“Diabolical Thoughts” Theme and Unthemed Submission Windows

Diabolical Plots will be open for unthemed submissions from July 1–14, 2022.

And Diabolical Plots is pleased to announce that our next themed issue will be devoted to telepathy, to reading minds and speaking through them, and thus given the illustrious moniker of DIABOLICAL THOUGHTS!

We’ll be accepting submissions for this special issue from July 24 – July 31, 2022. Telepathy should be a central element in all submitted stories. Pay rate, format, and submission restrictions (no reprints, no resubmits, etc.) will follow our general submission guidelines.

We are seeking telepathy stories of every shape and style. Stories might be as intimate as mind-readers in love, forever seeing themselves through their lover’s eyes; or as harrowing as a telepath on the battlefield, drowned in every iota of pain, fear and grief felt for miles. They might be as bizarre as telepathy tourism from alien planets, all cognitive connoisseurs who find humans to have a particularly piquant mindset; or as familiar as a job interview, which has simply gained a new mental level to spar upon.

Give us telepathic truck drivers; telepathic orchestra players; telepathic gladiators and magistrates and paramedics and revolutionaries. We cannot wait to see what you come up with. 

For this themed issue, our assistant editor Ziv Wities will be taking the wheel and making final selections. Of course, your story should still be a good fit for Diabolical Plots—check out our general guidelines for an idea of what that means—but what might win you extra points with Ziv?

Well, Ziv would love to see:

  • Telepathy taking on odd, unexpected shapes, or being used for odd, unexpected purposes
  • Mind-reading with unusual rules ⁠— perhaps telepathic bonds are permanent and binding; or perhaps someone’s only telepathic for one hour every week!
  • Societies that have adapted to the presence of mind-reading, and shaped itself around their implications
  • Stories using telepathy to explore themes of uttermost connection, and/or of uttermost invasion 
  • Stories using telepathy to explore different themes entirely!

And we’ll borrow two of  our Assistant Editor Kel Coleman’s points, which are true for our magazine in general and for our theme issues in particular:

  • Fiction that’s high on emotional resonance, low on unexamined imperialism
  • Any kind of prose—it can be ornate, experimental in structure or tone, or punchy and simple, as long as it is intentional and serves the story

Diabolical Plots 2021 Award Eligibility

written by David Steffen

Hello! This is one of those posts where we look back at the year and all of the things we did to consider for award eligibility and hey just to look back at the year and what happened. This last year was the first year that anything from Diabolical Plots was nominated, so it doesn’t feel as far-fetched as it has in the past.

Magazine/Editor/Publisher

Diabolical Plots itself is eligible for the Hugo Award For Best Semiprozine.

David Steffen is eligible for Hugo Award For Best Editor (Short Form) for editing Diabolical Plots.

Locus Awards have a category for Publisher, which would be Diabolical Plots, L.L.C. for Diabolical Plots, as well as being the entity responsible for The Submission Grinder.

Related Work and Fan Writer

We’ve dialed back on nonfiction articles, but published one nonfiction piece: “UTH #2: The Story of Valkyrie and Zen” finding connections between the roles of Tessa Thompson in several films, for related work, and David Steffen as fan writer.

Websites are eligible for related work, so The Submission Grinder is also eligible.

Short Stories

Of course, most of the award eligible work that we are involved in is the original short stories we publish on the site! All of the following stories are eligible for Short Story categories in various awards (they are all under 7500 words, so the Short Story category is the one to go with. If you would like short excerpts of each of the stories check out the Recent Stories page.

“Everyone You Know is a Raven,” by Phil Dyer

“Unstoned,” by Jason Gruber

“Energy Power Gets What She Wants,” by Matt Dovey

“A Study of Sage,” by Kel Coleman

“Boom & Bust,” by David F. Shultz

“The Void and the Voice,” by Jeff Soesbe

“The Day Fair For Guys Becoming Middle Managers,” by Rachael K. Jones

“For Lack of a Bed,” by John Wiswell

“The PILGRIM’s Guide to Mars,” by Monique Cuillerier

“Three Riddles and a Mid-Sized Sedan,” by Lauren Ring

“One More Angel,” by Monica Joyce Evans

“We Will Weather One Another Somehow,” by Kristina Ten

“Along Our Perforated Creases,” by K.W. Colyard

“Kudzu,” by Elizabeth Kestrel Rogers

“Fermata,” by Sarah Fannon

“The Art and Mystery of Thea Wells,” by Alexandra Seidel

“Rebuttal to Reviewers’ Comments On Edits For ‘Demonstration of a Novel Draconification Protocol in a Human Subject’,” by Andrea Kriz

“A Guide to Snack Foods After the Apocalypse,” by Rachael K. Jones

“Audio Recording Left by the CEO of the Ranvannian Colony to Her Daughter, on the Survival Imperative of Maximising Profits” by Cassandra Khaw and Matt Dovey

“It’s Real Meat!™,” by Kurt Pankau

“Forced Fields,” by Adam Gaylord

“Lies I Never Told You,” by Jaxton Kimble

“There’s an Art To It,” by Brian Hugenbruch

“There Are Angels and They Are Utilitarians,” by Jamie Wahls

Diabolical Plots Submission Window Postponed

written by David Steffen

Hello everyone! Greetings and I hope that you and your family and friends are well, or as well as can be expected.

For the last several years, Diabolical Plots has opened for a regular submission window every July. I’ve found that having a single month every year helps me to compartmentalize the effort involved in reading the submission queue–because I find it exhausting and time-consuming, so I just schedule myself one very busy month where I get very behind on everything else, and then I go back to normal.

This year, because of COVID-19, I do not have the time to spare to handle a submission window properly–I have a full-time dayjob and no childcare, and as much as I dislike changing an established routine like this, I don’t see any way that I could handle the time and effort of a submission window in July.

On the bright side I’ve always kept a pretty long publication schedule between acceptance and publication, which does come in handy at a time like this–I already have the selections made in the 2019 submission window lined up to publish without interruption through March of 2021, so it will be almost a year before any possible disruption to the publication schedule will occur.

When will the next submission window be? I don’t know! Depends on, among other things, when I have childcare again. I will have to revisit that question later as more information is available.

In the meantime I will be doing the best I can trying to handle what I can handle–best of luck and best of health to you and yours!

Announcement: Diabolical Plots Has an Assistant Editor!

written by David Steffen

For most of its existence, Diabolical Plots has had one person, me, behind the curtain, with the occasional nonfiction contributor and of course the fiction writers. In the last couple of years we have started to shift that policy and have taken on first readers (aka slushreaders) who help out during the submission window to help narrow down the huge submission queue (1400 submissions in our 2019 window) to something more manageable to find the final 24 selections.

One of the first readers this year was Ziv Wities, who was a very prolific reader of the stories and who had a good eye for a story (in my opinion, of course). Since then, he has volunteered to take on extra work at Diabolical Plots as well, including helping edit the individual Year Six stories, helping find a new artist for the cover of this year’s Long List Anthology, and other things along those lines. We are currently talking about other things he could do, which we will surely announce in due time. You can take a moment to congratulate Ziv on Twitter at his handle @QuiteVague or anywhere else you see him online!

The Diabolical Plots Year Six Lineup

written by David Steffen

Diabolical Plots was open for submissions once again for the month of July, to solicit stories to buy for the fourth year of fiction publication.  1432 submissions came in from 1066 different writers, of which 122 stories were held for the final round, and 24 stories were accepted.  Now that all of the contracts are in hand I am very pleased to share with you the lineup.

There a few names in there that Diabolical Plots has published before, there are some others whose work I know from elsewhere but who are making their first DP appearance in this lineup, and there are yet others that I didn’t know before this–I like to see a mixture of these groups!

All of these stories will be published for the first time around March 2020 in an ebook anthology Diabolical Plots Year Six, and then will be published regularly on the Diabolical Plots site between April 2020 and March 2021, with each month being sent out to newsletter subscribers the month before.

This is the lineup order for the website.

April 2020
“A Promise of Dying Embers” by Jordan Kurella
“On You and Your Husband’s Appointment at the Reverse-Crematorium” by Bill Ferris

May 2020
“Everything Important in One Cardboard Box” by Jason Kimble
“Synner and the Rise of the Rebel Queen” by Phoebe Wagner

June 2020
“Open House On Haunted Hill” by John Wiswell
“The Automatic Ballerina” by Michael Milne

July 2020
“Minutes Past Midnight” by Mark Rivett
“Bring the Bones that Sing” by Merc Fenn Wolfmoor

August 2020
“Finding the Center” by Andrew K. Hoe
“For Want of Human Parts” by Casey Lucas

September 2020
“The Last Great Rumpus” by Brian Winfrey
“That Good Old Country Living” by Vanessa Montalban

October 2020
“A Complete Transcript of [REDACTED]’s Video Channel, In Order of Upload” by Rhiannon Rasmussen
“Are You Being Severed” by Rhys Hughes

November 2020
“Many-Faced Monsters in the Backlands” by Lee Chamney
“Mama’s Hand of Glory” by Douglas Ford

December 2020
“‘My Legs Can Fell Trees’ and Other Songs For a Hungry Raptor” by Matthew Schickele
“Tony Roomba’s Last Day on Earth” by Maria Haskins

January 2021
“Everyone You Know is a Raven” by Phil Dyer
“Unstoned” by Jason Gruber

February 2021
“Energy Power Gets What She Wants” by Matt Dovey
“A Study of Sage” by Kel Coleman

March 2021
“Boom & Bust” by David F. Shultz
“The Void and the Voice” by Jeff Soesbe

Diabolical Plots: Year Three Available for Pre-Order!

written by David Steffen

The newest anthology from Diabolical Plots, Diabolical Plots Year Three, is now available for pre-order from Amazon and Kobo (other vendors to follow).  Pre-ordering is a great way to help ebook vendor algorithms promote it more, so if you think you would like a copy anyway pre-ordering is a big help.

Note the wonderful cover art, an original illustration by Amanda Makepeace, the same artist who made the awesome fox cover art for The Long List Anthology Volume 3 in December of last year.  She illustrated the story “For Now, Sideways” by A. Merc Rustad, and she did a wonderful job with it.  I love how a good illustrator can tell a story with an image like Amanda’s done here, how your eye is drawn to different parts of the image that imply the conflicts and resolutions of the story.  Cover layout was done by Pat Steiner, who has done all of the anthology covers for Diabolical Plots and continues to do great work.

Thank you, and have a happy weekend!

Announcing the Diabolical Plots Year Four Fiction Lineup!

written by David Steffen

Diabolical Plots was open for submissions once again for the month of July, to solicit stories to buy for the fourth year of fiction publication.  1003 submissions came in from 720 different writers, of which 25 stories were accepted.  Now that all of the contracts are in hand I am very pleased to share with you the lineup, which will start as soon as the Year Three stories have wrapped up in March.

This year I think the overall submissions were more on-target to my peculiar tastes than ever.  Emphasis on the weird, with a lot of great stories that involve religion without preaching or demonizing it.  I am very excited to share these excellent stories with the world.

Since I accepted 25 stories instead of 24, there is one month that will have three stories (which I’d like to see as a regular thing if the recurring funding is there for it).

April 2018
“Giant Robot and the Infinite Sunset” by Derrick Boden
“Her February Face” by Christie Yant

May 2018
“The Efficacy of Tyromancy Over Reflective Scrying Methods in Divining Colleagues’ Coming Misfortunes, A Study by Cresivar Ibraxson, Associate Magus, Wintervale University” by Amanda Helms
“Graduation in the Time of Yog-Sothoth” by James Van Pelt

June 2018
“Tank!” by John Wiswell
“Withholding Judgment Day” by Ryan Dull

July 2018
“Crimson Hour” by Jesse Sprague
“Jesus and Dave” by Jennifer Lee Rossman

August 2018
“Medium Matters” by R.K. Duncan
“The Vegan Apocalypse: 50 Years Later” by Benjamin A. Friedman

September 2018
“Glass in Frozen Time” by M.K. Hutchins
“The Fisher in the Yellow Afternoon” by Michael Anthony Ashley

October 2018
“Pumpkin and Glass” by Sean R. Robinson
“Still Life With Grave Juice” by Jim Moss

November 2018
“The Memory Cookbook” by Aaron Fox-Lerner
“The Coal Remembers What It Was” by Paul R. Hardy

December 2018
“The Hammer’s Prayer” by Benjamin C. Kinney
“For the Last Time, It’s Not a Ray Gun” by Anaea Lay

January 2019
“The Divided Island” by Rhys Hughes
“The Man Whose Left Arm Was a Cat” by Jennifer Lee Rossman
“The Dictionary For Dreamers” by Cislyn Smith

February 2019
“Local Senior Celebrates Milestone” by Matthew Claxton
“How Rigel Gained a Rabbi (Briefly)” by Benjamin Blattberg

March 2019
“Heaven For Everyone” by Aimee Ogden
“The Last Death” by Sahara Frost

Diabolical Plots is now a SFWA Qualifying Market

written by David Steffen

Just the briefest of notes:  fiction sales to Diabolical Plots now count as qualifications for writers toward joining the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America(SFWA).  Very excited by this news!

This applies to all the past fiction accepted here, as well as the fiction for the current submission eindow open through the end of the month.

 

Award Eligibility Post

written by David Steffen

I know some people don’t like award eligibility posts, thinking that they’re desperate pleas for attention.  As a reader, I like them because if I am behind on my reading they are a good place to catch up on the year’s published stories of another author, and as a writer to look back  at my own.  I don’t have any illusions that anyone is going to nominate me, and that’s fine–there are so many amazing people doing incredible work every year.  But I still think an award eligibility post is worthwhile, and if you don’t think so, then you should stop reading now.

This year, since I started selecting and editing fiction for Diabolical Plots, I’ll list the Diabolical Plots work first and then my fiction writing as a separate section.  For the purposes of this list I am thinking of the Hugo and Nebula Award categories because those are the awards I’m most familiar with.  Other awards have other categories that might be suitable.

People ask once in a while whether the Submission Grinder is eligible for a Hugo or Nebula.  It is not, because there are no categories that suit it for those awards.

2015 was the year the Long List Anthology was published, but it is not itself eligible.  Neither award has a category for standalone anthology (though I believe the Locus Award does), and all of the stories were first published in 2014 so are ineligible.  As the editor I would be eligible for the Hugo Award for Best Editor, Short Form for which I edited that anthology as well as the first ten stories of Diabolical Plots.

Diabolical Plots

Semiprozine

  1.  Diabolical Plots (prior to this year I believe it was a fanzine, now it’s a semiprozine)

Editor, Short Form

  1.  David Steffen (for Diabolical Plots itself, and the Long List Anthology)

Short Stories

  1.  “Taste the Whip” by Andy Dudak
  2. “Virtual Blues” by Lee Budar-Danoff
  3. “In Memoriam” by Rachel Reddick
  4. “The Princess in the Basement” by Hope Erica Schultz
  5. “Not a Bird” by H.E. Roulo
  6. “The Superhero Registry” by Adam Gaylord
  7. “A Room for Lost Things” by Chloe N. Clark
  8. “The Grave Can Wait” by Thomas Berubeg
  9. “Giraffe Cyborg Cleans House!” by Matthew Sanborn Smith
  10. “St. Roomba’s Gospel” by Rachael K. Jones

Fan Writers

  1.  David Steffen (also did fan writing work for SF Signal, and for Science Fiction Book Club)
  2. Laurie Tom
  3. Maria Isabelle
  4. Carl Slaughter

My Fiction Writing

Short Stories

  1. “Thus Spake Robby” in the Overcast
  2. “Tamers of the Green” in Sockdolager
  3. “Condemned” in the Coven Anthology, edited by Andi O’Connor
  4. “So You’ve Decided to Adopt a Zeptonian Baby!” at Podcastle
  5. “My Wife is a Bear in the Morning” at Podcastle
  6. “Echoes of Her Memory” in Stupefying Stories
  7. “Closing Statement” in T. Gene Davis’s Speculative Blog
  8. “Focus” in Space and Time
  9. “We Do Not Speak of the Not Speaking” in Stupefying Stories
  10. “Red Shoes of Oz” in Evil Girlfriend Media Shorts
  11. “To Be Carved Upon the Author’s Tombstone in the Event of His Untimely Demise” in Perihelion