This issue is now closed for submissions.
It's a new year and that means a new theme cycle. But not just a new year, a new decade. It can't be 2020, surely, that's a science fiction date. That's the future...! And that's our theme cycle for 2020, THE FUTURE, starting with: INVENTIONS.
These must be inventions new to the world they are set in. Jet packs and rocket cars are fine in stories set next year (or a hundred years ago), but if it's 2050 and they're already common in the story world, they don't count. It could be a wacky one-of-a-kind or something set to revolutionise a world.
The theme lends itself to science fiction, obviously. A robotic third hand, because two is never enough, that develops a mind of its own. The first test of a FTL drive and the haunting images on the ship's rearward cameras of the Earth being swallowed by the uncontained singularity. Or the first fully automated AI-run smart house that decides the best way to keep itself clean is by removing the human element altogether. A next-level dating algorithm gone sentient, hacking global platforms for personal data, and the lengths it will go to to ensure matches get together, and stay together.
We're a cross-genre publication though, and the possibilities are vast. The opening of the first golem factory, as magic is industrialised, and the fate of the workers building their own replacements. The Gatling wand, rattling off fireballs quicker than any lone wizard could cast. Perhaps a Victorian watchmaker beginning work on his miniaturised clockwork death machine to avenge his lost family. Or the dream compass, part fairy magic, part 21st century circuitry, letting you live your deepest desires behind closed eyes, and leaving you wondering why you would ever want to wake...
And of course, what would inventions be without their crazy-haired, mad-eyed, cackling inventors...?
We are a genre publication, so primarily looking for sci-fi, horror, fantasy, but broader than that, surreal, crime, and even more literary pieces. The important thing is that it hits the theme and that it excites us, makes us want to read it again, and makes us want to share it with our readers.
The title cannot be Invention, or any permutation of that, and it must be a single word. The story itself must be 100 words, exactly. For our full guidelines and how to submit, check out the submissions page.