Payment: $10.00 USD

“Set it in space, in the future, and include some friendly non-humanoid aliens.”

Cheat sheet: Flat Rate US$10.00 for 3500+ words. Accepting 3500-5,000 words only. Paid by Paypal. Doc file format only (not docx or anything else). Original, never before published fiction only. (Kindle ebook and Amazon printed formats – KDP’s automatic software scans for previous publications and rejects duplicates.) No simultaneous submissions. For your US$10.00 I’ll get first print rights, along with the right to include it, if I choose, in one annual anthology due out in October. I’ll also feature excerpts on the site, and perhaps in enewsletters.  If it’s utter genius, I might make the story fully available on the site for free. Read below for details. No contracts yet. By submitting you are agreeing to these terms.  If you keep submitting brilliance I might be able to hire you to write something specific for a future issue. (And pay more.) If you’ve read Alien Dimensions and just want to try your hand at writing something that I might buy, but aren’t sure where to start, set it in space in the future, and include some friendly non-humanoid aliens. Read the details for the submissions email.

Submissions for each issue close on the 16th of the previous month.

Submission Guidelines

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 usually do my best to reply within 7 days but, you know, that bottle of wine on the weekend, or that short story I’m working on, may push it to 8.

I recently 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. 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 hard core science fiction out there so, that’s what I’m looking for. I doubt I’ll ever receive 700 a month, so expect a fairly fast turn around with your submission.

To give you an idea of the sort of mind-bending stuff I’m talking about, I’m currently writing a simple story where a million-year-old alien has been tasked with moving the Milky Way Galaxy out of the path of the Andromeda Galaxy, and the pseudoscience he needs to utilise to be able to do it. Let’s see if I can convincingly move a galaxy in under 5000 words!

(If you’re not sure what hard core science fiction is, check out Timelike Infinity by Stephen Baxter or Eon, Eternity, and Legacy by Greg Bear.)

Even so, if you can write a decent story, at least touching on some quantum physics, or any other science for that matter, you’ll get my attention. (I’d rather learn it through reading SF than try to get my head around it in a course!)

I’ve just got around to seeing The Martian. Brilliant stuff. Love most of the science in it, and Matt Damon was great. The Martian is the go-to movie for anyone wanting to get the basics on how to write a contemporary science fiction story.

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. (I love humans too!) So, you’ll 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 / taste 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 science fiction stories. Please note that in recent years the lines have become blurred as to what fantasy is and what science fiction is, mainly because marketers are promoting science fiction as fantasy, as fantasy sells more. The definition for Alien Dimensions is that science fiction contains real or extrapolated scientific ideas or concepts, and I need more of those. So, I have many fantasy stories ready to go for the rest of the year, but not enough hard core science fiction stories containing real science.

If you’ve written a science 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 the credit, of course!)

If you write in the style of Ken Liu, Greg Bear, Isaac Asimov, Poul Anderson, Clifford D Simak, Arthur C. Clarke, Larry Niven, Stephen Baxter, Piers Anthony 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$10.00 (ten dollars) for it. Minimum 3500 words. If I suddenly get over 400 sales a month for several months, that will be reviewed, so tell your friends!

What I’m looking for at this time:

  • Main character discovers an interesting, futuristic issue and solves it using science (or convincing pseudoscience or extrapolated science based on current science) So, no battle-oriented stories. Think intellectual Doctor Who stories where the character uses his/her mind to solve a problem, but with perhaps a bit more science based in fact.
  • Always 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.
  • Always some kind of non-humanoid aliens present, usually friendly.
  • Stories featuring no humans are even better! The more alien the world is that you set your story in, the more excited I’ll get. (No cheating. ‘No humans’ doesn’t mean humans who no longer look human because of living on some other planet! A non-human story could be intellectual bacteria, plants with tentacles, a conscious galaxy, or some other not even vaguely humanoid creature / energy being.)
  • Always end on a positive note (even if you destroy the entire human race it’ll still be positive for someone!)
  • PG 13. No sex, swearing or obvious LGBT themes, unless the entire story will fall apart without it.
  • Hard science. If your character discovers a way to view the structure of a dimensional portal as a tesseract, and then uses mathematical formula translated into sonic harmonics to control it, give the maths! If your character can confirm that the vibration speed for shifting outside of space/time is 330,000 cycles per second, explain in detail how he/she worked it out. (I didn’t do this in one of my stories. Don’t make that mistake!)
  • All stories must be original. No using copyright characters or established series. No rewriting someone else’s work. I have to use copyscape, and I’ve been reading SF since the 70s, so I’ll probably recognise a rewrite even if you don’t know you’ve done one! Also, as Alien Dimensions will be submitted to Kindle for approval, if the auto system detects a reprint, it might get blocked from publication.
  • Common SF terms. Make up some new ones! For example, please avoid using ‘stargate’ (Stargate) or warp drive (Star Trek), or time vortex (Doctor Who), or ‘the force’ (Star Wars) ‘AI’ and ‘hyperspace’ are okay as they’re common terms throughout all SF.
  • While I’m not averse to dystopian futures, please avoid them if at all possible. Alien Dimensions is a predominantly positive series about the future. If you do have a story with a war in it, it should end in peace.
  • No ‘time travel to the past’ stories or ‘parallel universe Hitler won the war future Earth’ style stories, unless it’s millions of years in the past or the parallel universe is completely alien. (I’ll be writing those ones!)
  • Please avoid 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 the story is set in 2017.
  • 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!)

Of course, I would expect a high level of grammar, vocabulary, intelligent dialogue and general creative writing ability.

If you have a story that you think fits the above, and you’re happy for me to use it for US$10, send it to [email protected] as a word.doc (not 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 yet. 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$10 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.

I also have a few regular writers. They get paid a bit more than that. If you can consistently meet the level of writing my core writers work hard to strive towards, and write a story based around a scaffold I’ve set for you, then I’ll be able to pay a bit more. But, of course, at the end of the day, I need to sell 400 copies a month to break even, so please mention Alien Dimensions somewhere if you have a chance.

Anyway, I’d love to start reading your writing.

Looking forward to hearing from you

Neil A Hogan

Last Updated 8th February 2017

Via: Alien Dimensions.

About Stuart Conover

Stuart Conover is a father, husband, published author, blogger, geek, entrepreneur, horror fanatic, and runs a few websites including Horror Tree!