horror fanatic, and runs a few websites including Horror Tree!