This Submittable coordinates submissions for both the Parsec Short Story Contest and the Parsec Ink Triangulation anthology. Please make sure you correctly choose the entity you are submitting your story to. Theme, word count, and deadlines are different for each entity.

The Parsec Short Story Contest is sponsored by Parsec Inc., the 501(c)(3) parent organization. The Contest is open to submissions from January 1st and closes on May 1st at 11:59 pm EST. 

Triangulation is curated by Parsec Ink, a standing committee of Parsec Inc.  Triangulation: Energy is open to submissions starting December 1, 2021 and closes on February 28, 2022 11:59 pm EST. 

Triangulation: Energy - Call for Submissions

Beginning December 1, 2021, the annual Triangulation anthology will accept submissions for Triangulation: Energy. We continue to tackle environmental issues as we did with Triangulation: Dark Skies (light pollution), Triangulation: Extinction (loss of biodiversity), and Triangulation: Habitats (sustainable habitation). The theme this year will be energy, sustainable energy. We’re looking for outstanding fantasy, science fiction, weird fiction, and speculative horror–from both new and established writers.

Editors:

  • John Thompson, Co-editor Triangulation: Habitats, Assistant Editor, Triangulation: Extinction.
  • Storm Walden, Assistant Editor, Triangulation: Habitats.

See the Triangulation Submissions Guidelines for details.

This year we’re looking for stories that explore the possibility of creating sustainable energy with alternative technologies and/or social change. Economical fusion energy has been ten years away for sixty years. Hydroelectric is location dependant. Solar and wind have seen leaps and bounds in technology but by themselves can’t provide the steady flow the grid requires to distribute the load. Yet.

As soon as we learned to control fire, anywhere from one to two million years ago depending on who you ask, we’ve been harnessing that energy to cook food, shape stone, keep warm, keep the sabertooth away, and move stuff around the planet.

Ever since then, we’ve been merrily burning everything combustible to utilize its stored energy while pouring heat and waste particles into the atmosphere. Forests of wood, mountains of coal, lakes of natural gas, and seas of petroleum have gone up. We delve deeper, raze mountains, we race to consume the Earth’s resources at a rate that is changing our environment. We need to find a new balance, either through technology, or social change, or a combination of both.

What else is on the horizon? Can we recognize hereto unknown forms of energy? Can we harvest energy from black holes? Several methods have been proposed. Zero-point energy is out there, waiting to be understood and perhaps tapped.

What about sustainability? If we can harvest the energy from black holes, harness zero-point energy, is it essentially unlimited? What’s your take?

As a species, we’ve understood the power of steam to turn wheels for 2,000 years but we couldn’t harness steam to move things until metallurgy and engineering evolved to the point we could build reliable engines—just over 300 years ago. Can we make the next great leap in time?

Or do we need to lower our expectations and live with less?

Submission Requirements

Submissions Open: December 1, 2021

Submissions Close: February 28, 2022

Word Count: We consider fiction up to 5,000 words, but the sweet spot is 3,000. There is no minimum word count. Stories over 5000 words will be rejected unread.

Genre: We accept science fiction, fantasy, and horror–and enjoy intelligent blends of the three. Stories without a speculative element will not be considered.

We do not accept unsolicited reprints, multiple submissions, or simultaneous submissions. If we reject a story before the end of the reading period, feel free to send another.

We love creative interpretations of our themes, but we do require the stories to be a solid fit.

We run mature content only if we like the story and find the mature content to be integral to it.

Please, no hate-ist stories (or any other -ist), stories with suicide, religious proselytizing or excessive, unwarranted violence.

We do not accept fanfic.

Please send a short bio in the cover letter of your submission. We ignore that until and unless we buy your story.

Poetry Guidelines: No minimum or maximum number of lines, but poems of more than 100 lines will have to be extraordinary to find a place in the anthology. Same Submittable link as prose submissions.

Manuscript Format: Please use industry-standard manuscript format. (For example, https://www.sfwa.org/2005/01/04/manuscript-format/) We’re not testing you or trying to make you jump through hoops, but we do want a manuscript that is easy for us to read. We reserve the right to reject a story because it does not adhere to our formatting guidelines.

We accept manuscripts in the following formats:

.doc or .docx (MS Word)

.rtf (Rich Text Format — generic document format that most word processors can create)

How We Choose

We are a meritocracy. New authors are as welcome as those with a laundry list of accomplishments. But it’s going to be the story that wins us over. Grab us by the lapels, drag us onto that plane, take us for the ride of our lives… but get us back on the ground safely and home in time for dinner.

We aim to read submissions as they are received. If a story doesn’t work for us, we reject it. If we think the story has great potential but isn’t quite there yet, we request a rewrite. The ones we love the most, we hold on to for further consideration. Next, the stories fight it out amongst themselves until we have our final lineup. At which time, final acceptances are sent out. It’s sort of like Enter the Dragon, but without the nunchucks. When a story is accepted, the changes we suggest will typically be minor and/or cosmetic.

Response: Final decisions are made by April 30.

Eligibility: All writers, including those who are known or related to the editorial staff, can submit to Triangulation. That doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily get in, but we are happy to consider their work.

If Your Story Is Accepted

Prose Compensation: We pay 3¢ per word. Payment will be either via PayPal or check.

Poetry Compensation: We pay 25 cents per line. Payment will be either via PayPal or check. $5 minimum payout.

Rights: We purchase North American serial rights, Spanish language rights, audio and electronic rights for the downloadable version(s). All subsidiary rights released upon publication.

How to Submit

Electronic submissions make our lives easier. Please upload your story via Submittable. If this is your first time using Submittable, you will need to create an account with them. Don’t worry, it’s free.

Good luck!

26th Annual Parsec Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror Short Story Contest   --

Hello, and welcome to the PARSEC 2022 short story contest. The theme for this year is “Hearth, Song, and Table.” We ask that author try and incorporate at least two of the three concepts into their speculative work. While this certainly seems to lend itself to fantasy, we can see many ways to twist the wholesome sounding prompt towards horror. Likewise, with a bit of creative interpretation, there are plenty of science fiction stories to be told with this theme!

Publication status: Stories must be original, unpublished, and unsold to any other market. 

Formatting: Manuscripts should be in standard manuscript format, double-spaced, and written in either Courier or Times New Roman font. Acceptable formats include .doc, .docx, and .rtf.
For an example of standard manuscript format, see: https://www.shunn.net/format/story.html

Prizes and Eligibility: The contest is open to non-professional writers (those who have not met eligibility requirements for SFWA or equivalent: sale of a novel or sale of 3 stories to a large-circulation publication (http://www.sfwa.org/about/join-us/sfwa-membership-requirements/). Previous first-place winners and current contest coordinators are ineligible to enter. 


Word Count: Stories should be less than 3500 words.

Requirements: The winning story will be the one that most effectively uses the contest theme(s) as a key element.  
First-place receives $200 and publication in the 2022 Confluence program book (Confluence).
Second-place receives $100
Third-place receives $50

Dates and Deadlines: The Contest opens January 1st, 2022 and will remain open until May 1st 2022. Stories will be forwarded to the judges by June 1st, 2022, with their decisions being received by June 21st 2022. Winners will be notified then, and announced at the Confluence Convention(July 27th-July 31st 2022)


Best Youth Story (Under 19 OR currently enrolled in high school, chosen by first readers) $50

Submission to the contest implies consent for publication, but all rights revert immediately to the author upon publication. Coordinators/Readers screen the entries and the Seven best submissions are then read by the judges. Decisions of the judges and coordinators are final.

Number: A maximum of 2 submissions is allowed. Submit each one separately.


NEW THIS YEAR!

Youth Story Prize— We have, over the last several years, seen a large growth in submissions from high school students (as well as some from middle school authors, and even a few grade schoolers!) To that end, we are offering an additional side prize of $50 for the best story submitted by someone aged 18 and under. This will be chosen by the first readers!

Youth Story Critique—We will also be offering, via a random drawing, 10 critiques by our first reading team of stories written by authors aged 18 and under. In order to qualify for the critique, your story MUST be in the standard manuscript format. Please indicate on the Submittable form if you are interested in receiving critique!

JUDGES!

Chelsea Abdullah is an American-Kuwaiti writer born and raised in Kuwait, where she grew up listening to stories about mysterious desert creatures and wily (only sometimes likable) heroes. Consumed by wanderlust, she has put down roots in various states. After earning her MA in English at Duquesne University, she moved to New York, where she currently lives. When not immersed in her own fictional worlds, she spends her free time playing video games, doodling characters, and hoarding books she doesn’t have the shelf space for.

Her debut novel, The Stardust Thief, the first book in a trilogy, is releasing with Orbit on May 17, 2022.


Michelle Renee Lane holds an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She writes dark speculative fiction about identity politics and women of color battling their inner demons while fighting/falling in love with monsters. Her work includes elements of fantasy, horror, romance, and erotica. Her short fiction appears in the anthologies Terror Politico: A Screaming World in Chaos, The Monstrous Feminine: Dark Tales of Dangerous Women, The Dystopian States of America, Graveyard Smash, Dead Awake, Midnight & Indigo: Twenty-Two Speculative Stories by Black Women Writers and The One That Got Away, and has been featured on The Wicked Library podcast. Her Bram Stoker Award nominated debut novel, Invisible Chains (2019), is available from Haverhill House Publishing. Her nonfiction can be found at Medium, Speculative Chic, and in Writers Workshop of Horror 2 (2021).


Timons Esaias is a satirist, writer, and poet living in Pittsburgh. His works, ranging from literary to genre, have been published in twenty-two languages. He is the 2020 Asimov's Readers’ Award winner for the Best Short Story, and won the recent The Winter AnthologyContest. He has also been a finalist for the British Science Fiction Award and was shortlisted for the 2019 Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Prize. His story "Norbert and the System" has appeared in a textbook and in college curricula. His SF short story "Sadness" was selected for three Year's Best anthologies in 2015, and the Asimov's winner "GO. NOW. FIX." has been selected for two. Recent genre appearances include Asimov's, Analog, DreamForge Anvil and Clarkesworld. Concrete Wolf brought out his full-length Louis-Award-winning collection of poetry titled “Why Elephants No Longer Communicate in Greek.” His poetry publications include Atlanta Review, Verse Daily, 5AM, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Willard & Maple, Asimov’s Science Fiction and Elysian Fields Quarterly: The Literary Journal of Baseball. He is Adjunct Faculty at Seton Hill University, in the Writing Popular Fiction MFA Program.

People who know him are not surprised to learn that he lived in a museum for eight years.

Parsec Ink