Write for Alien Dimensions
“Set it in space, in the far future, and include some friendly non-humanoid aliens helping to solve a pseudo-scientific problem.”
Cheat sheet: Flat Rate US$10.00 for 3500+ words. Accepting 3500-5,000 words only. Paid by Paypal. Doc file format only (not docx or anything else). Original, never before published fiction only. (Your story may be reproduced in Kindle ebook and Amazon printed formats – KDP’s automatic software scans for previous publications and rejects duplicates.) No simultaneous submissions. For your US$10.00 I’ll get first print rights – print, digital, audio, app or any other format, along with the right to include it, if I choose, in a larger anthology within 12 months. I’ll also feature excerpts on the site, and perhaps in enewsletters. Read below for details. By submitting you are agreeing to these terms. For an example of the downloadable version of a final contract, please click here. If you’ve read Alien Dimensions and just want to try your hand at writing something that I might buy, but aren’t sure where to start, set it in space, in the far future, and include some friendly non-humanoid aliens helping to solve a pseudo-scientific problem. Read the details below for the submissions email.
Guide to deadlines and upcoming vague themes. Note new deadlines! (Deadlines may change without notice)
Issue 11: Alien weather. Submit before 10th July 2017 GMT
Issue 12: Random Aliens. Submit before 10th August 2017 GMT
Issue 13: Alien Halloween. Submit before 10th September 2017 GMT
Issue 14: Alien Time Travel. Submit before 10th October 2017 GMT
Issue 15: Alien Christmas. Submit before 10th November 2017 GMT
No issue will be tied to the theme too strongly, but it helps to give writers a jump off point. If you have a story you haven’t been able to sell anywhere else, and it might fit one of these issues, feel free to submit it for consideration. Also, I’m only looking for three more stories per issue, so submit early and submit often! These dates are just a guide. If I get enough stories weeks before the deadline, then submissions will close early.
NB: You DO NOT need to write an entire story revolving around these themes. It could be as simple as a throwaway line. Here’s a suggestion for the Alien Weather issue:
Alien XYZ thought-viewed the weather news, but then ignored it. It never rained rocks when they said it would. And the last time there was a real danger of plasma bursts from the third moon, he hadn’t even cracked his egg yet. As his AI banked his flitter to follow the spacelanes to Alien YZX’s satellite, the mental datastream suddenly changed. A news update. There’d been a murder! A murder? On Proxibee? Impossible. Unless…perhaps it was one of those humans…
Hi. I’m Neil A. Hogan and I’m the editor of Alien Dimensions. There is just me behind the scenes, so apologies if there is a delay in replying somewhere down the track. I usually do my best to reply within seven days but, you know, that bottle of wine on the weekend, or that short story I’m working on, may push it to eight.
I recently read online that some decades old publications get between 700 and 1000 submissions a month. These publications tend to ask for more contemporary stories, or contemporary style human drama set in a slightly SF environment. While writing something is always hard, encouraging writers to tap into their experience and focus on the beauty of the word, rather than asking them to come up with a completely alien world that blows your mind, really doesn’t appeal to me that much. Sorry about that. That’s why I created Alien Dimensions. The goal is to release stories with mind-numbing ideas, brain expanding concepts, or just to get a reader to say WTF? There isn’t enough hard core science fiction out there, or SF that really makes you think about the universe, so, that’s what I’m looking for – something that at least includes SOME hard science.
Even so, if you can write a decent story, at least touching on some real science, you’ll get my attention. (I’d rather learn it through reading SF than try to get my head around it in a course!)
About Alien Dimensions
Alien Dimensions is a not-for-profit science fiction publication with a focus on independent authors from around the world, open to submissions from anyone, anywhere from any walk of life. (I love humans too!) So, you may find a mix of English grammar and spelling from the UK, Australia and the USA, as well as region specific mother tongue influences on sentence construction and punctuation usage. I don’t/wouldn’t want to destroy some of the subtle flavours / flavors / tastes that someone has/had added to their work so I’ll only change/be changing major/noticeable grammar problems where/if possible. English teachers beware!
I’m always on the lookout for new hard science fiction stories. Please note that in recent years the lines have become blurred as to what fantasy is and what science fiction is, mainly because marketers are promoting science fiction as fantasy, as fantasy sells more. The definition for Alien Dimensions is that science fiction contains real or extrapolated scientific ideas or concepts, and I need more of those. So, I have many fantasy stories ready to go for the rest of the year, but not enough hard core science fiction stories containing real science.
If you’ve written a science fiction story that you’ve had rejected, worked on to improve, sent it to someone else, but then been rejected again and given up on, perhaps you could submit that to me? I might reject it too, but I’m looking for great ideas. If the ideas are great and teaches readers something, but the story just needs a little tweaking, I might be able to help you rewrite it to make it work. (You’ll get the credit, of course!)
If you write in the style of Ken Liu, Greg Bear, Isaac Asimov, Poul Anderson, Clifford D Simak, Arthur C. Clarke, Larry Niven, Stephen Baxter, Piers Anthony or Paul Cornell, and like to research your subject matter before writing, you might have what I’m looking for.
I’ll consider your story and if it is suitable, offer you a flat rate of US$10.00 (ten dollars) for it. Minimum 3500 words. If I suddenly get over 400 sales a month for several months, that will be reviewed, so please tell your friends about Alien Dimensions!
What I’m looking for at this time:
- Main character discovers an interesting, futuristic issue and solves it using science (or convincing pseudoscience, or extrapolated science based on current science) So, no battle-oriented stories. Think intellectual Doctor Who stories where the main character(s) uses his/her/its/their mind to solve a problem, but with perhaps a bit more science based in fact.
- Always set in the future, at least 100 years hence. Happier with 1000 years hence. Let’s avoid 20th/21st century baggage and just tell an original story.
- Always some kind of non-humanoid aliens present, usually friendly.
- Stories featuring no humans are even better! The more alien the world is that you set your story in, the more excited I’ll get. (No cheating. ‘No humans’ doesn’t mean humans who no longer look human because of living on some other planet! A non-human story could be intellectual bacteria, plants with tentacles, a conscious galaxy, or some other not even vaguely humanoid creature / energy being.)
- Always end on a positive note (even if you destroy the entire human race it’ll still be positive for someone!)
- PG 13. No sex, swearing, obvious LGBT themes, unless the entire story will fall apart without it.
- Strictly no derivative works referring to religious texts. Let’s not be too serious.
- All stories must be original. No using copyright characters or established series. No rewriting someone else’s work. I have to use copyscape, and I’ve been reading SF since the 70s, so I’ll probably recognise a rewrite even if you don’t know you’ve done one! Also, as Alien Dimensions will be submitted to Kindle for approval, if Amazon’s AI detects a reprint, it might get blocked from publication.
- Common SF terms. Make up some new ones! For example, please avoid using ‘stargate’ (Stargate) or warp drive (Star Trek), or time vortex (Doctor Who), or ‘the force’ (Star Wars) ‘AI’ and ‘hyperspace’ are okay as they’re common terms throughout all SF.
- While I’m not averse to dystopian futures, please avoid them if at all possible. Alien Dimensions is a predominantly positive series about the future. If you do have a story with a war in it, it should end in peace.
- No ‘time travel to the past’ stories or ‘parallel universe Hitler won the war future Earth’ style stories, unless it’s millions of years in the past or the parallel universe is completely alien.
- Please avoid pop culture references. It is unlikely characters years in the future would know anything about the present. Readers love to become immersed in a story and feel like they are there, watching things unfold. Pop culture references that wouldn’t fit the reality throw them out of their immersion. They also age the story. Best avoided unless the story is set in 2017.
- Dialogue between characters that move the story forward. Set in the now. (A short story doesn’t have time for prologues or too much backstory. Save those for your novels!)
Of course, I would expect a high level of grammar, vocabulary, intelligent dialogue and general creative writing ability.
If you have a story that you think fits the above, and you’re happy for me to use it for US$10, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org as a word.doc (not docx)
If possible, please reformat your story to make it easier for me to read by following William Shunn’s Guide to Proper Manuscript Format (Mainly because I don’t have a submission tracking system yet. And also, well, it means you’re serious. You’ve probably already got that template set up on your computer and use it all the time.)
Of course, I know US$10 isn’t much in some countries, but it is a way to get something back from a story that you might have given up on, and it gets your name out there.
I also have a few regular writers. They get paid a bit more than that. If you can consistently meet the level of writing my core writers work hard to strive towards, and write a story based around a scaffold I’ve set for you, then I’ll be able to pay a bit more. But, of course, at the end of the day, I need to sell 400 copies a month to break even, so please mention Alien Dimensions somewhere if you have a chance.
Anyway, I’d love to start reading your writing.
Looking forward to hearing from you
Neil A. Hogan
Last Updated 12th June 2017.
P.S. Perhaps Alien Dimensions is not for you? No worries! I’m also a writer and know how you feel. I’d love to see your story but I also want you to succeed. The best way to succeed is study the publications of the books you think you’d like to write for, then write specifically for that publication in their style. You could be the next Neil Gaiman or Philip K. Dick, so if you don’t think Alien Dimensions is the right publication for your story, I recommend you check out Aswiebe‘s site. She has an easy to use downloadable list of markets with clickable submission links that might help you find another place for your story. You can also search Ralan for other markets. If you have a spare $5 a month, you could check out Duotrope too.
If you’re just starting out, I also recommend you read the following pages:
Stories We’ve Seen Too Often – From Strange Horizons
Wishing you all the best.