Submissions Guidelines

Issue 4 – The Special Space Opera Issue is open to submissions. Submissions will close at Midnight CST on May 15th, 2017.

Issue 4 of The Fantasist will focus on the fantastical in space with space opera novellas. It has always been the goal of The Fantasist to encourage a larger concept of what constitutes Fantasy in publishing. We’ve asked for magic in the future, and works that blur the distinctions between science and magic. In Issue 4, we want you to take us into space and to other planets and remind us that there’s magic there too. Think of the Darkover books and the works of Jack Vance, Stanislaw Lem, Celia S. Friedman, Yoon Ha Lee, or Ann Leckie. Think of comic books like Saga, Ursula K. Le Guin’s planet Winter, Dune, or, let’s be honest, Star Wars and Babylon 5. We believe that fantasy is fantasy first because it feels like fantasy.

Update: We’re receiving a lot of military space science fiction. That’s great. We haven’t made any selections yet, so keep them coming. We expect we’ll choose one, but we also strongly encourage writers to submit work under the following categorizations:

Planetary Romance (Think Dune or The Left Hand of Darkness.)
Mecha (Giant Robots — But, for a sense of where our inclinations lie. If you follow Gainax: FLCL is always a good metric. Think Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann over Neon Genesis Evangelion. In prose, take a look at Peter Tieryas’s United States of Japan. Also, Will is a particular Fan of Martian Successor Nadesico.)
– Stranger things. Not the TV show, but stories to do with space that might not easily categorize. In Issue 4 we aim, as we always do, to expand the definition of fantasy. If you show us something we haven’t seen before, and it fits, you stand a better chance. We do the weird stuff, and are eager to reward gumption.

You may not think of what you’re writing as Fantasy. Don’t worry. That’s what we’re here for. Just send your best work, and trust that, as always, we’ll read with a compassionate eye.

As a special treat, Issue 4 will be guest edited by Haris A. Durrani. Haris debuted with Technologies of the Self, which won the Driftless Contest at Brain Mill Press. He is also a winner of the McSweeney’s Student Short Story Contest. His fiction, memoirs, and essays have appeared in Analog, Lightspeed, Catapult, Buffalo Almanack, The New York Review of Science Fiction, Comparative Islamic Studies, and Media Diversified. He is a J.D. candidate at Columbia Law School and holds an MPhil in History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge. He holds a B.S. in Applied Physics from Columbia University, where he also studied Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies and co-founded The Muslim Protagonist. @hdernity

Issue 4 Submission Guidelines:
Stories Should Be:

1. Stories must be at least 15,000 words and at most 50,000. Work shorter than 15,000 words will be rejected without being read.
2. While this is a space opera issue, we are still a fantasy magazine. Hard and soft science are both welcome, as are innovative scientific ideas but those aren’t likely to be the criteria by which your story is judged.
3. While by no means required, we encourage authors to include an explanation of how their story is fantasy. In fact, we always encourage authors to tell us about their submission and themselves.

The Process
The Fantasist uses email submissions. Please send your novella to
In the email, please include your name, email address, cover letter, story title, word count, genre, and story. Your cover letter should contain your publishing history (if any) and any other relevant information (e.g, if you send us a changeling story and happen to BE the great granddaughter of the Leanansídhe, mention that). All stories should be in standard manuscript format and can be submitted in .DOC, .DOCX, or PDF format. You will earn bonus points with Will if your story is saved at 135% magnification.

No multiple submissions, but simultaneous submissions are fine. Please notify us immediately if your piece is accepted elsewhere.

On reprints: A few people have asked, but we aren’t currently accepting unsolicited reprints. Currently, our priority is choosing material for our first few issues. We feel that it’s important to come out the gate with only new, previously unpublished work. However, our stance on this may change.

If you have questions, concerns or technical issues, please contact us via Our average response time is 6 months, but we occasionally hold submissions for longer. We ask that you don’t send queries until after 3 months have passed. Don’t argue with rejection letters. You’re only wasting time.

We buy first North American serial rights, non-exclusive anthology rights, exclusive electronic rights for 90 days after first publication, and non-exclusive electronic rights after that. Payment is $100, on publication.

We’re a bit of a mom and pop. Actually, more of a pop and pop, and pops’ couple friends. We hope to pay more at some point, but $100 is what’s possible for us at the moment.

We wish this went without saying, but it does not: We aspire to publish excellent fiction across lines of race, income, religion, nationality, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, geography, and culture, and therefore encourage submissions of diverse stories from diverse authors. This includes, but is not limited to, people of color, QUILTBAG folks, women, writers who are working class, elderly, or disabled. We are especially interested in work that displays intersectionality with regard to the above, and we aim to read with a compassionate eye.

Normal fantasy submissions will open again sometime this summer. General submissions are closed for the moment, although Tip Jar Submissions are allowed outside of general submission periods for Patreon supporters at the $5 level. Our regular submissions guidelines are saved below for your convenience.

Submission Guidelines:
Stories Should Be:

1. Well-written. Prose craft matters a lot. And do your dialogue well (we read everything out loud).
2. Ideally 15,000 to 40,000 words, although, in exceptional circumstances, we may consider work that is somewhat shorter or longer.

Stuff we like:

Special note: We are especially seeking more urban fantasy.

We especially like stories set in a well-researched historical setting, set in the present or the future, stories with interaction between magic and science, the Napoleonic Era, Faeries, Dragons (but no dragon tragedy!), and stories not set in Europe. We love apprenticeship narratives/magical education, people coming together, stable romantic partnerships, nuanced friendships, remotely accurate economic and political systems, realistic depictions of power, magic that isn’t explained, highly systematized magic, made up plants, medical stuff combining magic and medicine, tall tales, pastorals, 2nd person, formal weirdness, real languages other than English (bonus points for Russian), constructed languages, intricate worldbuilding, interesting things with real or fictional religion (bonus points for Islamic characters), Speculative CNF, lyric essay, stories that engages with well-known texts, stories that deal with obscure or technical bodies of knowledge, epistemological fiction, epistolary fiction, fantasy inside virtual reality inside science fiction, surrealism, dark fantasy and horror, diagrams, psychology (but do your research), disabled people having sex, fake scholarship (Especially without seeing action in that world), trans and nonbinary characters in historical fantasy, technologically and/or historically accurate seafaring fiction, sex workers, domesticity, stories set in cities about something other than crime, the black-plague as apocalypse, the ridiculous backstabby internecine warfare of the faerie poetry community in Indianapolis, fantasy in small town America, addiction storylines, 12-step programs for magical things, socialism, communism, anarchism, part way into the high flung adventure, the hero buys a nice plot of land and settles down to raise magic sheep. YA is encouraged, but we are not primarily a YA market, and publish for all ages.

Above all, we appreciate EARNESTNESS.

Some questions and thoughts to consider before submitting:
*Who builds the roads?
*If you can’t find room for a second female character, we’re concerned.
*Are you being the person Mr. (Steve) Rogers knew you could be?
*Did you Google it?
*Who are you? What do you want?
*Who is the milkman? What happened inside that house? Why did you set that bush on fire? What did the rainbow squirt tell you? What is the purpose of the goggles?
*Did anyone eat?
*Would the 10th Doctor want to take Rose here?
*Agriculture? Classism.

Basically, we’re open to anything that you’re willing to call fantasy, although faux-medieval fantasy can be a harder sell.