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Taking Submissions: Brain Games: Stories to Astonish
Deadline: August 1st, 2020
Payment: 8 cents per word
Theme: SF, F, H, steampunk, cyberpunk, mythology, satire. Stories could feature puzzle solving and ingenuity, inverted tv tropes, inventions (clockwork, practical, or Rube Goldberg), masterful creations (like JS Bach’s Goldberg Variations), and social commentary
Brain Games: Stories to Astonish – SF, F, H, steampunk, cyberpunk, mythology, satire
The left side of the brain is associated with logical and analytical characteristics, while the right brain with creativity. We’d welcome stories from both sides of the brain. Stories could feature puzzle solving and ingenuity, inverted tv tropes, inventions (clockwork, practical, or Rube Goldberg), masterful creations (like JS Bach’s Goldberg Variations), and social commentary
Reading period: July 1 – August 1, 2020
Writer deadline: August 1, 2020
Publication date: October 15, 2020
Third Flatiron Publishing is based in Boulder, Colorado, and Ayr, Scotland. We are looking for submissions to our (approximately) 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, Iain Banks, Alastair Gray, 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.
See the “Submissions” tab for preferred formats, etc.
We do themed anthologies. We are not currently accepting unsolicited reprints. We have also discussed the types of stories we prefer in an interview (note that the pay rate has increased) at D.L. Snell’s Market Scoops.
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. Be sure they are the final version (any Review comments removed). Flash humor pieces (Grins and Gurgles) should be short, around 600-1,000 words.
Please don’t send simultaneous or multiple submissions. If a story has been rejected, you can then send another (limit 2 per reading period).
Submit by email to
either as an attachment (Word, RTF) or in the body of the mail (text).
In the Subject: line of the email, please put
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):
[10 blank lines]
Body of story
Our response time is expected to be about 8 weeks (or less if the writer deadline is coming up soon).
As of: June 14, 2019
Your story must be original work, with the digital rights unencumbered. Accepted stories will be paid at the flat rate of 8 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 as part of an anthology. 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.
Most books (except “year’s best” collections) will be available for sale in trade paperback.
Authors selected for publication will also be entitled to one free online copy of the anthology.
Via: Third Flat Iron Press.