Submission Guidelines

New Maps accepts submissions, year-round, of short stories falling within the genre of deindustrial fiction. Before you submit your story, please read through these guidelines to make sure you’re submitting to the right place. If you have any questions about anything on this page, please feel free to contact us.

Suitability

As mentioned, New Maps is primarily a magazine of deindustrial fiction. (We also publish occasional essays and book reviews; to inquire about the possibility of having such a piece published, please email the editor.) Deindustrial fiction shares some aspects with a few other genres, but is distinct from them in other ways. To understand how we define the genre, the best reference is our About page. Here we will mention a few things we are and are not looking for in submissions.

As New Maps uses the term, deindustrial fiction is:

  • Fiction that takes into account the effects of resource depletion and environmental damage on the future of the world, and the existence of hard limits to what humankind can do to mitigate these effects.
  • Fiction that takes place in the world that you and I live in: that is, an Earth that obeys the same physical laws as the real Earth.
    • Stories may include elements of the metaphysical, supernatural, or paranormal, but only to the extent that you, the author, find it plausible that these things may actually happen in our world as you understand it.

And it is not:

  • Simply generic speculative fiction. While deindustrial fiction may be considered a kind of speculative fiction, it is more specific, in the ways mentioned above.
  • The same as dystopian or utopian fiction. Real, unadulterated utopias and dystopias are absent from the historical record, and we consider their existence incompatible with human nature. Even in the most idyllic society there are significant problems, whether at the level of the culture or of the individual. Likewise, even in the most brutal dictatorship, there is at least some room for people to experience little everyday joys.
  • Coterminous with postindustrial fiction. While there is significant overlap between the two, there are important differences.
    • Perhaps most saliently, the two differ in the understood cause of the decline and fall of civilization, and which civilization. With postindustrial fiction, nearly any cause will do, from resource depletion all the way to wayward meteors and nanobots, and the setting may be on a totally invented world. Deindustrial fiction narrows focus to what happens during and after the winding down of our current fossil-fueled industrial age, due to resource depletion and its consequences—although against that background, some places may certainly experience declines (and ascents) from unrelated causes that pop up, as these things do.
    • A postindustrial story may (or may not) take its setting to be a lull during which a civilization rebuilds. But in deindustrial fiction, civilization just isn’t coming back the way it was: civilizations may certainly still arise, but they will have to find ways to make do with less energy than we currently use, will not look just like ours, and will definitely not arise from the ashes to colonize space.
    • As well, postindustrial fiction is often understood to take place after the collapse of civilization has reached its rock bottom and perhaps stabilized, whereas deindustrial fiction may take place at any point on the downslope, including the very near future, and often finds valuable stories to tell in the instabilities that come from decline.
  • The same as postapocalyptic fiction. The decline of the current global civilization will be long and ragged, not sudden and cataclysmic, except possibly in isolated pockets. Even then, if a single catastrophe brought down a vast society, that society very probably had termites in the framework to start with, and this should be acknowledged.
  • Traditional spacefaring sci-fi. While space operas and deindustrial fiction are both often set in the future, they share very few other commonalities, and stories featuring travel to other planets will almost certainly be rejected.

Technical

  • Most digital document formats are accepted (.odt, .doc/.docx, and anything else readable by pandoc). A standard layout such as Shunn’s Modern Manuscript Format is encouraged.
  • There is no hard minimum or maximum story length, but we will probably publish only a limited number of stories longer than 10,000 words. Very long (novella-sized) short stories, if outstanding, may be considered for serialization. If you have a novel, seek a publisher who’ll publish it as a novel!
  • Submissions are open year-round on a rolling basis: submissions received too late for one issue are automatically considered for the following issue.
  • Stories should be previously unpublished, except those published on small personal websites or other venues with very limited exposure. If your story was previously published in such a way, please tell us the details in your letter.
  • Simultaneous submissions are allowed; please inform us if the story is being considered in another venue. If your story is accepted for publication elsewhere, please inform us as soon as possible.
  • Send your story to editor@new-maps.com, with subject line “Story Submission: [Story title].” In the body of the email please include
    • the name you would like the story to appear under,
    • the story’s title and word count,
    • your contact information,
    • and any other relevant information as outlined above or as you consider pertinent.

    We will confirm submission of the story as soon as possible.

Compensation

  • Accepted authors will be compensated on a per-word basis, and will also receive one free copy of the issue in which their story appears, with the option to request up to ten more at cost. The current per-word compensation is $0.00¼ USD.
  • Payment is made upon publication.