Top 20 places to submit speculative fiction

This month we’re focusing on magazines dedicated to the weird and wonderful world of speculative fiction, i.e. fantasy, science fiction, and more broadly any work that features imaginative, unreal elements. And because prose writers shouldn’t have all the fun, we’ve made sure to include some outlets for speculative-themed poetry.

What’s great about speculative fiction outlets: many pay semi-pro to pro rates and have generous word limits (lots of options for your long-form stories and novellas). What’s not so great: most don’t allow simultaneous submissions.

To be included on our list, magazines needed to have reasonable response times (generally under three months) and charge no submission fees. In ranking, we took into account pay scale, response time and the quality of the publication.

  1. Clarkesworld has won Hugo, World Fantasy, and British Fantasy awards. Send in your sci-fi and fantasy stories of between 1,000 and 16,000 words to be considered for electronic, print and audio publication. They try to respond within two days. If you haven’t heard within two weeks, you can query. They pay 8-10 cents (US) per word.
  2. Fantasy & Science Fiction has been around since 1949 and features work from emerging writers as well as heavy hitters like Stephen King. They publish 6 times per year in print and ebook formats. Send in your flash fiction and stories of up to 25,000 words, and if your work is accepted, they’ll pay 7-12 cents (US) per word. Allow 8 weeks for a response, but they often get back in less than one. Also a plus: they frequently take the time to send personalised rejections, which is the next best thing to an acceptance. They do not accept simultaneous submissions.
  3. Asimov’s Science Fiction – established in 1977 under the editorship of the great man himself, ASF has won pretty much every major award in its category multiple times. As the name implies, they specialise in sci-fi, but also accept the occasional fantasy. They’re looking for poetry and fiction (between 1,000 and 20,000 words) and offer 8-10 cents (US) per word for fiction and $1 per line for poetry. The editors try to come to a decision within 35 days but ask that you allow at least 90 before querying. They do not accept simultaneous submissions.
  4. Strange Horizons is an award-winning magazine that produces weekly digital and audio editions. Submit your stories (up to 10,000 words) and poetry every Monday and Tuesday. They try to respond within two weeks; query after 40 days for fiction and 4 months for poetry. Do not send them simultaneous submissions. They pay 8 cents (US) per word.
  5. Factor Four Magazine publishes flash fiction (up to 1500 words) in quarterly print, ebook and online editions. They do not accept simultaneous submissions and they ask for 3 months to make a decision. The good news is they generally respond in less than one and they pay 8 cents (US) per word.
  6. Uncanny: A Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasythis Hugo and Parsec award-winner accepts stories of 750-6,000 words and poetry. They publish a bi-monthly digital edition and host a monthly podcast featuring selected stories. They pay 8 cents (US) per word for fiction and $30 per poem. They ask for 30 days to respond but often take longer; you can query after 45 days. They are currently closed to submissions and do not accept simultaneous submissions.
  7. Beneath Ceaseless Skies – this Hugo, World Fantasy, and British Fantasy award-winner publishes “literary adventure fantasy” twice a month online and produces audio versions of selected stories. They try to respond with 50 days but don’t always succeed. On the plus side, they pay 6 cents (US) per word, do accept simultaneous submissions and often send personalised rejections.
  8. The Dark Magazine publishes fantasy and horror stories of 2,000-6,000 words in a monthly digital edition. They pay 6 cents (US) per word. The ask for 30 days to make a decision but usually respond in considerably less. No simultaneous submissions.
  9. Apex Magazine accepts sci-fi, fantasy and horror stories of up to 7,500 words and occasionally poetry for specific issues. They publish monthly print and digital editions and professionally produced podcasts of some stories. They pay 6 cents per word for print and 1 cent per word for podcasts. They try to make a decision within 30 days but don’t always succeed, and they don’t accept simultaneous submissions.
  10. Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show publishes an online edition every other month. They accept sci-fi, fantasy and supernatural suspense flash fiction and stories of up to 17,500 words. No simultaneous submissions. They pay 6 cents (US) per word. They ask for 90 days to make a decision and sometimes take longer.
  11. Three-lobed Burning Eye is coming up on its 20-year anniversary. They accept horror, sci-fi and fantasy flash fiction and short stories (up to 7,000 words) for their biannual digital magazine, and they produce audio versions of selected stories in each issue and a print anthology every other year. No simultaneous submissions. Payment is $100 per story and $30 for flash fiction. They ask for 90 days to respond but generally respond in less.
  12. The Arcanist is hosted on Medium and publishes a new work of sci-fi, fantasy or horror flash fiction each Friday. The won’t accept anything over 1,000 words and they pay $50 per piece upon acceptance. They need at least two months to respond and do accept simultaneous submissions.
  13. Metaphorosis is looking for flash fiction and stories of up to 10,000 words with a sci-fi or fantasy setting. They publish online and produce an annual print edition. They pay 1 cent (US) per word. Allow two weeks for a response, although they often respond within one.
  14. Asymmetry accepts all kinds of speculative fiction, as long as it’s under 3,000 words, for weekly publication online. They ask for a month to respond but generally get back within two weeks. They offer a token payment of $5 (US) per story.
  15. MoonPark Review – this relative newcomer is looking for prose poetry and flash fiction (up to 750 words) for their online quarterly. They love speculative fiction but are open to general fiction that’s off the beaten track. They often respond in under a week and are friendly to unpublished writers.
  16. Hypnos accepts sci-fi, fantasy and horror stories from 1,000 to 10,000 words. They produce a print edition twice a year. They aim to respond within 30 days but often get back sooner.
  17. Interzone is the UK’s longest running sci-fi/fantasy magazine and is the winner of Hugo and British Fantasy awards. They’re looking for flash fiction and stories of up to 10,000 words for their bimonthly print edition. They generally respond within 2 months and do not accept simultaneous submissions.
  18. Not One of Us – is interested in exploring “otherness” from every possible fictional angle: horror, sci-fi, fantasy, noir, you name it. They accept poetry of up to 40 lines and fiction of 1,000 to 7,500 words. They put out themed print editions 2 to 3 times per year and pay 1/4 cent per word. They generally respond within 30 days.
  19. Ash Tales specializes in dystopian, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic stories of up to 2,000 words and will also consider standalone chapters of longer work. They publish regularly online and also produce a podcast featuring their favourite stories. They try to respond within two weeks.
  20. 365 Tomorrows has been publishing one story per day on their website since 2005. They’re on the hunt for sci-fi flash of up to 600 words. They aim to respond within 45 days and often get back within a week.
12 September 2018

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