25 Speculative Fiction Markets that Pay Writers

Written by S. Kalekar | May 21, 2018

In celebration of Short Story Month, here is a list of websites, magazines and journals that publish short speculative fiction. They publish a whole range, including hard to soft and philosophical science fiction, slipstream, space opera, weird fiction, pulp SF, vampire and werewolf stories, fantasy of various shades, and horror. While some of these markets publish only speculative fiction, a few publish other fiction genres as well, as well as nonfiction and poetry. All of these pay writers, from token to pro rates. Not all of these markets are currently open for submissions, but most are, or will be open for submissions soon. Also see this themed submissions list for a few more speculative fiction markets, with deadlines coming up.

The Arcanist
This Medium-based literary magazine focuses on fantasy and sci-fi flash fiction. They love humorous works, horrifying works and timely works. Meta fiction, stories with excessive gore, or those with passive characters are some of the hard sells. They publish weekly and are open for submissions year-round. Stories are up to 1,000 words, and pay is $50. Details here.

James Gunn’s Ad Astra

They want speculative fiction that doesn’t limit itself; from near-reality to the far reaches of what-if. They want stories that actually tell a story, and which require the speculative element to hold it together. They also publish poetry and scholarly articles. They publish two issues annually. Stories are 2,500-5,000 words but they can accept those up to 7,500 words. They also accept poems and scholarly articles. Pay is $50 for fiction. Details here.

Primodal

They want “thoughtful, intelligent stories about alien life that has biology and evolution at its core.” They also want articles and reviews. Stories should be 1,000-16,000 words, and pay is $0.01/word. Details here.

Three-Lobed Burning Eye Magazine

The magazine publishes speculative fiction: horror, fantasy and science fiction. They publish the magazine online twice a year (Spring and Fall) and a print anthology twice a year. They welcome translations. Send stories of 2,000-7,000 (2,000-5,000 preferred), and 500-1,000 for flash fiction. Pay is $100 for short fiction. Details here.

Heroic Fantasy Quarterly

They publish sword and sorcery stories and poems. They have a detailed list of tropes that work for them, and which do not. They accept fiction of up to 10,000 words, and can serialise up to 50,000 words. Pay is $100 for fiction. Keep an eye out for their next reading period. Details here.

Diabolical Plots

They publish science fiction, fantasy and horror and writers are welcome to mix in other genres with these. All stories must have a speculative element. They list the tropes/elements they particularly like, which include weird fiction, sense of wonder, straightforward, easy and readable style as well as philosophical food for thought. Their hard sells include vampire romances. Send up to two stories of 3,500 words or fewer. They pay $0.08/word. Their next reading period will open in July 2018. Details here.

New Myths

They publish speculative fiction of every kind, except graphic horror. They like each issue to have an eclectic variety of stories: funny, frightening, hard and soft sci-fi, adventure, thoughtful. They also publish non-fiction essays, poems and reviews. They accept fiction of up to 10,000 words, and pay 1.5c/word (minimum $30). Their next reading period for fiction will begin in June 2018. Details here.

GigaNotoSarus

They publish one science fiction/fantasy story every month, or stories can be a blend of these. The editors seek a variety of settings, styles, viewpoints and backgrounds, and are particularly interested in #ownvoices stories. They accept work of 5,000-25,000 words, and pay $100. Details here.

Nature Magazine: Futures

This international journal publishes research in all fields of science and technology, as well as news and interpretation of topical and coming trends affecting science, scientists and the wider public. In their Futures section, they publish near-future, hard science fiction stories. The length is 850-950 words and pay is £85. Details here and here.

Grimdark Magazine

Stories should be in a dark, medieval fantasy/science fiction setting. They want morally ambiguous decisions, grey characters and grit. They publish work up to 4,000 words, and reprints up to 6,000 words. Pay is AUD0.07/word (see guidelines for payment methods). Keep a lookout for their next submission period. Details here.

Augur Magazine

They want dreamy realism, literary speculative fiction and all forms of magical realism (they have linked to what magical realism is here) or slipstream. They accept both YA and adult pieces. They publish short and flash fiction. They publish up to 5,000 words and pay CAD20. While they accept international submissions, they prefer work from Canadian, marginalised and indigenous authors. They will open submissions for original fiction in June 2018. Details here.

LampLight

This is a quarterly journal of dark fiction. They want stories that are dark and literary: the creepy, the weird, the unsettling. Look at their guidelines for their preferred aesthetic. They can only get 300 submissions a month through Submittable. If the link reads “There are presently no open calls for submissions,” then they have filled their quota for the month. Writers will be able to submit again on the 1st of the following month. But when the limit is reached on the last month, they will accept no more submissions. They accept work up to 7,000 words, and pay $0.03/word, up to $150. Details here.

Fantasy & Science Fiction

This prestigious magazine wants character-driven science fiction and fantasy stories. The SF element may be slight, but it should be present. Their guidelines say they receive too much fantasy, and not enough SF or humor. They read work up to 25,000 words and pay $0.07-.12/word. Details here.

Shimmer

They publish unusual, beautifully written and unclassifiable speculative fiction stories. These are contemporary fantasy, and sometimes science fiction with full plots and strong characters. They accept stories up to 7,500 words (query for longer), and pay $0.05/word. Details here.

Escape Pod

This is a both text and audio market for science fiction. While they’re quite flexible on what counts as science fiction (occasionally publishing steampunk and superheroes), they do not want fantasy, magic realism, or more than a tinge of horror. Their guidelines say, “If your story isn’t centered on science, technology, future projections, alternate history, and how any or all of these things intersect with people, we’re probably not the right market for it.” They accept stories of 1,500-6,000 words, and pay $0.06/word. Details here. Also see their linked markets’ submission schedules: PodCastle (fantasy), PseudoPod (horror), and Cast of Wonders (young adult).

Cricket Media

Cricket Media, which publishes various literary magazines for children, has several upcoming themes for their publications. Some of these are: Escapes and Rescues, Mysterious Monsters and Make a Splash. Apart from realistic and historical fiction, they also accept works of science fiction and fantasy. They also accept poetry, crafts, activities and nonfiction. For fiction, pay is up to $0.25/word.
Details here.

Hinnom Magazine

They want stories that fit the themes of weird fiction and cosmic horror. Horror, science fiction and fantasy are welcome, as long as they are weird and cosmic. They welcome a combination of genres. They have reading periods every other month, and accept stories of up to 5,000 words. Pay is $30 for flash fiction, $55 for short stories, $45 if the work is republished in an anthology. Details here.

StarShipSofa

This Hugo award-winning podcast wants science fiction, ranging from soft, social science fiction to weird pulp to hard SF and YA adventure. The SF element must be the backbone of the story. They are particularly interested in work that is outside the US/Anglo-sphere and welcome translations. Second person is a tough sell, as are didactic and preachy stories. No fantasy or supernatural horror.
They accept work of 2,000-10,000 words and pay $50; they also accept stories under 2,000 words but these are unpaid. Details here.

Not One of Us

This magazine publishes stories and poems about people or things out of place with their surroundings, outsiders, social misfits, aliens (in the SF sense) – anyone excluded from society. They like stories with strong characterization. Genres include horror, SF, fantasy, noir, slipstream, Western, mainstream. They also accept poetry. The editors prefer stories to be up to 6,000 words, but can accept up to 7,500. Pay is a quarter cent a word for fiction. Details here.

Asimov’s Science Fiction

This prestigious, award-winning science fiction magazine has published work by Ursula LeGuin, George R. R. Martin, Kelly Link and Ken Liu. They also accept poetry. They like character-oriented stories, in which the characters, rather than the science, provide the main interest focus. There is also room for humorous SF, as well as borderline fantasy, slipstream and surreal fiction, but not for sword & sorcery. Pay is $0.08-.10/word for stories up to 7,500 words, and $0.08/word for longer. They seldom buy stories shorter than 1,000 words or longer than 20,000. Details here.

Andromeda Spaceways Magazine

They like to think of themselves as “Australia’s pulpiest SF magazine” and publish science fiction, fantasy and horror stories from around the world. They also publish nonfiction and poetry. Pay is AUD0.01/word, up to AUD100 for fiction. Details here.

Alban Lake: FrostFire

This quarterly magazine for young readers (ages 8-17) publishes science fiction and fantasy stories, nonfiction and poems. Preferences are for adventure stories, space opera, and magic opera. Also preferred are stories that take place on other worlds. Pay is $15 for stories. Details here.

Alban Lake: Bloodbond

They want work related to vampires, shapeshifters and werewolves, and are especially interested in stories that combine science fiction with these topics. They also accept nonfiction and poetry. Pay is $20 for short stories (3,000-8,000 words) and $8 for flash fiction (up to 1,200 words). Details here.

Burbon Penn

They want highly imaginative stories with a healthy dose of the odd. They want “genre/speculative stories and are quite partial to slipstream, cross-genre, magic realism, absurdist and the surreal.” They want fully-drawn characters, mysterious stories, ideas and action. Stories are 2,000-7,500 words and pay is $0.01/word. Details here.

Fireside Magazine

The editors of this wonderful magazine want to publish great storytelling in any genre. The tilt is towards speculative fiction. One of their goals is to pay writers fairly; another is to resist the global rise of fascism and far-right populism. They accept stories up to 4,000 words. Pay is 12.5c/word. Keep a lookout for their next reading period. Details here.