Into the Ruins is now accepting submissions of stories set in the near to far future. We are looking for well-told narratives featuring compelling characters dealing with and surviving a future of resource and energy shortages, peak oil, climate change, ecological degradation and disruption, and the political, social, and economic consequences of these realities. These stories may be harsh, uplifting or, best of all, a muddled blend of the two crossing a spectrum of human emotion and experience. We want stories that help us to make sense of a future unlike the ones we’ve been promised, but that do this through strong characters and deft plotting, detailing the future within the flow of the narrative rather than in long blocks of exposition.
If you have not already, we recommend reading our Welcome and Philosophy pages for further information about what we are looking to publish. We also highly recommend checking out a copy of the first issue. We also are accepting submissions of artwork.
- Stories should be set in the near to far future.
- They should obey natural laws as we currently understand them.
- Natural limits must exist.
- Stories featuring asteroid mining, terraforming of new planets, new sources of endless energy, or interstellar space travel will be rejected out of hand, even if they are morality tales against these activities.
- Set your story on earth.
- Stories of dystopian futures featuring our technologies run amok will be rejected out of hand. The basis of this journal’s world view is that the energy and physical resources needed to create such futures do not exist, and that the law of diminishing returns make such futures more or less impossible.
- While the details are somewhat debatable, this future should feature limited energy, limited resources, and the decline of fossil fuels and other nonrenewable resources.
- Consequences from fossil fuel usage should also exist (such as climate change, dead zones, ecological degradation, effects on human health, economic and political pressures, and so on). These consequences can play a central or background role or barely be relevant to the story at hand, but the story should be consistent with these consequences existing even if they are not explicitly seen or referenced.
- No magical technological solutions, no free energy, no fusion power, no amazing new sources of energy equal to or greater than fossil fuels, no easy fixes.
- Hope, joy, love, optimism, and humor should exist alongside pain, misery, sadness, depression, and cruelty. Your story may be sad and painful, and you may harshly criticize the choices of industrial society, but please don’t submit never ending expanses of abject misery or one-note screeds about how evil humans are. They aren’t likely to be published. An honest eye toward the complexity of humans and our decisions is encouraged.
- Into the Ruins has a clear philosophy laid out on this website; stories that flout it will be rejected.
Submission guidelines and formatting:
- Stories should be between 2,500 and 9,000 words, with a bit of wiggle room on either side. Update (9/13/19): Forget it. Send me any length, so long as the story is good. At this point, I’ve published stories 1,500 words long, 15,000 words long, and besides, including a serialized novella of 34,000 words. So just send it on. Just note that 10,000 words or less is still my general ideal and significantly longer stories may take longer for a response.
- Longer stories for serial publication will be considered. Please inquire first by emailing email@example.com.
- We prefer Times and 12 point font.
- Please include your name and contact information at the beginning of the story. Word count is also nice, though not required.
- Submit in Open Document (.odt) or Word (.doc) format. If you need a word processing program for this, you can download Open Office for free.
- Simultaneous submissions are allowed. However, please let us know if your submission is being considered by anyone else and please inform us ASAP if your story is accepted for publication elsewhere.
- We will consider stories that have been previously published on a personal website or, in certain cases, in a publication with very limited distribution. If your submission has been previously published, please indicate that in your submission email and provide the details.
- Submissions are always open. Stories are placed in the queue as they are received and reviewed in that order. We will contact you with a decision as soon as possible, though it may take a few months.
- For accepted stories for the fifth issue, we pay a minimum of a quarter cent per word. In other words, if your story is 6,000 words long, we would pay you $15 (6,000 x $0.0025 = $15). This rate will likely increase as we get closer to the issue and subscription renewals come in.
- We provide one free copy of the issue in which you are published shipped anywhere within the U.S. (We’ll work with international contributors to see about getting a copy to you at a reasonable cost.) Up to ten additional copies are available at a significantly reduced price.
- Payment made upon publication.
Following the guidelines above, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your story attached as an Open Document or Word file and with “Story Submission: <The Title of Your Story>” in the subject line. Please include your name, story title, word count, and contact information in the body of the email. We will confirm submission of your story within one week or less and let you know if we are having any problems with the file, formatting, etc.
If you have questions, please also email email@example.com. Thank you!