**** Sci Phi Journal is now closed for submissions. Our next window will open in October 2019. ****
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. (See for instance 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). While we maintain a certain degree of flexibility, please note that if your story is significantly over the threshold, we won’t be able to consider it.
.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.
Your submission is welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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, do kindly let us know.
In your email, please include a short bio to accompany your work (quirky or serious are both fine) and indicate the sub-genre your story falls into (this helps 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, do share them in one of the comment 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.
For accepted works, at present we are able to offer the standard semi-pro rate of 3 (Euro) cents per word for original fiction and 1 (Euro) cent per word for translations of fiction from exotic languages. At this point, we regret that we are unable to provide payment for non-fiction.
Payment is made through PayPal. For this to work, authors need a (free) PayPal account.