Submission Guidelines for Alien Dimensions

Write for Alien Dimensions

Write for Alien Dimensions

Thank you for your interest in submitting to Alien Dimensions. Unfortunately, I’ve hit a budget problem and will need to wait until more sales (or more Kindle Unlimited page reads) are generated and then payments are sent from Amazon before I can buy any more stories. Sorry about that. 

I’m expecting to be able to open submissions again in early January 2018 but if the budget suddenly improves, it’ll definitely be before then! No, Alien Dimensions is NOT closed! Just closed to submissions for the moment. Read further for what stories I’m now looking for. I’ve recently updated the information.

While you’re waiting for submissions to open again, please visit the Alien Dimensions Voting Form and let us know your favorite story from 2017. Your response will help me decide which five I should suggest as potential nominees for the Hugo Awards voting form!

In summary: 3500-5000 words only. “Set it in space, in the far future, and include some friendly non-humanoid aliens helping to solve a pseudo-scientific problem.” US$10 flat rate. Scroll down for full details.

Please read some stories from Alien Dimensions to get a feel for what I’m looking for before submitting, and to support the ebook series so that I can buy more stories! If you have Kindle Unlimited, please download all of them – Alien Dimensions Series – and read every page!

Deadlines and vague themes listed after the guidelines

Last updated 12th December 2017

Submission Guidelines From January 2018

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. (NB: I’m taking November and December off from working on Alien Dimensions to continue writing my Stellar Flash series.)

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 SF out there that really makes you think about the universe, so, that’s what I’m looking for – something that at least includes SOME hard science.

(If you’re not sure what hard science fiction is, check out Timelike Infinity by Stephen Baxter or Eon, Eternity, and Legacy by Greg Bear.)

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!) If you write something that is non-anthropomorphic, I’ll be shouting for joy!

Ancient Aliens Guy

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. 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 or non-anthropomorphic aliens.

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 aliens’ 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!)

To Be Or Not To Be?

If you write in the style of Robert A. HeinleinGreg 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!

Things to include:

  • 3,500 to 5000 words
  • Fast-paced
  • At least one great idea
  • 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.
  • Some kind of non-humanoid aliens present, usually friendly
  • More alien worlds, more non-humanoid characters. E.G.: intellectual bacteria, plants with tentacles, a conscious galaxy, or some other not even vaguely humanoid creature / energy being. Do your best to create something non-anthropomorphic
  • End on a positive note
  • PG 13. No sex, swearing, obvious LGBT themes, unless the entire story will fall apart without it
  • Must be original. No using copyright characters or established series. As Alien Dimensions will be submitted to Amazon Kindle for approval, if Amazon’s AI detects something that’s already been published in a different way, Alien Dimensions might get blocked from publication
  • A lot of 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!)
  • Short scenes. Change the location or the situation as quickly as possible. Don’t get stuck in one place for more than a few sentences
  • Doc file, not docx, 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

Things to avoid:

  • Derivative works referring to religious texts. Let’s not be too serious
  • ‘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 five paragraphs of descriptive journey text
  • Stories where people are fighting robot-like aliens, or any kind of war/military stories. If it has some kind of weapon in it, it’s probably not what I’m looking for at the moment.
  • Discovery of a derelict / mysterious object in space. If this is necessary, start the story after they’re already on board/have it on board or they’re in the middle of dealing with the problem.
  • Court room scenes or boxing scenes! Courts have only existed for 800 years in western culture. Don’t expect them to be around in a 1000.
  • Terms like ‘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.
  • Dystopias. Alien Dimensions is a predominantly positive series about the future
  • 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 a section of the story is somehow set in 2018.

Rimmer Red Dwarf Aliens

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 [email protected] 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 submitted before, give it a go!

Humans Star Trek Voyager

Deadlines:

Deadlines may change without notice.

Issue 15: Submissions will open on the 2nd of January 2018. Deadline 10th January 2018. Payments to chosen writers will be sent by 20th January 2018. Issue 15 will be released in February 2018.

Looking forward to reading your writing

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 to 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:

Write a Hard Science-Fiction Story With Space Travel

Stories We’ve Seen Too Often – From Strange Horizons

The Grand List of Overused Science Fiction Cliches

The Five Key Turning Points of All Successful Movie Scripts

Rules for Comma Usage

The 7 Qualities of High Concept Stories

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!

Author Central Amazon

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.