Friday, October 31, 2008

New Market for Multicultural Speculative Fiction

After telling my friend Wayne about the demise of Creative Brother's Sci Fi Magazine and a story I'd wanted to submit there, he suggested Expanded Horizons as an alternate market. I hadn't heard of the online magazine (it's relatively new), so I took a look around and saw that they top out at 6,000 words.

Thinking my 7,500 story could still be a good fit, I decided to query the editor, Dash:

Dear Dash,

I would like to submit to Expanded Horizons, but I am afraid my story, which is approximately 7,500 words in length, might be too high at the top end of your word length. Please let me know if 7,500 is too long a story for Expanded Horizons.

By the way, I can't express how pleased I am that Expanded Horizons exists and the mission it (and you) undertake.


six blocks east of mars

Here is Dash's response:

Hi six blocks east of mars,

As 7,500 words is considerably beyond our word length limit, I would probably not consider it- the story and the author's circumstances would have to promote our mission to an irresistible degree. As I don't know anything about you or the story from this query, it's impossible to make a final call.

Please tell me a little bit about the story, and how your personal background helps us promote the authentic expression of under-represented voices in speculative fiction.

And thank you for the kind words of encouragement about the magazine! Please help support us by telling your friends about us!


Here's my response to his response:

Hi Dash,

Thank you for responding so quickly. Looking more closely at your guidelines, especially the type of stories you want, I'm beginning to think my story may not be a fit for Expanded Horizons. My story is of the post-cyberpunk variety, set in the near-future city-state of Chicago where a council of guilds closely monitors all laws and businesses.

Unsavory activities flourish, benefitting the rich. The poor do have a chance to advance financially and socially, but they find doing so lengthy and difficult. My protagonist is African American and male, like myself, and is owned by his guild. He takes illegal measures (according to the guild) to buy back his freedom, which does not sit well with the council.

Issues of racism and classism, amongst others, are addressed and overlaid with social commentary. Some of my protagonist's experiences are based on my own while living and working in both Chicago and its suburbs.

However, it seems Expanded Horizons seeks to publish affirming stories of the under-represented voices in speculative fiction. My story focuses on how the poor and downtrodden struggle to overcome their opresssion, and can be considered dark and/or pessimistic. I'm not quite sure your magazine wants that type of story.

Regardless of whether or not the story is suitable, I will be sure to mention your magazine to others. It's how I heard about it.

Sincerely, six blocks east of mars

Dash's response:

Hi six blocks east of mars,

This story is probably not a fit for us. While we do not have a hard "rule" against stories directly addressing oppression, we strongly prefer to publish stories with an affirming tone. (Sometimes stories do both, of course.)

Please make sure to check back monthly for our latest issues! And if you have any works which might be a closer match to what we're looking for, please don't hesitate to send them along!

Again, thank you for your interest and support. Please consider donating to us if you continue to like our work- every little bit helps us to grow!

Dash Editor

I encourage all to check out and submit to Expanded Horizons, for a few reasons: it pays $30, accepts previously published stories, and has a unique take on speculative fiction and writers that go well beyond the traditional.

And I will be donating to Expanded Horizons in the near future. They have a link on their website to that new (at least to me) Amazon honor donation system where you can contribute as little as a dollar. Couple that with their mission, and Expanded Horizons could very well become my favorite spec fic magazine.


Kahnee said...

I really enjoyed how you described you story. Great synopsis. and I want to read it, if you need an opinion.

six blocks east of mars said...

Thanks, though I may ask for you to read that other story I critted awhile back. I've changed it significantly, and whenever I finish it, I might submit it to be critted again.