A horror issue? In winter? Not, perhaps, the season you think of when it comes to frights and ghosties and things that go bump in the night, eh? Then again, perhaps your favorite intergalactic editors forgot to send out the submission call in time, and are now one cycle behind on their theme issues? Hmm, yes. Perhaps perhaps.
But winter is actually the perfect month for horror with a splash of science fiction. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was born during an unseasonably cold volcanic winter (1816’s “Year Without a Summer”), when Shelley was stuck indoors at Lord Byron’s estate and challenged with a story-writing contest. Horror classics The Thing, The Shining, and Jack Frost all emphasize the isolation and oppressive darkness of the season. And who knows what strange, ancient microorganisms are preserved in the Siberian permafrost, where an ill-placed fire (or the slow burn of global climate change) might unleash a pandemic?
Get the picture? If your story plays off the “winter” theme–literally or not–even better. Most of our normal submission stipulations still apply here. Ideally, submissions should be both horror AND have a speculative/sci-fi element–a slasher cutting through skiers with an ice-pick (while fun) won’t cut it.
We will begin reading for our winter issue September 16th, 2018.
What We’re Looking For
- Previously unpublished short fiction that doesn’t lean heavily on genre tropes.
- Hard sci-fi, soft sci-fi, sci-fi that melts in your mouth-brain not your hand-brain.
- Speculative fiction, weird fiction, slipstream, glitterlit, analogpunk.
Basically anything that pleases Scummy, our megaphone-toting slime buddy, will be considered for entry into the interstellar archive aboard Scummy’s saucer.
How to Submit
Include submissions as an .RTF or .DOC attachment sent to PlanetScummSubmissions@gmail.com along with a brief cover letter in the email body. Please attach only your story (no images).
Stories, or collections of flash fiction, should be 1000 – 5000 words in length, and submitted in standard manuscript format. Stories 3,000 words and under are easier for us to accept and place.
Use the subject line “Planet Scumm Submission” followed by your story title.
Submit only one short story or flash collection. We will not accept multiple submissions from the same author in one reading period.
Simultaneous submissions are okay, as long as you promptly withdraw a story accepted elsewhere. Submissions that are too long or short will be rejected immediately, as will those that are incorrectly formatted. In addition, submissions covering the topics below aren’t likely to play well with our slush readers.
Use With Caution
- Zombies, vampires, werewolves, pirates, ninjas
- Lovecraft Mythos
- Fan fiction
- Sword-and-spell fantasy
- Stories that end with “It was all a dream” or “Turns out they were in a simulation”
- Lasers (pew-pew handheld ones, and big blue planet-killers)
- FTL travel
Schedule, Rights and Payment
Accepted authors share half the issue’s profits with each other and the cover artist (minimum of $20).
Issue #5 will be released Fall 2018 as an e-book, audiobook and print magazine. Most accepted stories will also be published on our website. We purchase first world English print and electronic publishing rights for six months and non-exclusive rights thereafter.
Authors will receive their first payment within 3 months of their issue’s release date, and an annual residuals check. Contributors will also receive a free digital copy of the issue.