Fiction submissions are currently open from: June 15 to July 3.
What do we especially want? We are after science-fiction in all it’s gory glory. But particularly interested in:
* Military SF – The blaze of bullets, high-powered armor and alien worlds. Sign me up.
* (Dark) Humour – Being Australian, my humour runs to the dry and dark side. Think the transgressive work of Irvine Welsh and Chuck Palahniuk. Hit me for all you’ve got. There are no limits, and nothing in this world is safe from scathing criticism. And it just so happens to be a biting satire, even better.
* Alien PoVs – It’s all too infrequently that we get to take a little trip inside the head of the alien, seeing the world(s) through their lens and standing in their shoes. The possibilities are endless, and I want to see them all. Don’t ground yourself to a human experience exclusively.
* Grimdark – Far from being a derogatory term, grimdark allows us to peer into the darker side of human nature, the more cynical and bitter side, where everything isn’t peaches and creams and there’s a sense of moral gravity to it.
*Cyberpunk noir – Rain and neon drunked streets, trenchcoats and overcrowded bars, beautiful and cold women, the noir genre has it all. Think Blade Runner and Richard Morgan’s Takeshi Kovacs. But it definitely doesn’t have to be set on earth, or even a planet! But give me a rich, dark tone and I’ll be happy.
* A future set in a Asian city – Science-fiction is about exploring the unexplored, going where no man as gone, and discovering buried mysteries. Which is why I want to see something I haven’t seen very often, and thus I want to be transported to a unique location. Not every future needs to be dominated by the big ol’ USA. But Asia in particular fascinates me. Ian McDonald and Paolo Bacigalupi are excellent examples of this.
* An unapologetic assassin – And I mean, really unapologetic. The kind that actually takes joy in slaughtering or hurting people. If this character can send the chills through me, then I want them. Obviously this would be voice-driven. And it definitely doesn’t have to be limited to assassins, but I do want to see more bandit/killer/thieves/barbarian/warlord protagonists who take pride in their work. I don’t want to just read about goody two-shoes.
* Young-adult – Again, this is another label met with derogatory and snide comments. If sparky vampires and pretentious teenage wastelands come to mind, then you’ve got the wrong idea. Youth is a fantastic period of life to explore and the coming of age story is timeless. Growing up can be tough, but imagine it on a space station? Or on another planet? Or living side-by-side with mammoth insectoid aliens? The Hunger Games, Red Rising, Half a King, Ship Breaker and countless others are genuinely solid books, and I want to see more YA short stories. Just keep in mind there should be a reason for our protagonist for being a young-adult, and that they aren’t that different from adults, they’re just young. I’m a young-adult myself, so that probably has something to do with it. But seriously, young-adult can be just as dark, twisted, powerful, well-written, compelling, and complex as any adult story around. You just need to find the right one.
This certainly isn’t a rule book. You could have all of these things in a single story (good luck with that!) and I could dislike it, or you could have none of these things and I would love it! Just send it my way and I’ll give you my thoughts.
As for what not to send, I’d rather not have a laundry list of “thy shall nots”, but it’s safe to say that if you send over anything in second person, didactic or preachy nature (political or otherwise), zombies, vampires, werewolves, or worse still, lacking a narrative, a point or just a pure “gimmick” (ie, the story is told in the way the text is formatted), don’t expect to get your work accepted.
Length: We’re very lax here. Flash fiction is finicky to handle, but we do except it. But otherwise we’re very liberal. Our longest story, Neighbours by Megan Lindholm/Robin Hobb, was pushing 16,000 words, which is almost a novella. So anything from 500 words to 18000 words (and in some cases, a little beyond that) is permitted. 4k-12k is the sweet spot, but I won’t discriminate. A good story takes the length that it needs.
Mature content: I’m also extremely liberal in this department. Fiction should be free to explore any themes it wishes to, and that means going to some very dark places. We’re not interested in censorship, warning or backing away from anything controversial. There are no levels to the amount of violence, themes, sex, swearing, drugs, or otherwise mature themes in other stories. Nothing should be taboo. We’re all adults here (I hope). But just make sure it has a point, m’kay? This isn’t an erotica podcast, we’re not renaming it Interstellarcourse. Don’t send us bucketloads of gore and blood for shock’s sake, and everyone streaming out a ceaseless string of four-letter words isn’t going to impress me. Everything in moderation!
Reprints: We’re built on reprints. In fact, we don’t accept anything but reprints. There’s no payment involved, so we can’t expect authors to write for the podcast specifically. It also (somewhat) ensures quality, which I’ll get onto in the next section.
Reprints to send: When sending the story, make sure you name the venue it was published at. This does NOT include vanity publications, self-published works, royalty-only, or FTL (for the love/non-paying) venues. I definitely want to see work published at venues that are semi-pro or higher. It’s definitely not limited to this list, but if the venue is here, then you’re good. Basically, if you were paid for the work, or if the venue does pay, then it’s fair game.
Reprints NOT to send: I can’t take anything already adapted into audio publicly. This means that if any of the lovely folk over at any of the Escape Artists (EscapePod, Podcastle, Pseudopod) have picked you up, we can’t use it. The same goes for any other of their kin. If the audio narration is available publicly (this doesn’t include anthologized audiobooks), then it’s a go no. If in doubt, send anyway.
Rights: Being a reprint podcast, we only use nonexclusive audio rights. You are free to do whatever you like with the story, but we must be the first ones to adapt it into audio.
How to send: Send the attached doc/docx file over to jeremyszalsubmissions@
The email subject like should read: “Fiction Submission: (Your Story title here). Include the details, such as word count and the place it was published in the body of the email, along with your bio and other relevant information.
Simultaneous submissions are allowed, as long as it’s not to another podcast. Multiple submissions are also allowed up to five at a time, but send ’em in separate emails.
TL;DR: Send your sci-fi stories to jeremyszalsubmissions@, attached as doc files.Include the venue it was published in and your bio. Sim and multi subs are allowed, but limit them to five at a time. I’ll try to respond within a few days.
Thank you all and good luck! I’m looking forward to checking out your stories! If you have any questions pop me an email or send it through the contact form. And remember that I’m alwayson the look out for more narrators, so if you are a narrator, email me with a few links to your previous work to be considered. Seriously, we always have more stories than narrators, and we need to share the love around.
– Jeremy Szal – Assistant Editor – StarShipSofa
Poetry submissions are open to poetry which (even vaguely) fits into one of the following themes: Robots and Androids, Music, Future Humans, Scifaiku, or Dream. Poems which don’t fit a theme will be considered, but acceptance is unlikely. Sorry! Please consider whether your unpublished poem might be better placed with a paying market. Previously unpublished poems are eligible for the Rhysling Award once published by StarShipSofa, however.
Please cut and paste poems grouped into themes into the body of the poem, include a brief bio, links to website/blog and other publications (if applicable) and include the theme and the words “Poetry Planet submission” into the subject header. For example thus: “Poetry Planet submission for Future Humans”.
Poetry submissions can be sent to Diane Severson.