Taking Submissions: Life Beyond Us (Early Listing)

Submission window: July 1st – August 20th, 2021
Payment: 8 cents per word
Theme: Astrobiology, alien life, life detection and its social impacts
Note: There are only two open slots so competition will be rough!

What are we looking for?

What would life be like if it evolved in a cold ocean beneath an impenetrable shell of ice? Or on a world obscured by haze, with no view of the universe beyond? Is there a common template for life, or can we expect to find preciously fragile silicon creatures drifting in seas of liquid nitrogen? How would finding alien life change human societies on Earth?

Life Beyond Us explores worlds beyond—and within—ours, with the aim to publish brilliant SF and promote science understanding and critical thinking. The book is connected by the theme of astrobiology: searching for life wherever it might arise in the universe.

We’re looking for original short stories exploring the unknown: life forms we’re not familiar with on Earth (from extreme environments, to those right beneath our noses) and beyond our planet; strange life’s discovery, peculiarities, and the ethical questions arising from these. Alien life does not have to feature there; consider exploring the implications of finding a potentially life-bearing environment in space, trying to answer a burning question about habitability, or exploring the far past or future of life in the universe. If alien life does appear—microbial to huge, ‘stupid’ to ‘intelligent,’ perceptions similar to ours or very different—the perspective doesn’t have to be human.

We love a well-written brainy piece as well as a clever space adventure, experimental as well as classic styles, action-focused pieces or deep character dives. We welcome submissions from writers of all backgrounds, life stages, nationalities, and phases of their career, and we encourage submissions by underrepresented communities. We certainly welcome translations.

Hard sells would be stories with overt fantasy elements (we love fantasy, but it doesn’t fit in the scope of this anthology; however, clever SF horror without supernatural elements is welcome), erotica, gore, overt violence, or copies of aliens from other SF. Life Beyond Us already contains stories tackling planetary protection, life on Titan and carbon planets, stellar-based life, the deep hot biosphere, exoplanet detection and SETI, so these would be harder sells as well, unless the story is very innovative and different from the already-included pieces.

There are at least two slots open in the anthology to join the following authors: Eugen Bacon, Stephen Baxter, Gregory Benford, Renan Bernardo, Jana Bianchi, Tobias S. Buckell, Eric Choi, Julie E. Czerneda, Tessa Fisher, Simone Heller, Valentin Ivanov, Mary Robinette Kowal, Lisa Jenny Krieg (SF in translation), Geoffrey A. Landis, Rich Larson, Lucie Lukačovičová, Premee Mohamed, G. David Nordley, Malka Older, Deji Bryce Olukotun, Tomáš Petrásek, Arula Ratnakar, DA Xiaolin Spires, Bogi Takács, Peter Watts, and Liu Yang (SF in translation). The anthology will be edited by Julie Nováková, Lucas K. Law, and Susan Forest. The publisher is Laksa Media.

All stories in Life Beyond Us will be accompanied by science essays; however, these will be written by European Astrobiology Institute scientists. You are welcome to add a note suggesting what the essay should explore, but we are not guaranteed to use it.

Submission Guidelines

Please read the guidelines below before submitting. They are also available here.

Submissions window: 8 a.m. UTC July 1, 2021 – 8 a.m. UTC August 20, 2021

Anonymous Submissions: All entries need to be previously unpublished, anonymized (to avoid any potential biases, we’re using blind submissions), conforming to the length requirements, and formatted close to the modern standard manuscript format. Do not include your name, address, email address, or other similar identifiers anywhere in the manuscript. All submissions will be read anonymously on first read and will move out of slush depending on their merits. Please make sure the title is on the manuscript and page header.

Simultaneous and Multiple Submissions: No simultaneous or multiple submissions. If your story is rejected during the submissions window, you may submit another one, but we will not likely consider most submissions until after the end of the window.

Length: 1,000 – 5,000 words (firm; please don’t query about shorter/longer works)

Payment: $0.08 USD/word. Payment will be on acceptance of final edited copy. Contract will be between EAI and the authors.

Note on translations: Translated stories that have never before appeared anywhere in English are welcome. For translated stories, a rate of $0.08 USD/word for the author and $0.08 USD/word for the translator applies; this is based on the English language version of the text. If you are a translator submitting someone else’s story that you’ve translated, you are allowed to submit one of yours as a writer as well. No more than one translation + one own story.

Rights: First world rights for anthology in the English-language and non-exclusive world rights for anthology in foreign language translation. Exclusive rights prior to English-language publication and for a period of one year after the publication and non-exclusive rights for the anthology thereafter where the contributors are free to resell. Exception to the exclusive rights is when the story is accepted for a “best of the year” anthology.

Publication Date: September 2022

Please note: No submissions sent via e-mail or via any platform other than through our Moksha online submisson system will be considered.

How to submit:

  • Go to our Moksha online submission page.
  • Fill in your name, contact information, etc. and (optionally) a cover letter. For translated stories, please tell us the names of author and translator (in the cover letter), and what language the story is translated from. Attach your anonymized manuscript in .doc, .docx, or .rtf and something close to the modern standard manuscript format. (We’re not sticklers for formalities and won’t reject you for line spacing of 1.5 instead of 2, but you should make at least some effort to resemble the standard format. Our inability to read a badly-formatted story could result in rejection, and our difficulty reading a story we have to re-format ourselves in order to read it is likely to irritate us. You don’t want that. Please use preferably American spelling, single space between sentences, and double quotation marks for dialogue.)
  • You should receive a confirmation on the Moksha website and via e-mail that your submission has been successfully uploaded.
  • Once we’ve finished reading and considering all submitted manuscripts, you’ll receive an e-mail response via Moksha. We expect to finish considering all submissions by the end of September, 2021, but if we receive many more than expected, there might be delays. Please remain patient and don’t query until October 15, 2021.
  • Form rejection will be used for stories not accepted for publication. No feedback will be given; sorry, time constraints.
  • If in doubt, don’t self reject. Send us your story.


If you have any questions not answered above, or if you have any trouble using our online submission system, please query via [email protected]. Please do not email your submissions to this address. All submissions must be submitted through our Mosha online submission system.

We look forward to reading your stories!

Via: Life Beyond Us’s Kickstarter.

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