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Where to Read & Submit Hopeful SFF

October 21, 2022 by in On Writing

Solar Flare anthology art by Justin Adams

I’ve always been a bit of a contrarian. So this fall, as everyone leans into spooky/scary vibes of Halloween, I’m looking in the opposite direction, casting about for places to read and submit speculative short stories that offer joy, hope and lightness.

So many SFF publications specialize in dark fantasy and science fiction right now, but exceptions that move in the opposite direction are out there, especially some exciting new homes for solarpunk. Please message me if there are any others you know of that I’ve missed so I can add them to this list:

Solar Flare anthology from Zombies Need Brains

Genre: Speculative

Status: Open to submissions until Jan. 1, 2023

Length: Up to 7,500 words

Pay: 8 cents a word

In Their Own Words: “Imagine a Solarpunk future where societies value cooperation over consumerism, where technology solves ecological challenges rather than creating them. SOLAR FLARE will envision a future where humanity has embraced the Earth and learned to co-exist with it, not simply on it, where sustainability is a way of life, not merely a catch phrase. Join us as these stellar authors share their visions of a hopeful tomorrow.”

Solar Punk Creatures anthology from World Weaver Press

Genre: Speculative

Status: Open Oct. 1-31, 2022

Length: up to 7,000 words

Pay: 3 cents a word

In Their Words: “To imagine and build better futures, we’re championing a new wave of inclusive storytelling that centers nonhuman characters and positive multispecies interactions. … Because this is a solarpunk anthology, stories that acknowledge the realities of climate change and address those challenges through uplifting possibilities will have the best chance. … We’re looking for work that acknowledges humans as one species in a larger ecosystem, for human characters who strive for cooperation with (rather than dominance over) other creatures, for settings that reflect a sustainable balance of nature and technology.”

Escape Pod

Genre: Science Fiction

Status: Open to Submissions

Length: 1,500 to 6,000 words

Pay: 8 cents a word

In their Own Words: “Escape Pod leans in the direction of escapism, hopepunk and optimism rather than grimdark and gloom. We love to see funny stories, which can include dark humor that doesn’t punch down, and satire that isn’t painfully bleak. Remember that the failure mode of irony is sincerity, so if you’re mocking something, be sure you’re hitting the right target.”

Utopia Science Fiction

Genre: Science Fiction

Status: Open to Submissions. October theme is “Otherworldly. Stories of first contact, dreamscapes, phantasms,” although stories on any topic are accepted.   

Length: 5,000 words or less preferred, query for longer

Pay: 4 cents a word

In Their Own Words: “We want enthralling stories set in futures we might want to live in. Counter to the recent dystopian craze, we publish stories that shine with a more optimistic future, one we want to believe in, one we would fight for.”

Solarpunk Magazine

Genre: Speculative

Status: Monthly Micro Fiction Contest is Open Oct. 21-27, 2022. Short Story Submissions Closed, next window Jan 1-14, 2023

Length: Short stories between 1,500 and 7,500 words. Micro Fiction 250 words or less.

Pay: 8 cents a word

In Their Own Words: “The time has never been more urgent for an explosion of utopian stories to light a path forward out of the darkness into which humanity has dug itself.  We need more fiction and poetry about amazing technological advancements of the future that work in harmony with nature. We need stories about sustainable communities that thrive on cooperation and mutual aid rather than competition and profit. We need to build utopias with pen and page where capitalism and its social ills such as white supremacy, patriarchy, and massive wealth disparity are things of the past.”

Translunar Travelers Lounge

Genre: Science Fiction and Fantasy

Status: Currently closed, opens March 15-21, 2023

Length: Stories up to 5,000 words

Pay: 3 cents a story

In Their Own Words: “Broadly defined, the type of fiction we are looking for is “fun”. … A fun story, at its core, is one that works on the premise that things aren’t all bad; that ultimately, good wins out. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your story has to be silly or lighthearted (though it certainly can be). Joy can be made all the more powerful when juxtaposed against tragedy. In the end, though, there should be hope, and we want stories that are truly fun for as many different kinds of people as possible. Swashbuckling adventure, deadly intrigue, and gleeful romance are some of the most obvious examples of what we’re looking for, but we won’t say no to more subtle or complicated topics, as long as they fit under the wider “fun” umbrella.”


Genre: Fantasy and Science Fiction

Status: Recently Closed to Submissions

Length: Stories up to 5,000 words

Pay:  7 cents a word

In their Own Words: “Here you will find stories where characters endure, overcome, and embrace that spirit of wonder and discovery through which sentient beings invest the universe with meaning and purpose. Our outlook is sanguine, faithful to those dreamers and makers who came before us to brave ages far darker than our own, supportive of present idealists who remain indomitable in the face our time’s apocalyptic fears, and hopeful that the principles of compassion, justice, and truth shall endure until the end of time.”

Unidentified Funny Objects annual anthology

Genre: Fantasy and Science Fiction

Status: Opens Once a Year to Submissions, last window was July/August 2022

Length: Up to 6,000 words

Pay: 10 cents a word

In Their Words: “We’re looking for speculative stories with a strong humor element. Think Resnick and Sheckley, Fredric Brown and Douglas Adams.  We welcome quality flash fiction and non-traditional narratives. Take chances, try something new, just make sure that your story is funny. Puns and stories that are little more than vehicles for delivering a punch line at the end aren’t likely to win us over.”


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