**** Please note: Submissions open on 1 January 2019. We will refresh the page with contact details closer to the date. ****
There are plenty of amazing print and online journals out there for ‘character-driven’ fiction, and we encourage you to read them.
SPJ is not one of them, though.
Hence, we are not interested in stories predominantly about the sentiments and subjective experiences of fictional people. We want hard SF that zooms out of the personal and lifts off into the structural, the systemic, the epic. We yearn for carefully crafted philosophical speculation that puzzles over the questions of the future and alternate pasts. And we have a soft spot for stories created as ‘artefacts’ (fictional, ‘in-universe’ non-fiction).
So here are SPJ‘s quests:
– Campbellian hard SF. Reaching back to the roots of classic sci-fi, these rigorous tales take themselves seriously and push the boundaries of our scientific imagination, scaling from the nano to the meta. The cast, if any, is functional and disposable. It’s the sociological, technological and indeed cosmic developments that sweep the reader up in an expanding sense of wonder. (For a contemporary long-form example that received mainstream attention, see the latter two books of Cixin Liu’s Three-Body Problem trilogy.)
– Fictional non-fiction. The purest, most intimate form of world-building. A transcript of the last UN Security Council meeting before an extinction-level event. The dental bills of a cybernetic vampire. Interviews with eyewitnesses of a battle between Martians and archangels. Think ‘World War Z’, not ‘Walking Dead’.
– Speculative philosophy. Extrapolating abstract ideas to examine the implications if they were to manifest. Read The End of History, the Beginning of Hers in Vol. V. Issue 1. for a theological example of just what we mean: what if prayers for supernatural intercession were answered in 1453, but the faithful got more than they had bargained for.
(The first author to have a story published in each of the three categories gets to choose any one member of the extended editorial team and marry them. You’ve been warned.)
Length and formatting
Brevity tends to correlate positively with idea-density. Thus we are looking for stories no longer than 2000 words (but preferably shorter). This might change in the future, though, and we retain a certain degree of flexibility.
.doc, .docx, .odt, .rtf, .txt, anything is fine as long as it’s editable. No PDFs, TIFFs or coffee mug-stained scans, please. Preferably size 12, easy-to-read font.
Please only submit one story at a time – don’t send in a second piece until you’ve heard from us. Simultaneous submissions are okay, but if you place your story elsewhere in the meantime, please kindly let us know.
Please draft your email to serve as a brief(!) informal cover letter, about what you’d like us to know about you, prior publications if relevant to SF, and which sub-genre your story falls into (this is important for our internal workflow).
By submitting your story to us, you agree to grant SPJ exclusive first publishing rights in case of acceptance. We only take previously unpublished works of fiction, for obvious copyright reasons.
If you submit a story and still haven’t heard from us within 3-4 weeks, feel free to prod.
At this point, we’re not open to unsolicited essays or articles. If you have interesting, bemusing or shocking views, though, please do share them in one of the comments sections.
In addition to original fiction, we would like to unearth buried and forgotten treasures written in languages other than English. We are therefore open to receiving translations of short stories that fit within the sub-domains outlined above, provided they haven’t previously been translated into English, or you can give us a very good reason why they should be re-translated.
Where applicable, it is the responsibility of translators to secure permission from the author or copyright-holder. By submitting a translation to us, you imply that you have done so.
We would love to be able to read Sanskrit, Kalaallisut and Bidayuh. Unfortunately, we haven’t gotten around to learning them yet. For that reason, translators are solely responsible for the accuracy of their work. We can only assess the literary qualities of the final English text, which will be judged by the same criteria that apply to original fiction.