18 Themed Calls for Submission

Written by S. Kalekar | February 1, 2018

These are calls for fiction, nonfiction, poetry and plays. Themes include gothic stories about lost souls and artificial intelligence, generation starships and planning for future generations, steampunk, crime with a difference, the back of the bus (which could mean the top of the social pecking order, or racism), weird Western, darkness and light, mind, body and medicine, war on Christmas, weather, cooking, the centenary of the end of World War I, weird nature, non-traditional gothic, and themes of social justice. Apart from the general calls, there are also calls for writing from disabled people, marginalised people, people of color and women. Many of these pay writers, from token to pro payment. Also see this list for more themed submissions with upcoming deadlines.

Flame Tree Publishing: Lost Souls

Think ghouls, ghosts and wandering spirits, trapped inside abandoned dolls and ancient tombs. They want stories of despair and anguish, rage and redemption for their Gothic Fantasy series. They accept reprints.
Deadline: 11 February 2018
Length: Ideally 2,000-4,000 words (will read slightly outside this range)
Pay: $0.06/word
Details here.

Flame Tree Publishing: Artificial Intelligence

They want Gothic Fantasy stories on Artificial Intelligence: will we be superceded, assimilated, or enslaved by our creations as they too begin to create more capable versions of themselves? Think Androids, robots, AI and networks. They accept reprints.
Deadline: 11 February 2018
Length: Ideally 2,000-4,000 words (will read slightly outside this range)
Pay: $0.06/word
Details here.

Uncanny Magazine: Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction

They want submissions from writers who identify themselves as disabled (see guidelines). The editors do not require stories to explore issues relating to disability, but they do encourage them. They want to see a wide range of disabilities explored across a variety of SF settings and scenarios.
Deadline: 15 February 2018
Length: 750-6,000 words
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here.

Electric Ethenaeum: For Future Generations 

Generation starships establishing new colonies. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault. For this issue, they want SF and fantasy stories that focus on the issues surrounding planning for future generations. They are especially interested in stories featuring new visions/interpretations of generation starships, the care of fragile ecosystems, and dramatic explorations of balancing the rights of future generations versus the needs of the present. They also accept poetry and nonfiction (see guidelines, and query first for nonfiction) on the theme.
Deadline: 15 February 2018
Length: 3,000-10,000 words for prose, up to one page per poem
Pay: £50 for prose, £10 per poem
Details here.

The Fantasist: Authors of Color; Steampunk!

This is a magazine of fantasy novellas, and they have opened a special open reading period to accept work from writers of color. They especially like stories set in a well-researched historical setting, set in the present or the future, stories with interaction between magic and science, the Napoleonic Era, Faeries, Dragons, and stories not set in Europe. See guidelines for more details on editor preferences and aesthetic. They welcome diverse writers. After their Authors of Color issue, the next theme is Steampunk! – that issue will be published in September and the deadline is not yet announced.
Deadline: 28 February 2018
Length: 15,000-40,000 words
Pay: $100 and Royalties
Details here.

ID Press: Crime

They want crime stories for this issue, but with a difference. They suggest one way to do it is by shaking up the tropes and layering the story with a different genre like science fiction, horror, mystery, war or historical. They welcome diverse stories and characters.
Deadline: 28 February 2018
Length: 2,000-5,000 words
Pay: $25
Details here.

Sword & Sonnet: An Anthology of Battle Poets

They want stories on the theme – fantasy, science fiction or horror. Stories must feature a woman or non-binary battle poet as a main character. The editors are looking for lyrical shimmery stories, epic fantasy tales, and gritty poetpunk. Stories could feature secondary, historical or contemporary settings. Translations are accepted.
Deadline: 1 March 2018
Length: Up to 5,000 words; ideally 2,000-5,000 words
Pay: $0.06/word
Details here.

Mizna: The Playing Field – The Politics of Sports

They publish work of relevance to the Arab-American community (writers do not have to be of Arab descent). This themed issue will explore the way the world of sports reflects critical issues affecting our communities – religion, race, gender, class, colonialism/occupation, social justice etc. See guidelines for further details on the theme. They accept poetry, stories, creative essays, flash fiction and other literary interpretations.
Deadline: 28 February 2018
Length: 2,500 words for prose, up to 4 poems
Pay: Honorarium and subscription
Details here.

Litro Magazine: The Back of the Bus

They want short fiction, flash fiction and nonfiction on the theme. “The back of the bus is where the cool, popular kids sit … it’s the top of the social pecking order … but then there’s an older meaning, harking back to segregation … so what will this issue be? You show us.”
Deadline: 1 March 2018
Length: Up to 4,000 words
Pay: Unspecified
Details here.

Hex Gunslinger: A Weird Western Anthology
The editors want speculative, mysterious, and romantic weird western tall tales. Framed as an unearthed secret library years after the civil war, each story should hold the ethos of western expansion beginning in 1803 with the Louisiana Purchase, and ending around the 1850s not necessarily restricted to a North American audience. This anthology is inspired by Preacher (TV) and Jonah Woodson Hex (the comic). They are also accepting a spotlight story, involving a person of color serving as an officer of the law (officially or unofficially) as a central element of the plot.
Deadline: 1 March 2018
Length: 1,000-1,500 words for spotlight stories; 1,000-40,000 words for others
Pay: $0.02-0.03/word for spotlight stories; $0.01/word for others
Details here.

Priestess & Hierophant Press: Darkness and Light

They want fiction and poetry on the theme, in the following areas: speculative, literary, esoteric works, fine artwork and cross-genre work. They lean towards dark and macabre, strange and illuminating, wicked and spectacular. All marginalizations, in work and author, are strongly encouraged. Read the guidelines for the aesthetic, editor preferences, and other details.
Deadline: 1 March 2018
Length: 3-5 poems, 2,000-3,500 words for fiction, up to 1,500 words for flash fiction
Pay: Anthology copy
Details here.

Iota Magazine: Mind, Body and Medicine

For their second print issue, they want to explore the theme of mind, body and medicine through art, literature and culture. They accept short stories, poems, life writing, memoir, travel writing, food writing and more. These forms can be combined, played with, deconstructed and all can be completely fictive – the editors ask for the writing to be bold and original.
Deadline: 1 March 2018
Length: 500-2,000 words for prose, up to 4 poems
Pay: None
Details here.

ChiZine: War on Christmas

This speculative fiction magazine is looking for stories and poems on the theme. They want deranged and demented stories and poems that snap back against all that holiday schmaltz. They lean toward the dark, the speculative (SF, fantasy, horror), the flat-out weird, the humourous. The editors also caution that there will likely be a lot of Santa stories submitted. They urge authors to think more widely, especially outside the white, Judeo-Christian canon. They are open to reprints.
Deadline: 4 March 2018
Length: 500-5,000 words for stories; up to 2 pages for poetry
Pay: CAD0.08/word
Details here.

Mslexia: Weather; Cooking

Twice annually the magazine seeks themed poetry and prose for the Showcase section (previously New Writing). There are two upcoming themes: Weather, and Cooking. They publish writing by women.
Deadline: 5 March for Weather, 4 June for Cooking
Length: Stories of up to 2,200 words, poetry of 40 lines and scripts of 1,000 words
Pay: £25
Details here.

Fundead Publications: Non-traditional Gothic

They want traditional literary gothic stories with a non-traditional spin. The main spin they want to see is non-traditional characters in this genre (they want characters who aren’t straight, white young cis women or straight, white brooding cis men). They do want large houses, brooding main characters or brooding in general if it works well in the story, well-researched literary stories with a pulp gothic feel and dark themes. No modern sci-fi, steampunk, splatter-porn, erotica, trashy-romance or cozy mystery. See guidelines for further specifications and editor preferences.
Deadline: 11 March 2018
Length: 6,000-15,000 words
Pay: $25
Details here.

Arachne Press: An Outbreak of Peace

This anthology seeks fiction and poetry celebrating the centenary of the end of World War I. They would particularly like to include something from each of the countries involved in WWI, not just the victors. It is up to the writers how they respond to the theme, and it doesn’t need to be specific to WWI. They find nothing to celebrate in war, and want a good balance for the book between appropriate commemoration of the dead, relief that it’s over and hope for the future. No erotica, horror, gore, sexist stereotypes, romance or chick-lit. Deaf writers may submit by video in BSL. Blind writers may submit audio files.
Deadline: 31 March 2018
Length: 1,000-2,000 words; poems up to 1,000 words
Pay: Royalties
Details here.

Force of Nature Anthology (working title)

Stories for this anthology should involve nature and the weird at their core, and is open to all fiction genres. The guidelines say, “At an ever-advancing tipping point, humanity persists in its war against the natural world. Running a trail of extinction and cutting down vast swathes of oxygen-producing forests, we breed at an alarming pace, overpopulating a planet we seem hell-bent on reigning in – but at what cost? …There is something inherently weird in our behaviour toward Nature. Two distinct energies, two conscious mentalities, humanity and the natural world find themselves at loggerheads. Can we be held accountable if – as part of nature ourselves – we are driven by the need for survival, the way all species are? And if the answer is no, should we not anticipate that Nature will do the same?”
Deadline: 31 March 2018
Length: 2,500-10,000 words
Pay: $0.07/word up to 7,000 words; $0.05/word for stories longer than 7,000 words
Details here.

SHANTIH Journal: Politics/Social Justice/Human Rights

They accept fiction, flash fiction, nonfiction, drama and poetry that reflects the theme. The work should emphasize the current political moment. They are especially interested in work that reflects America’s moment of national and global crises. They want work ranging from the subtle to the overt, but which expresses the pain and strife caused by the obvious barriers confronting all those who seek personal, communal, national and global peace in an atmosphere that glorifies selfishness, greed, violence, supremacy, and domination of the powerful over the weak. They welcome underrepresented voices.
Deadline: 4 May 2018
Length: 1,000-10,000 words for fiction and nonfiction, up to 1,000 words for flash, up to 7 poems, 20 pages of drama
Pay: Unspecified
Details here.