Anthology Opportunities: June 2015

Depositphotos_7200270_originalThere are quite a number of science-fiction and fantasy anthologies looking for submissions right now, so I thought I’d share some of the ones that interest me, in case you might find them useful as well. (Of course, these are all time-sensitive and subject to change.)

Clockwork Phoenix 5

Looking for “stories that sidestep expectations in beautiful and unsettling ways, that surprise with their settings and startle with the ways they cross genre boundaries, that aren’t afraid to experiment with storytelling techniques. But experimentation is not a requirement: the stories in the anthology must be more than gimmicks, and should appeal to genuine emotions, suspense, fear, sorrow, delight, wonder. I will value a story that makes me laugh in its quirky way more than a story that tries to dazzle me with a hollow exercise in wordplay.

“The stories should contain elements of the fantastic, be it science fiction, fantasy, horror or some combination thereof, [but] bring something new and genuine to the equation.”

6 cents/word,  stories under 5,000 words STRONGLY PREFERRED. Submit by July 26, 2015.

Defying Doomsday

Looking for stories of “apocalypse-survival fiction with a focus on disabled characters. (One of) the protagonist(s) must be a character with disability, such as physical impairments, chronic illnesses, mental illnesses and/or neurodiverse characters etc. We will consider stories with characters experiencing all kinds of disability and hope that submitting authors will be creative with the possibilities.”

7 cents/word, 3000-7000 words. Submit by June 30, 2015 to clear the July 1 Australian deadline.

Futuristica Volume 1

“We prize diversity, specifically stories that include multicultural backgrounds or lead characters of atypical ethnic origins. Basically, while we have nothing against heterosexual white American males, we feel they are already adequately represented in science fiction and we want stories about the rest of humanity.

“We are interested in character-oriented fiction.” They stress their desire for women-positive, sex-positive, and science-positive stories.

7 cents/word, 3000-10,000 words. Submit by August 31, 2015.

Hidden Youth: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History

“Your story must be set before 1935 C.E. (NO exceptions), and take place primarily in our world or an alternate historical version of our world. (Travel to other worlds, other dimensions, Fairyland, the afterlife, etc. is fine but should not be the focus.) Your protagonists must be young people (under the age of 18) who were marginalized in their time and place.”

6 cents/word, 2000-8000 words. Submit by July 31, 2015.

SNAFU: Future Warfare

“We want ORIGINAL military-style combat with strong elements of future technology/sci-fi, and we want horror. Give us fear… suspense and tension… we want originality and speculation about future aspects of war. Most of all we want action, action, ACTION! We want something jaw-droppingly amazing.”

4 cents/word AUD (so 3 cents/word USD, per Google), 2000-10,000 words. Submit by August 13, 2015 (or August 12 to be safe again, because Australia).


Header image purchased from and copyright innovari/depositphotos.com.

Webzines: SF/F/H Markets (3 in a Series)

Searching for quality genre webzines for the latest installment in my Webzines series has been a morbid affair, in that the number of deceased zines I found far outweighs the number of healthy, thriving ones. Despite the high mortality rate, I bring you today another crop of markets for your science-fiction/fantasy/horror stories.

As before, I picked a recent short story from each zine to read to get a basic feel for the types of stories they are looking for, and I will share my thoughts on those as well. (I will read more stories before submitting my own, of course.)

You can visit my Links page for a list of all the webzines I have researched so far.

Strange Horizons is looking for science-fiction and fantasy, not horror or stories with twist endings. (See their Guidelines page for full details on what they want and what they don’t want.) They prefer stories of less than 5,000 words and pay 7¢/word, minimum $50.00. Response time is within 90 days.

For Strange Horizons, I read Beneath Impossible Circumstances by Andrea Kneeland. At its core, this story is about a fractured relationship, but there are hints throughout about the futuristic setting where natural anything, including childbirth, is the exception instead of the rule.

Aphelion accepts short and long SF/F/H stories. See the Submissions page for full details. No mention is made of payment, so it’s safe to assume it’s publication only.

I quite enjoyed Second Suicide by Tim Britto, which is about an alien invasion that is derailed when they discover our arts and entertainment. But will music, paintings, and literature be enough to stave off Earth’s destruction?

FLURB is run by science-fiction author Rudy Rucker and has published stories by big-name authors but still seems to accept and work with new authors. FLURB is published bi-annually and there is no information about submissions for the next issue, but I am including it here because I think it is a webzine worth reading and one to check in on regularly to see if submissions open up.

For FLURB, I read Journey to the Center of the Flat Earth by William Highsmith. As you might suspect based on the title, it is a take on Jules Verne’s classic tale, except in this version, the Earth is a cylinder, not a globe. I couldn’t quite envision how this would play out but enjoyed the story nonetheless. The end of the story was… odd, but interesting.

Planet Magazine accepts short SF & F stories and payment is publication only. See the Submissions page for further details.

From Planet Magazine I read Little Brother, by Gryffyd Eamonn Dempsey. I liked the amount of world-building that Gryffyd managed to pack in to this short story, about a fantasy world where aliens have intruded on royal politics. When the King’s son dies, is it a blessing or a curse that the aliens bring him back to life? As the story shows, it depends on who you ask.

A last note: As you might know, I am writing and releasing parts of a rough draft novel each week, about 1,000 words at a time. It has been a great way to get my creative juices flowing and at the same time, get some of my work out there for people to read. To that end, I found a great site called Tuesday Serial which basically exists to collect weekly serial stories like The Only City Left. I appreciate what they are doing and I encourage you to check it out, whether it is to find a story to read or to submit your own.

Galaxy image courtesy of NASA, via Wikimedia Commons. Writing ball image also from Wikimedia Commons.

Webzines: SF/F/H Markets (2 in a Series)

I have been researching SF/F/H webzines again, so today I have four more to share with you. I picked a recent short story from each one to read to get a feel for each webzine (I would of course read more stories before submitting one, to get a deeper sense of what the editors are looking for), and I will share my thoughts on those as well. Click here for my first post in this series, or check out my Links page for quick links to the webzines I have researched.

Abyss & Apex: Magazine of Speculative Fiction accepts a wide range of genres, but make sure to check out the Submissions page for the ones they are not looking for, such as horror. They are looking for short stories up to 10,000 words in length, and especially flash fiction up to 1,500 words. Payment is 5 cents a word up to 1,500 words or $75.00 for longer stories. As of the writing of this post, they are currently overstocked on stories, but their next reading period is open again starting 5/1/12, so now is a perfect time to read through the stories on the site and then have a story ready to submit on May 1st.

The story I read from Abyss & Apex was A Time to Weep by Daniel Huddleston. It is about humans doing business on an alien world, with human and aliens working together in the same office. One of the alien workers has a tragedy in his family that affects his work, and for good or ill, his human boss intervenes to try to help him out. Mr. Huddleston really gets across the future history in the story and the alien beliefs and behaviors in a remarkably short amount of time, so that even though I was dropped into the story with no reference points, I was able to appreciate the central conflict without needing a ton of exposition beforehand.

The Future Fire describes itself as publishing social, political and progressive speculative fiction, and you can see the site for more examples of what they mean by that. 10,000 words is the upper limit of what they are looking for and they pay a flat rate of $35 per story. The next Call for Submissions is for the theme of Outlaw Bodies: “stories about the future of human bodies that break boundaries—legal, societal, [and] biological…,” and the deadline is 5/1/12.
From The Future Fire, I read Bilaadi by S. Ali, which is about a river god who is forced to change with the times. It has environmental and socio-political themes to it, as one would expect given the focus of the webzine, but it was touching and personal at the same time. A snapshot of our modern world as seen through the eyes of an ancient being.

Quantum Muse is interesting in that to submit stories, you have to first sign up to critique stories that other writers have submitted. To cut down on their workload, the editors rely on this method of peer review to weed out stories, with only the top-ranked stories being forwarded to the editors for possible inclusion in the magazine. Interesting. Registration is free although they do ask for your address and phone number. I signed up and there are currently three SF, five fantasy, and six alternative stories to critique. You have to critique three stories for each one story you want to submit. I will have to try this out and let you know how it goes. Note: Flash fiction stories of 1,000 words or less can be submitted without going through the whole process described above. The word limit for longer stories is 8,000 words. Payment appears to be publication only plus the chance that a reader might “tip” you through PayPal. If Quantum Muse itself pays for the story, I am somehow not seeing that on the Submissions page.

From Quantum Muse, I read The Zitzing Man by Harris Tobias, which is a very short story about a great invention that would have worked if only the mundane world hadn’t intruded.

Electric Spec focuses on science fiction, fantasy, and the macabre and accepts stories from 250-7,000 words. Their next reading period ends April 15 for the end of May issue. Payment is a flat $20 per story. Check out the Submissions page for full details.

From Electric Spec, I read Seasonal Fruit by Kathryn Board. It was a fun short story about modern mortals interacting with divine beings. At first I thought it was going to be a clichéd horror story but it took an unexpected and pleasant turn and actually sent me to Wikipedia to look up some background information (the story is self-contained, so you don’t need to do this, but it caught my interest and made me want to research further).

So there you have it, four more cool science-fiction, fantasy, and/or horror webzines to check out, either as a reader, a writer or both. Every time I research these webzines my mind kicks into high gear about stories I can write. Hopefully once I recover from my recent move from Southern to Northern California, I will be able to carve out more writing time!

Final note: I am using a new-to-me website called Readability to help me read stories and articles from the web more easily. I am using it to send stories to my Kindle and Android tablet for easier reading in more comfortable environments. It looks like it works for the iPad and iPhone, too. It is free and I have no stake in it, but I wanted to share because every time I get to read a story on my Kindle in a comfy chair or in bed rather than sitting in front of the computer, I think, “This is so great!”

Until next time, thank you for reading and please let me know what you like about my blog, what you don’t like, what you want to see more of, sites/books/comics I should check out, etc. Thanks again!

Webzines: One in a Series

So far on Lithicbee I have been reviewing webcomics, searching for e-books from some of my favorite authors, waxing philosophical, and sharing pieces of a rough draft end-of-the-world story. With today’s post I am going to add another topic I am interested in finding more information about: webzine/e-zines. Specifically, science-fiction/fantasy/horror webzines. For all the posts in this series, click here.

As an aspiring writer, I really need to see what other writers are doing to get their name and stories out there, so I am going to make a concerted effort to find new (to me) markets and start reading a lot more short fiction. I have to admit, I am not always fond of short fiction. Perhaps as Stephen King speculates, I have fallen out of love with the short story. Well, this is me trying to rekindle the romance. Just as I search for and talk about webcomics on this blog, I am going to do the same with SF/F/Horror (aka speculative fiction) webzines/e-zines. I will add them to my Links page as I go along, in case anyone else might find a list of genre markets useful as well.

I’ll start with OG’s Speculative Fiction. According to the site, “Our goal is to eventually be considered a professional market by Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, which means we need a circulation of at least 1,000 and we need to pay 5 cents a word. In the future we might look to add an editorial, book reviews, and author interviews every month. We want to grow!”

I picked up Issue 34 on Amazon for 99 cents. (I guess I could have gotten it for free as a Prime member, but, c’mon, 99 cents!) It included two stories, an Editor’s Letter, and a poem. While the goal might be to pay 5 cents a word, right now they pay $35 per story for one-time and some reprint rights. Stories should be less than 8,000 words, preferably less than 5,000 words. It looks like they have a new issue every two months.

Schlock! Webzine is a weekly zine that just put out its 46th edition. According to the site, “Schlock! is an exciting new weekly webzine dedicated to short stories, flash fiction, serialised novels and novellas within the genres of science fiction, fantasy and horror. We publish new and old works of pulp sword and sorcery, urban fantasy, dark fantasy and gothic horror. If you want to read quality works of schlock fantasy, science fiction or horror, Schlock! is the webzine for you!”

Shlock! publishes weekly and include several stories in each issue. Payment is publication of your work. You retain all rights to your work and they are currently accepting submissions. There is also a very comprehensive Webzine Links page that I am sure I will be making use of in the coming months.

The Were-Traveler has four volumes a year on a specific theme. From the site: “The Were-Traveler is an online webzine dedicated to really short fiction. When I say really short fiction, I mean REALLY short. Drabbles and micro-fic mostly, with the occasional flash piece or short story (up to 2000 words) thrown in whenever I have time to read longer pieces. What I’m looking for here is speculative fiction. It’s what I write, it’s what I enjoy reading. Fantasy, science fiction, horror and any combination of the three have a good chance of getting published here.” Drabbles are 100-word stories, for those who don’t know. (I didn’t.)

The next call for submissions is for innovative vampire revenge stories, due by April 30th. Payment is publication of your work.

Ray Gun Revival focuses on space opera stories of no more than 4,000 words. It pays $0.01-$0.05 per word up to 4,000 words, to be paid via PayPal. It asks for “First Rights and specifically First Internet Publication, with an option on First Anthology Rights for 18 months.” It also recommends reading the contract that you agree to when you submit “very carefully.” At first this kind of scared me, but it is actually what one should be doing anyway, so at least they make an effort to point it out.

So, there you have it, the first in a series of my research into webzine SF/F/Horror markets. Just checking these zines out and reading the stories on them really gets me wanting to submit stories again. If you know of a zine you think I should check out, please feel free to drop me a line.

A repository for science-fiction/fantasy writing links.

I have been searching on and off for a) science-fiction and fantasy e-books other than those that can be found on Amazon, and b) science-fiction and fantasy writing markets. I have collected many links for both searches; there is no dearth of sites out there. What I have not been able to find is one site that collects all the links in one area. Or if I have, it is usually outdated.

I will use this site to add links and then check on them periodically to make sure that they are still live. If you have suggestions for either area, please share them.

Also, don’t get me wrong about looking for e-books other than Amazon. I love Amazon, it is a great resource, but some of the authors I enjoy reading do not have their books for sale there.

A Brief Search of Markets Reveals…

I ordered the 2012 Writer’s Market the other day, even though I have memories of it being a poor resource for Science Fiction and Fantasy markets. Still, I had not bought one of these books in years because, well, I haven’t been writing that much in years, so I thought I would give it another chance.

Alas, the SF&F section is woefully thin, at 11 entries. This includes Asimov’s Science Fiction and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Now, I don’t know about you, but as an unpublished writer, I would probably not bother with these bigger magazines to start with. Long story short, I found four markets I could try to send a short story to.

This is not to say the 2012 Writer’s Market is not worth the asking price; I still have the how-to articles to browse, and I bought the Deluxe edition, so I can check the online database for more markets, but it is a bit disappointing that so few SF&F markets were included in the book.

I searched on Google for “science fiction ezine” and “science fiction writing markets” and received plenty of good leads, so many that it will take me a while to sift through them all. Now that’s more like it.

Some examples, with the links going straight to their submission area: Lightspeedmagazine.com, Electric Spec, and this nice list of markets (which I have yet to delve into in depth).

I will explore and post about these magazines over time. Bottom line: Do not rely on Writer’s Market to find markets for you, as they do not appear to have tried to publish a very full listing.