Speculate on This! Lit Mags That Publish Speculative Writing
By Rachel Peterson
Why, one may ask, a separate genre for “speculation”? Doesn't all good writing, fiction or otherwise, speculate, arise from the imagination?
"Speculative fiction" as a genre implies Sci-fi, Fantasy & Horror all smooshed together. Because the genre itself pushes the traditional limits of genre, don't be afraid to submit something strange. But strange just for the sake of strange is not likely to be published, as you'll see from these guidelines and statements below. The best examples of speculative fiction exaggerate the bizarre and unusual in order to get a something truthful about human experience.
If you have a speculative story, here are some markets for you, with information taken from the journals' websites.
Abyss & Apex. Our mission is to publish the finest in speculative and imaginative fiction and poetry, with special attention to character-driven stories that examine the depths and heights of emotion and motivation from a broad variety of cultural and social perspectives. A&A wants to publish powerful stories with emotions that resonate in our minds and hearts long after a first reading, stories that make us want to read them again and again. We look for the unique: stories that stand out in a genre that pushes the envelope of unusual. We take special delight in detailed world-building, and have no subgenre boundaries: we like slipstream, YA, hypertext fiction, dark fantasy, science fiction puzzle stories, magical realism, hard science fiction, soft science fiction, science fantasy, sword and sorcery, urban fantasy, military science fiction, ghost stories, space opera, cyberpunk, steampunk . . . there is very little we will not look at, although we have a severe allergy to elves, retold fairy tales, sports, westerns, vampires, and gratuitous sex and violence.
Ad Astra. James Gunn’s Ad Astra combines the best parts of creative magazines and scholarly journals and brings them to Web. This site will showcase the imaginations of creators and fans, and will show the research and study of scholars inspired by speculative fiction....We are currently accepting stories, poems, articles and reviews for our next full issue, to be published in Winter 2013. Make your submission before November 15, 2013 to be considered for the Winter 2013 Full Issue. Submissions will remain open on an ongoing basis, however, and Ad Astra hopes to begin publishing regularly between full issues. Our ability to do this will depend on the availability of submissions so send us your work!
BULL SPEC was founded in November 2009, and published its first issue in March 2010. While the goalposts move a bit, I’m trying to be a strong voice for Triangle- and North Carolina-area speculative fiction...What we’re looking for: amazing speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, slipstream, etc.) of any subgenre. What we’d like to see more of: (1) near or further future science fiction with a more optimistic voice and picture of our shared future; (2) well-written non-contemporary fantasy. Note: We’re unlikely to like your story if it has significant amounts of graphic violence or sex, if it’s gratuitous. For poetry submissions, see guidelines.
Electric Velocipede. We want to see something different. We want to see something unusual. We want to see stories that are a little weird. If you’ve read the zine, you know what that means. If you recognize the names of the people in the zine, you’ll probably have an idea of what we want. Science fiction is fine; we just don’t care for hardcore nuts and bolts. Fantasy is fine; we’re just not all that comfortable with elves, dwarves, unicorns, etc. Cross-genre is more than fine, and weird is just about perfect.Things published in Electric Velocipede tend to ride the slippery middle between genre and literary. Too literary for genre magazines, too genre for lit magazines. Just right for us.
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, founded in 1949, is the award-winning SF magazine which is the original publisher of SF classics like Stephen King's Dark Tower, Daniel Keyes's Flowers for Algernon, and Walter M. Miller's A Canticle for Leibowitz. Each double-sized bimonthly issue offers: compelling short fiction by writers such as Ray Bradbury, Ursula K. Le Guin, Terry Bisson and many others; the science fiction field's most respected and outspoken opinions on Books, Films and Science; humor from our cartoonists and writers. We have no formula for fiction. We are looking for stories that will appeal to science fiction and fantasy readers. The SF element may be slight, but it should be present. We prefer character-oriented stories.
Femspec, a peer-reviewed journal, is interested in developing a community of like-minded people engaged in speculating, theorizing, creating and questioning gender across the boundaries, including issues of sexual orientation. We emphasize interdisciplinary approaches, and encourage work on teaching as well as literary, cultural criticism and creative material. We hope an approach to pedagogy will bring in work from a wider area of disciplines. We are interested in a variety of feminisms aim to be inclusive of ethnic and cultural diversity in an internationalist perspective. We are committed to publishing experimental feminist prose and poetic works which experiment across media. Our impetus came from the collectively perceived lack of attention to SF, fantasy, magical realism and supernatural works in feminist journals and audiences; the lack of consistently evolving developed levels of feminism in SF criticism; and the inadequacy of magical realism publishing outlets in the U.S. You must be a subscriber to submit. Works accepted include: critical essays, poetry, art, memoirs, drama or fiction, and book reviews.
Ideomancer publishes speculative fiction and poetry that explores the edges of ideas; stories that subvert, refute and push the limits. We want unique pieces from authors willing to explore non-traditional narratives and take chances with tone, structure and execution, balance ideas and character, emotion and ruthlessness. We also have an eye for more traditional tales told with excellence.
InterGalactic Medicine Show. We are a bi-monthly publication featuring content from both established as well as talented new authors. In addition to our bi-monthly issues, we offer weekly columns and reviews on books, movies, video games and writing advice. We are looking for stories of any length in the genres of science fiction and fantasy. "Science fiction" includes hard sf, sf adventure, alternate history, near-future, far-future, psi, alien, and any other kind of sf you can think of. "Fantasy" includes heroic fantasy (based on any culture's mythology), fairy tales, contemporary fantasy, and "horror" in the sense of supernatural suspense (not gory bloodfests, thanks). Within these genres, we like to see well-developed milieus and believable, engaging characters. We also look for clear, unaffected writing. Asimov, Niven, Tolkien, Yolen, and Hobb are more likely to be our literary exemplars than James Joyce.
International Speculative Fiction (“ISF”) is an e-zine with free online distribution every 3 months featuring Speculative Fiction of International authors, especially non-anglophone. ISF will publish 3 to 4 short stories per number, as well as one article and one interview! Also, we will try publish, if possible, a short story and an article every two weeks on the site! We are also aiming to publish a series of articles about the Speculative Fiction scene in various country’s. Our first article is called “Science Fiction in Portugal – The Drawing up of a Territory” by Teresa Sousa de Almeida. The above mentioned article presents the Portuguese Science Fiction production in the last two decades of the 20th century! We will consider fiction from authors of any nationality, although we will give preference to non-anglophone writers. We are looking for International Speculative Fiction submissions. Pieces of fiction of various genres such as Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror and many other sub-genres. We are looking exclusively for articles about any kind of International Speculative Fiction.
Murky Depths's a short story print anthology that also includes interviews, reviews and articles. It's heavily illustrated and not only features prose short stories but also comics. Submissions for Murky Depths are now CLOSED until further notice. However, we will be looking for stories (and poems) of: dark speculative fiction in the future. This should lean towards science fiction (not so much pure science or space opera), urban fantasy (fantastic as opposed to sword and sorcery), horror (less gore, more fear), or any combination, that stands out from the norm, alternative histories, and we particularly like sci-fi crime. We don't want: sword and sorcery, straightforward vampire or werewolf stories, magic without the science, a story that uses already commercially established characters, or space opera without darkness.
Mythic Delirium. A new version of Mythic Delirium will launch in July that will exist in web and e-book form, that will publish fiction as well as some poetry...It will follow the models established by Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, et. al., though in a more modest form. It will be published as quarterly e-books that contain three stories and six poems, and also published online at the soon-to-be-renovated mythicdelirium.com website at a rate of one story and two poems per month. Fiction-wise, the first two issues are already filled, with stories by Marie Brennan, Georgina Bruce, Ken Liu, Alexandra Seidel, David Sklar and Patty Templeton. Poem-wise, the first issue is full and the second is filling, with work by Liz Bourke, C.S.E. Cooney, Amal El-Mohtar, Karthika Nair, Virginia M. Mohlere, S. Brackett Robertson, Sonya Taaffe, and more to come.
Sybil’s Garage. Senses Five Press publishes fine speculative literature, including Sybil’s Garage and Paper Cities, An Anthology of Urban Fantasy. Stories and poems in Sybil’s Garage have been selected for or received honorable mentions in several Year’s Best anthologies, have been nominated for Rhysling and Sir Julius Vogel Awards, and consistently receives high praise for its unique blend of fiction, poetry, and visual aesthetics. Paper Cities, An Anthology of Urban Fantasy, ed. Ekaterina Sedia, won the 2009 World Fantasy Award for Best Anthology. SG publishes Speculative fiction, encounters with the weird, angry tirades, and surreal artwork from the reptilian brain.
SQ Magazine. We are a quality speculative fiction ezine. We strive to publish five or six stories (excluding serial entries) every two months. We also aim to publish each of the following genres in each edition: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror (not common motifs like vampires or zombies as a rule, and we are predisposed toward subtle dark stories, those that are powerful and unique) We are a magazine for mature readers, so we do publish language, sex and violence, but they have to be highly pertinent to the story. We are an international publication, and strive to publish authors from varied nationalities. We do not publish fan fiction or stories that are derivative from work already published, in any media and format. We do not accept simultaneous or multiple submissions. We will not publish fiction that has already been published (reprints) - on occasion we will solicit reprints. Flash fiction to short story in size (less than 7,500 words) are accepted. Because our 2013 and 2014 serial slot is filled, we do not accept longer works at this time. Work slightly over 7,500 words can be accepted, but it has to be very good indeed.
Strange Horizons is a magazine of and about speculative fiction and related nonfiction. Speculative fiction includes science fiction, fantasy, horror, slipstream, and all other flavors of fantastika. Work published in Strange Horizons has been shortlisted for or won Hugo, Nebula, Rhysling, Theodore Sturgeon, James Tiptree Jr., and World Fantasy Awards. Strange Horizons publishes fiction, poetry, reviews, essays and interviews. New issues appear weekly, on Mondays, but our blog is updated throughout the week. Speculative fiction has a vibrant and radical tradition of stories that can make us think, can critique society, can offer alternatives to reality. Speculative fiction stories help us to understand our past and imagine our future. They show us how it could be otherwise, for better or worse. In the twenty-first century, speculative fiction must be a global, inclusive tradition. We aim to showcase work that challenges us and delights us, by new and established writers from diverse backgrounds and with diverse concerns.
Waylines is a bi-monthly speculative fiction magazine of science-fiction, fantasy, and horror. Our goal is to capture the "bang" in speculative fiction - that mindbending, wow factor. So we aren't limiting ourselves to a specific style of story or even media format. In every issue we publish three stories PLUS stream three short speculative films. The Web Version of each issue comes out on the first of every January, March, May, July, September, and November. The Digital Download version (for your digital reader) then comes out with extra content (such as extended interviews, a film review section and more) at the end of those months. Prepare to be blown away.
Here's a handy list of speculative fiction markets that shows how much each one pays: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~mslee/mag.html
Also if you publish in this genre, consider signing up or just visiting the website for Locus Magazine. It's like the Poets & Writers for sci-fi, fantasy, & horror writers: http://www.locusmag.com/Magazine/
Born in Bloody Harlan, Kentucky, Rachel teaches college near Springfield, Ohio. Her academic adventures have led to an MFA in Poetry and MA in Religion. She also has had the good fortune to travel widely and participate in service work both in the US and abroad. A poem from manuscript is featured in Literary Imagination. More poems can be found in Arsenic Lobster, Midwestern Gothic, and The Los Angeles Review. “Elegy of the Gun,” published by LAR, was just nominated for Best New Poets.