SUBMISSIONS FOR UFO3 ARE NOW CLOSED. We will begin reading for UFO4 on April 1, 2015.
Unidentified Funny Objects is an annual anthology of humorous SF/F. UFO4 Headliners include George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, Esther Friesner, Piers Anthony, Mike Resnick, Karen Haber, Gini Koch, Tim Pratt, Jody Lynn Nye.
For UFO4 we’re specifically seeking dark humor.
SUBMISSION WINDOW: April 1 – April 30, 2015
LENGTH: 500-5000 words.
FORMAT: RTF or DOC. Standard Manuscript Format or something close to it (We won’t take points off if you prefer Courier to Times New Roman or some such), except please remove your name and any other identifying information from the manuscript as all submissions are read “blind”.
SEND TO: E-mail submissions as an attachment to: ufoeditors @ gmail dot com
Format the subject line as follows: Submission: <Story Title> by <Author> (Approx. Length)
Example: Submission: You Bet by Alex Shvartsman (2000 words)
RIGHTS SOUGHT: First Worldwide print and electronic English Language rights. Exclusivity for 90 days from date of release. Non-exclusive rights to keep the anthology in print across different publishing platforms afterward. Preview sample contract.
POLICIES & RESPONSE TIME: No reprints, multiple or simultaneous submissions please. Do not send us any story we already considered for a previous UFO volume. We will respond to all subs within 30 days. If you don’t hear by then please check your spam folder, then query at the same e-mail address with the word QUERY in the subject of the e-mail. Please send only one submission per author.
WHAT WE WANT:
We’re looking for speculative stories with a strong humor element. Think Resnick and Sheckley, Fredric Brown and Douglas Adams. We welcome quality flash fiction and non-traditional narratives. Take chances, try something new, just make sure that your story is funny.
Puns and stories that are little more than vehicles for delivering a punch line at the end aren’t likely to win us over.
WHAT IS DARK HUMOR:
Unlike the previous volumes, UFO4 will feature the theme of “Humor with a touch of darkness.” This time around we’re seeking stories that are darkly funny rather than light and fluffy. Think along the lines of the more humorous tales by Neil Gaiman or Chuck Palahniuk, and some of the darker stories by Robert Sheckley or Fredric Brown. Sarcasm, black humor, biting satire are all welcome, but I’d like to steer clear of outright horror, even if it has a few humorous lines thrown in. Funny first, dark second.
We’re open to a relatively wide interpretation of dark humor, but each story must combine elements of humor with touches of darkness. Here are some examples of the kind of stories that fit the bill:
“We Can Get Them For You Wholesale” by Neil Gaiman
“The Monkey Treatment” by George R.R. Martin”Elections at Villa Encantada” by Cat Rambo (UFO3)
“Why I Bought Satan Two Cokes on the Day I Graduated High School” by Nathaniel Lee (UFO3)
“How You Ruined Everything” by Konstantine Paradias (UFO2)
“The Alien Invasion As Seen in the Tweeter Stream of @Dweebless” by Jake Kerr (UFO1)
“Wikihistory” by Desmond Warzel
WHAT WE DON’T WANT
These are the tropes we see entirely too much of in the slush pile and/or subjects already covered by one of the headliners. You will improve your odds if you steer clear of these:
* Deals with the Devil / Djinn in a bottle variants
* Stereotypical aliens probing people, abducting cattle, and doing other stereotypical alien things.
See the UFO Publishing About Us page
OUR PROCESS: Each submission will be read and considered by 3 editors. They will read blind — they won’t have access to author names or publishing history. Any story with 2+ “yes” votes will be advanced to the second round, where all editors will read it. Stories that are well-received by the full editorial board will advance to the third and final round of consideration. At that point we’ll ask to hold your story until mid- to late May, when final decisions will be made.
We are writers ourselves and understand the value of prompt communication. You will be notified of each step, if and when your story advances.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
I have two 6100-word horror stories that were previously printed and are now on submission at several magazines. Can I send them to you, simultaneously?
Please don’t. We have carefully considered what we’re looking for and expressed it above. If you strongly feel the need to break one of the guidelines, query first and provide a good reason.
My story was previously published in an obscure college anthology in 1996, which sold 16 copies. Can I submit it?
Sorry, but we won’t consider unsolicited reprints, no matter how obscure.
I may have accidentally begun my manuscript three double spaces below the byline instead of two. Am I getting auto-rejected?
Don’t sweat the small stuff. We’ll reformat your submission to fit our needs. You’re even welcome to send your story handwritten in pink crayon on glitter-sprinkled construction paper, but we will take that into consideration when deciding whether to purchase it, and whether to file for a restraining order.
I plan on winning multiple awards for my UFO story. Will your exclusivity rights prevent me from being included in the Nebula Showcase?
Congratulations on all your future success. We will gladly make exceptions for “Best Of” anthologies.
An anthology of humor SF/F is the greatest idea since sliced bread. What can I do to help?
Spread the word. Support our Kickstarter campaign. Pick up copies of previous UFO volumes. If you want to invite our authors/editors to a con you’re organizing, sell paperback copies of UFO at your store, bake us cookies, or help in any other way, we’d love to hear from you.