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. 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 or language, 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 contract, please click here (subject to change). 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 – with lots of scene changes! Read the details below for the submissions email. If you haven’t read Alien Dimensions yet, you can read the ‘look inside’ sections on Amazon. Or, if you have Kindle Unlimited, please download them all here – Alien Dimensions Series and read them!
Details below last updated 8th August 2017
Guide to deadlines and upcoming vague themes. Note new deadlines! (Deadlines may change without notice) Due to the sudden increase in submissions, I’ve increased the time it will take for me to get back to you from 7-8 days to 20-30 days. Sorry about that. And many thanks to all the many writers out there that have started submitting.
Submissions for Issue 12 have now closed
Please note that the plan for Issue 13 has changed slightly
Issue 13: Strong Female Alien Lead Fighting Other Aliens to Protect Humans. (Using wit, guile and cunning, but no guns. Still okay for a future Alien Halloween themed story if you’ve already started writing one, just make the lead a female alien!) Submit before 10th September 2017 GMT NB: This is a one year anniversary special so it might be a bit longer. We’ll see! (Issue due out 1st October, maybe earlier)
Issue 14: Alien Time Travel. Submit before 10th October 2017 GMT (Issue due out 1st November, maybe earlier)
Issue 15: Alien Christmas. Submit before 20th October 2017 GMT (Issue due out 20th November, maybe earlier)
Issue 16: Alien New Orbit Celebration! Submit before 10th November 2017 GMT (Issue due out 10th December, maybe earlier)
Publishing break! No emails or submissions will be read or responded to between 10th December 2017 and 5th January 2018. You can still send them!
Issue 17: ProxiBee 2118. Submit before 10th January 2018 GMT Set in the Proxima B Centauri System. Even though ProxiBee is currently considered to be uninhabitable, I’m sure this will be humanity’s first exo-outpost anyway. Find out more about the planet, see if you can find ways to fix its problems and make it habitable using science, or get around the issue, then create a story in, on or around it. Perhaps from a nearby moon, orbiting space station, on the floating remains of a lost civilization further out. We don’t know how many planets the system has. There may be hundreds! See what you can come up with. Find out more about the planet here: ProxiBee. (Issue due out 1st February, maybe earlier) NB: To keep some consistency between the stories, please call the planet ProxiBee, and make sure there are aliens!
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. 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. If accepted, depending on your final story, I might decide it is more suitable for another issue.
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. (During high submission periods, this could be up to a month.)
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.
I also feel that we’ll be in contact with intelligent aliens within 15 years, and this will reshape the future of humanity. As soon as the human race makes contact with aliens, every story ever written that doesn’t contain aliens would seem a bit outdated. It would be like watching Alien Nation or Buffy without seeing a mobile phone.
So, please make sure there are some aliens in your story. Even better if your story is written from the alien’s perspective.
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 Greg Bear, Isaac Asimov, Poul Anderson, Clifford D Simak, Arthur C. Clarke, Larry Niven, Stephen Baxter, Piers Anthony, Cixin Liu 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, maximum 5000 words. If I suddenly get over 400 sales (or 200,000 Kindle Unlimited page views) 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. Avoid 20th century jargon and references where possible.
- 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!
- Please, please, please, no more ‘journey’ stories. If characters need to get from A to B, please invent some sort of science to get them there in seconds. Save journeys for long novels. Short stories should be about focusing on the complicated situations characters find themselves in, and how they are (if they can be) resolved, rather than describing each step they take between A and B. If your characters must change location a lot, use ‘and suddenly, they were there’ to skip 5 paragraphs of descriptive journey text!
- 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 recognize 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. If you love writing dystopian stories, I recommend that you self-publish, or find another publication that will take it. Mainly because, while dystopian stories are the biggest seller in the Science Fiction category on Amazon, and many readers love doomsday scenarios, it’s not the market I’m targeting. There’s not enough positive stories about the future out there and I’d like to make things more balanced.
- No ‘time travel to the past’ stories or ‘parallel universe Hitler won the war future Earth’ style stories, unless your ‘in the past’ story is 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!)
- Lots of scene changes. Change the location or the situation as quickly as possible. Don’t get stuck in one place for more than a few sentences. Think of high-octane, intense, Doctor Who stories!
- It’s okay to use other languages within the text if it is relevant. If you think I might need the font to be able to read it, please zip up the .ttf and attach it with the story. NB: I prefer doc files but if you need to include multiple languages, then docx would be better for that. Read my article on getting Sanskrit into Issue 11 here
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 (preferably not docx, unless you are using multiple languages)
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. If I ever sell more than 400 copies per issue a month, I’ll be able to cover costs and consider increasing that rate.
Happy to read your story if you’re a new writer and you think your writing is as good as, if not better than, the writers that have already written for Alien Dimensions, so if you’ve never written before, give it a go!
I’d love to start reading your writing.
Looking forward to hearing from you
Neil A. Hogan
P.S. Perhaps Alien Dimensions is not for you? Perhaps the contract isn’t what you’re looking for? 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
My current favorite list of Science Fiction Ebook Series you can submit to.
If you’re interested in taking your writing a bit further, and avoiding stories where it is just humans versus aliens, I’d suggest getting your local library or university to get this title in stock: Science Fiction, Alien Encounters, and the Ethics of Posthumanism: Beyond the Golden Rule by Elana Gomel
I also recommend you set up an author page on Amazon before someone takes your name!
Wishing you all the best.
Images on this page have been taken from Instagram and Google Images, and used for illustration and review purposes only. No attempt is made to supersede any copyrights.