Call for Pulp Sci-Fi Submissions Closed.

Note: Submissions Closed.

Over the last four years, the From the Rock series has become one of the preeminent anthology series’ in Atlantic Canada. We have been home to some amazing established talent and helped some new authors break through that have gone on to dominate their fields, becoming genre bestsellers in their own right. From the Rock is a title readers consistently ask for, review well, and is a great way for avid readers to get introduced to indie talent they might find interesting. In March 2018 the series’ third entry, Chillers from the Rock, went Bestseller on pre-orders alone!

We are currently accepting submissions for the sixth entry in this series: Pulp Sci-Fi from the Rock, to be available in Winter of 2020.

Editors Ellen Curtis and Erin Vance are scheduled to return to helm the project.

Many authors have expressed interest, but anyone can submit to be a part of this collection! Deadline is October 31, 2019 but get your stories in as quick as you can, as it gives our wonderful editors more time to work with you and make sure it is as good as it can possibly be!

‘Pulp Sci-Fi’ can mean a lot, what are you looking for?

We’re looking for stories that mimic the aesthetic and feel of the 1930s-1950s science-fiction that was popular in many a pulp magazine. Today these elements would being referred to as Retro-Futuristic, but we like the term ‘Pulp.’

Science-Fiction from this era has a reputation of having macho archetype heroes, damsels in distress, a low-art stories that have since fallen out of the public favor. These are elements we’d ideally like to see subverted or used creatively to tell new stories for the modern era.

Ideas for influence can be found in HG Wells, Robert Heinlein, and Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Are other genres accepted?

Because they predate modern definition, at the time fantasy stories like Conan and horror classics like HP Lovecraft’s Elder Gods were grouped under the “Pulp Sci-Fi” banner. Unless there is a specific sci-fi twist / re-imagining to them we will not be accepting these (though there may be a separate title highlighting these in the future).

Are re-imaginings / continuations of existing public domain stories from this era allowed?

We advise against it, as we’re searching for new stories with this style. It will obviously be done case-by-case, but we prefer original content as the rules for what is in the Public Domain change from country to country and we want to be able to market widely.

What is the target audience?

For this specific collection, we’re going for an equivalent of PG to PG-13. Editor Ellen Curtis has prepared a style guide for the collection that will be available soon. Rather than limit our authors creatively, we encourage them to write from the heart and allow us to work with them to fine-tune the work after the fact.

Example: for Sci-Fi from the Rock, Christopher Walsh’s story had featured a fair amount of cursing. As a compromise, we settled on switching it out for classic-comic style “#@$#” bleeps. We feel it captured the classic all-ages style we were going for while remaining true to his work, and both parties were happy with the arrangement.🙂

What genres will be accepted?

This year we will be focusing on science-fiction, with a specific eye to the sort of exploratory, socially conscious, introspective science-fiction that was popular from the 1930s through to the early 1950s. The includes tales such as Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom series, Weird Tales Magazine, and Amazing Stories Magazine.

What does it pay?

Payments start at a minimum of $0.01 CAD per word to an upper limit of 3000 words. Our pay scale is intrinsically tied to how well the collection did in its previous year of publication, and is intended as a starting point to grow from. Authors may find that when discussing contracts for their stories upon accepting the per-word and word-cap may both be higher than presented here.

Are there minimum/ maximum word limits?

There are not minimum word limits. In the past we have had stories as short as 250 words. We have set 7,500 words as a maximum word limit, only because we anticipate many submissions and want to fit as many as we can in.🙂

Can someone submit more than one story?

Of course! We may take one or both! We have had the same author in the same collection multiple times in the past.

Who can submit?

Any Canadian author looking to celebrate great Canadian genre writing! We do this as a link to our partner, the Sci-Fi on the Rock convention. This link does not have to be substantive! It can be someone involved with the convention, an Engen Books author, an author from Newfoundland, an author from Atlantic Canada, or any author looking to celebrate great genre writing!

Example: In Sci-Fi from the Rock, Peter Foote wrote “The Silence Between Moons” and asked if, even though he had never been to Sci-Fi on the Rock, if he could submit. We said as long as he wanted to help celebrate the genre and the act of coming together as a community around stories we all love, he was welcome, and his tale is one of the best in the collection!

There is also no age restriction. Anyone over Canadian Age-of-Consent (16 years of age) can submit and sign the print release on their own. Entrants younger than that will have to sign the print release with a parent of guardian.🙂

Who keeps the printing rights?

You do! Engen merely gains the right to print your story in this one collection. You keep the rights to your story and property: so if it takes off and becomes a huge hit, you keep all the benefits!🙂

Do you accept reprints?

Yes, so long as you hold the copyright to allow us to publish it in the collection and the other criteria for the collection are met. Please tell us if you are submitting a reprint. We do give priority to new stories except in extreme cases.

How do I submit?

All submissions should be directed to submissions@engenbooks.com and should be sent from a reliable email address that you check regularly (we will contact all applicants through email with the status of their submission once the deadline has passed).

When do submissions close?

October 31, 2019 11:59 PM Newfoundland Standard Time.

Do you have questions?

Ask them below by commenting on this post, we will answer you post haste!🙂

Happy Writing!


We regret that due to the volume of submissions we receive we will be unable to acknowledge receipt of entries. We will contact you after submissions close, usually within 30 days, to let you know if we accepted your work or not.


Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

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