Nonfiction – We Need It

Out of the submissions we get, probably seventy percent are fiction, twenty five percent are poetry, four percent are art, and one percent are nonfiction.

We really want to publish some nonfiction with this next issue. Articles in science fiction and fantasy magazines are often insightful, interesting, and educational in ways that articles in your standard old literary magazine aren’t. There’s an interesting mix of science, literary criticism, cultural commentary, and wit in many nonfiction articles, and that’s something we’d like to bring to Basement Stories.

This might be a good place to point out that we pay the same rate for nonfiction as we do for fiction – three cents a word.

It occurred to both of us that we might not be getting as many nonfiction submissions because 1. we haven’t made our interest clear and 2. we haven’t made it clear exactly what kind of nonfiction we’re looking for. After all, that’s a pretty broad genre. So, what we’re looking for is:

1. Reviews

In particular, we’re looking for reviews of science fiction and fantasy books. This includes short story anthologies, novels, and relevant nonfiction books.

We’re also interested in looking at reviews for movies or television series, though these might be harder to sell us on.

Reviews should be around five hundred words, unless you’re attempting to review something like an entire book series or television season.

2. Scholarly Work

Well, perhaps not work as scholarly as that being published in peer reviewed journals.  However, both Carol and I find critical discussions of speculative fiction interesting to read and write, and would like to see more of these in our inbox.

Examine why certain tropes are used over and over again in speculative fiction. Or the genesis of the cyberpunk novel. Or the depiction of the military in zombie movies. Or whatever you’d like – just make it interesting.

We’re looking for something like The Fantasy of Talking Back by Elizabeth Hoiem or Revisiting the Fantastic Classics by Susannah Mandel.

Ideally, these works would be somewhere between 500 and 3,000 words.

3. Discussions about Science

Neither of us editors are scientists, or particularly knowledgeable in that area, but we’re interested from a layman’s perspective. Of course, current science has always had a large effect on speculative fiction, and we’d like to continue the tradition of celebrating science as an important part of the stories we write.

These articles, ideally, would be from five hundred to two thousand words.

4. Interviews

We’d love to publish interviews in our next issue. We’re going to try and ask a couple of people for a few, but you might have better interviewing skills than us, or have an in with a well known author, or babysit the kids of a NASA engineer, and want to send us an interview you’ve had with someone.

We’re interested in interviews with editors, authors, scientists, publishers – basically everyone involved in the speculative fiction field.

Of course, don’t limit yourself to these categories – if you’ve read Basement Stories, and you think that we’d like your nonfiction piece, please feel free to send it in. You never know, we might like it.

But hopefully, this will help you get a better feel for what we’re looking for.

What kind of nonfiction do you like to read in speculative fiction magazines?

3 Responses to “Nonfiction – We Need It”
  1. DED says:

    Does that mean you don’t want any fiction for Issue 4?

  2. kaolin fire says:

    Non-fiction can be hard to find. I personally eschew reviews and interviews, and rarely see “discussions of science” that are in-depth enough for my tastes–ones I like tend to fall under “scholarly work”. That’s where my money would prefer to go. 🙂

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