Dark Matter Magazine aims to bring you stories that explore the shadow side of reality. This does not mean that we prefer gratuitous sex and violence, or that the story must be cynical or misanthropic. Even stories of hope and optimism can arrive at their theses after first taking us on a journey through the most downtrodden fringes of society, or the deepest reaches of space, or the darkest corners of the mind. But stories don’t always have happy endings either.
We prefer to publish stories reminiscent of science fiction and horror heavyweights like Isaac Asimov, Margaret Atwood, Jorge Luis Borges, Ray Bradbury, Octavia Butler, Arthur C. Clarke, Michael Crichton, Philip K. Dick, Harlan Ellison, Neil Gaiman, William Gibson, Robert Heinlein, Shirley Jackson, M.R. James, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Stephen King, Ursula K. Le Guin, H.P. Lovecraft, Alan Moore, Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Sheckley, Mary Shelley, Dan Simmons, Neal Stephenson, Bram Stoker, Jules Verne, and H.G. Wells, to name a few. If you count these legendary writers among your inspirations, submit your story today. We’d love to give it a read.
For writers that use humor to explore the dark side of things, look to authors like Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, and Kurt Vonnegut for examples of what we’d like to see.
Get Our Emails
To get all our submission news and more delivered right to your email inbox, subscribe now.
Word Limit: 1000-5000 words, no exceptions
Pay rate: $0.08/word paid on acceptance
Genre: Science fiction
Sub Genres: Afrofuturism, Alternate Universe, Apocalyptic, Cyberpunk, Dark Humor or Satire, Dying Earth, Dystopia, Hard Boiled, Hard SF, Near Future, Pulp, Occult SF, SF Fantasy, SF Horror, Slipstream, Space Opera, Theological, Weird SF
Language: English and English translations
Reprints: Not at this time
Poetry/Non-Fiction: Soon, but not at this time
Multiple Submissions: You can, but we’d prefer one story from you at a time.
Simultaneous Submissions: Sure! But please notify us or withdraw your story from consideration at Dark Matter if it is accepted elsewhere before we render our own decision. NOTE: Other publishers have their own guidelines about simultaneous submissions, so please read those as well if you intend to submit to both us and them at the same time.
Time to Decision: We are currently looking at a response time of 14 days from submission until we render a final decision on your story. If you have not heard back from us after 30 days, feel free to query us by email at email@example.com.
What We Want to See
Science fiction has often be called the genre of ideas, but we want stories that are more than just interesting in concept. We want stories that explore how human beings (or other sentient creatures) interact with and/or are shaped by the story’s central conceit. Time travel is interesting, but we want to know how time travel affects a specific person (your character) and the world they inhabit.
Polished Story Structures
We look for traditional one-act or three-act structures. We welcome stories that play around in these storytelling sandboxes, but we most likely won’t accept a story that outright rejects them. We love epistolary formats and we welcome them as submissions. Diary entries can still have an act structure, after all.
Yes, we want character-driven stories with traditional story arcs, but those stories still have to be science fiction. If your story can exist without the science element, we probably won’t be interested. For example, we would reject Shakespeare himself if he submitted Romeo and Juliet to us with the only difference being that it was set aboard a space station. The science doesn’t have to be 100% accurate, and you don’t need a PhD in physics to submit to us. You just need to write about the way science, both real and imagined, affects the characters and worlds in your story.
We look for stories that move. We understand that a story that takes place all in one room centered around a single conversation can be incredibly powerful and artistic. However, those stories most likely won’t fit with the vibe of our magazine. We want stories that are constantly pushing the narrative forward into increasingly deeper, darker, and weirder places. We also love slow burns, but narratives with a lot of thrust always win our hearts.
NOTE: For one-act structures, we understand that the above guideline is less applicable, but we still want something to happen in that one room, or happen as a consequence of that one conversation.
We want stories that make us feel things about the characters. We want to love certain characters and hate others. We want there to be a reason for us to root for one outcome over another. If we are left feeling indifferent to the characters and/or their plights, we will most likely pass on the piece.
We love open-ended stories as much as the next reader, but a complete absence of resolution will leave us feeling like the story needs more development.
A Little Bit of Risk-Taking
Yes, we love reading stories that riff off of a tried and true concept, but we really love stories that are unafraid to try something totally new. We love to see stories that combine genres and concepts in unique and interesting ways. We peddle dark matter, after all. We want weird. We want bizarre. We want stories that are unashamed of imagination.
Original characters and worlds only.
Our Submissions Are Currently Closed
To stay up-to-date on all our submission news and special issue announcements, sign up to receive our emails today!
Submit Your Story Today!
File types we accept: .doc, .docx, .rtf
Submissions must be in proper manuscript format.
We will not accept email queries. This is for your benefit as well. Email submissions can be less efficient and less transparent, and are more susceptible to scams and intellectual property theft.
Have you read our Fiction Guidelines?
If so, submit your manuscript now via Moksha.
Pay rate: $100 to license a reprint; $200 to commision a new piece
Visual Motif: Science fiction and all its sub genres
What We Want to See
We will accept black-and-white artwork for the interior, but cover art must be full color. We love dark palettes of course, but we also really love vibrant color.
Unique visual styles are welcome and often preferred.
We want images that tell us a story, even if that story is abstract.
Images must be sent to us as hi-res files, preferably TIFF, in order for us to accept them.
Photoshop art using photographic elements is welcome though.
Submit Your Portfolio Today!
If you would like your artwork to be considered for one of our covers, or as artwork for the magazine’s interior, please email a link to your portfolio to: