Why we reject stories

Christopher East @ 07-01-2010

I’ve been reading and responding to Futurismic fiction submissions for going on five years now, and hundreds and hundreds of stories have passed through our slushpile. If you do something long enough, you start to see patterns, and I thought I’d write up a list of common reasons for rejection that might give potential contributors a better idea of our sensibility as a market, and mine as an editor.

So, read on for the top six reasons stories are rejected by FuturismicContinue reading “Why we reject stories”


Paul Raven @ 04-01-2010

It’s a new year, and we have new fiction at Futurismic once again, courtesy of a familiar face. We’ve published more stories by Jason Stoddard than any one other author, and if you can read White Swan and still wonder why that is… well, I don’t know what to tell you!

“White Swan” sees Jason taking on a different style and voice, and very successfully. It’s a tale of small bright hopes in a dark and difficult future, and a shining example of why optimistic sf doesn’t have to be unrealistic, trite or panglossian. Read and enjoy. 🙂

White Swan

by Jason Stoddard

The tiny room stinks of kid-sweat and puke, and greasy Portland rain, endless, rattles the thin plastic window. Little Beny thrashes in his narrow bed, clawing unseen monsters.

This is the hardest time, Lili Antila thinks.

Hardest because she knows Beny’s cries are echoing through the thin walls to reach his mother and father, who drip exhausted tears on screens bright with electronic hope. Hardest because this is when she always thinks, What if it doesn’t work this time? Hardest because it brings back gauze-wrapped memories of bright-lit hospital rooms and hard-faced doctors and soft sheets rough like sandpaper on her own changing skin–

Lili blinks back tears and turns to the wall, which is playing one of her favorite movies on a window not much bigger than her hand: Bad Girl. A black-and-white James Dunn is waxing on about his dream of owning a radio store. Lili knows what a radio store is. A physical location to house goods for sale, electronics so hopelessly primitive that they were not even interactive. She also knows it is a sad and impossible dream in the First Depression. The screen is smart enough to know this, and it displays the movie with no floaters, no contextual hints.

There is a scuffle of feet at the door. A polite noise. Lili waits for Freya to walk up behind her. She can feel Freya’s body heat in the chill room. Continue reading “NEW FICTION: WHITE SWAN by Jason Stoddard”


Paul Raven @ 02-11-2009

Almost every short fiction venue worth its salt will have some sort of guidelines as to what sort of material they’re looking for… but I suspect almost every editor will confess that, when the story is good enough, the guidelines can flex a little to allow it through.

That’s exactly what happened with “Spider’s Moon” by globe-trotting star-ascendant Lavie Tidhar, which is set in a slightly deeper future than we usually deal with here at Futurismic. But its core concerns are closer to home, and it’s a strong tale well told – so we’re proud to be publishing it for you to read. Enjoy!

Spider’s Moon

By Lavie Tidhar

Night, a full spider’s moon in the sky; hundreds of lanterns hung along the river, and the smell of saffron and garlic and dried lemongrass filled the air; a warm night, candles burning on street corners with offerings of rum and cooked rice, the hum of electric motorbikes, the murmur of a sugarcane machine as it crushed stalks to make the juice.

Ice tinkling in glasses; on small plastic chairs people sat by the river, drinking, talking. A hushed reverie, yet festive. Hoi An under the spider’s moon, French backpackers singing, badly but with enthusiasm, while one of their number played a guitar.

Save me from the raven and the frog, and show me safely to the river’s mouth, O Naga, he thought. Frogs had never been his favourites. Green and slimy, and always too loud. Like rats, almost. Like green, belligerent rats. Continue reading “NEW FICTION: SPIDER’S MOON by Lavie Tidhar”


Paul Raven @ 01-10-2009

One of my hardest jobs as editor here at Futurismic is trying to write the introductions to our new fiction pieces that actually do them justice. This month, I’m not even going to try – all I’ll say is that Eric Del Carlo‘s “Fluidity” totally blew me away when Chris sent it over for me to look at, and that I’ve not read such a strong yet sensitive treatment of gender politics in science fiction for some time. See for yourself.


by Eric Del Carlo

Some prim Prior in Xen’s childhood had made a pulpit-pounding fact of this statement:  “To interrupt one’s Cycling is to throw oneself off a cliff!”  So often and with such spittle-spraying vehemence was this preached that it had locked in Xen’s mind.

And so when he pulled the braided sash and his burgundy robe heaped the ground around his bare ankles, he stepped forward over the ice plants with that Prior’s fervor guiding, not warning, him.  The ocean’s salt-tart wind handled his slim naked body carelessly as he came to edge of the bluff.  Cascades of ice plants turned to dark rock below, then colorful sand.  Xen paused to touch his exterior genitals.  It was a wistful gesture.

Off a cliff…

He went, making instruction of that long-ago thunderous remonstrance.  When he struck the dark rocks, he crushed numerous bones; when he bounced and tumbled out onto the beach itself, he lived only long enough for a group of startled concerned bathers to huddle over him. Continue reading “NEW FICTION: FLUIDITY by Eric Del Carlo”


Paul Raven @ 01-09-2009

If you asked me for three words to describe this month’s Futurismic fiction offering, I’d give you “short, sharp and timely”. Genevieve Valentine wastes no words in revitalising (and spoofing) the classic sf dystopias in this brisk story of an all-too-plausible tomorrow. “Is This Your Day To Join The Revolution?” Read on and find out…

Is This Your Day To Join the Revolution?

by Genevieve Valentine

When Liz left her building, Disease Control workers were standing on the corners, handing out pills and little paper cups of Coke.

“Do you need one?” the old lady asked, holding up a handful of paper masks stamped with ads for Lavender Fields Sterile-Milled Soap. Liz pulled out the one she kept in her bag, and the lady smiled.

The TV in her subway car showed “What You Can Do on a Date.” The young man and woman went to the fair twice – once where he screwed everything up, and again where he helped her into the Ferris Wheel and handed her a paper mask before he put on his own.

The movie closed with swelling music and a reminder in cursive: ARE YOU DUE FOR A DATE? CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR. Continue reading “NEW FICTION: IS THIS YOUR DAY TO JOIN THE REVOLUTION? by Genevieve Valentine”

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