Closed: Primordial Magazine
No longer an ongoing market.
Payment: 1¢ per word, rounded up to the nearest $5
WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR:
Thoughtful, intelligent stories about alien life that has biology and evolution at its core.
- Plausible first contact stories.
- Communications difficulties with aliens.
- Fatal misunderstandings between species.
- Unfathomable aliens.
- Awe-inspiring alien worlds and ecosystems.
- Creative alien designs extrapolating on biology and evolution.
- Conflict and harmony between species.
- Creative reproductive systems and life cycles that cause problems for the people who encounter them.
- Invasion/infestation stories.
- Intelligent alien body horror.
- Sensual human-alien erotica.
To be able to create plausible aliens you have to have a basic understanding of biology and evolution, so that you can extrapolate to life on other worlds. But at the same time, a story should be entertaining. We don’t just want a worldbuilding infodump. There has to be a beating heart of storytelling. We are looking for memorable, sympathetic characters having amazing adventures and encounters with exotic, yet believable, extraterrestrial lifeforms.
WHAT WE’RE NOT LOOKING FOR:
Humans with funny noses and bumpy foreheads. Most aliens depicted on screen are merely actors with a bit of latex slapped onto their faces. The reason for that is twofold: First, it’s far easier to put some makeup on an actor than it is to make complex animatronic or CGI creations. Second, the general audience can relate to the aliens if they are humanoid. But we want to see sympathetic, relatable humans interacting with the unknown, unrelatable and unfathomable.
We’re certainly not looking for grey or reptilian aliens anal-probing farmers and dissecting cows. And we don’t want aliens to be merely a science fiction backdrop for a retelling of a World War 2 or Wild West story. The aliens themselves, and the interactions with them, should be the throbbing heart of the story.
EXAMPLE ALIENS WE LIKE:
The non-linear speaking heptapods of “Arrival.” The unfathomable planet-covering “Solaris.” The shape-shifting organism from “The Thing.” The bioraptor from “Pitch Black.” The silicon Horta from Star Trek Original Series’ “The Devil in the Dark.” The space-dwelling organism from Star Trek The Next Generation’s “Galaxy’s Child.” The bugs from “Starship Troopers.” The tiny neutron-star-dwelling Cheela from Robert L. Forward’s “Dragon’s Egg.” The creatures on Darwin IV from Wayne Douglas Barlowe’s “Expedition.” H. P. Lovecraft’s Old Ones. The giant creatures from Stephen King’s “The Mist.” The Kaiju from “Pacific Rim.” The NTIs from “The Abyss.” The giant worms from “Dune.”
EXAMPLE ALIENS WE DON’T MIND:
Xenomorphs are humanoid, but it is somewhat explained why. Predators are very humanoid but their faces and vision are creepy enough to make up for it. The prawns from District 9 are just human/crustacean hybrids but they are alien enough in looks and communication. The Moties from “The Mote in God’s Eye” by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle are just bilaterally asymmetric humanoids, but they are really well written with very alien biology and mental processes. Species 8472 from Star Trek Voyager are modified human form but are an honest attempt to make something different.
EXAMPLE ALIENS WE DON’T LIKE:
Vulcans, Klingons, Minbari, Narn, Dracs, Tenctonese, etc.
We acquire first world electronic rights. Pay is 1¢ per word, rounded up to the nearest $5, paid through PayPal within 30 days of publication.
Word count should be 1,000 to 16,000 words.
Send your stories as rtf, doc, or docx files in Standard Manuscript Format to :
No simultaneous or multiple submissions. We will try to get back to you as soon as possible, but query after a month if no reply.
Via: Primordial Magazine.
- About the Author
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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!