Sixteenth century English poet Sir Philip Sidney encouraged writers to teach virtue and delight. If readers aren’t delighted (i.e. entertained), he argued, they’ll walk away.
Now that we’re in the twenty-filth century, the unsplatterpunk movement has put a new spin on Sidney’s advice by asking writers to teach and shock and/or disgust readers.
Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction launched the unsplatterpunk movement in 2017 with UNSPLATTERPUNK!. The British Fantasy Society called this inaugural collection “memorable and thought-provoking”. Last year, TQF upped the muck with UNSPLATTERPUNK! 2, which criminologist, aesthetic commentator, and novelist Dr Rafe McGregor called “a provocative, confrontational, outrageous, and innovative collection”.
Next year, TQF will flay new trails with UNSPLATTERPUNK! 3, edited by Douglas J. Ogurek. We challenge authors to submit short stories that submerge a positive message in filth, carnage, and whatever else shocks people.
We’ll take ultraviolent humour, perverted country bumpkin, and raw realism. We’ll take vile fantasy, gruesome sci-fi, and grossmance… anything so long as it defies contemporary sensibilities, repulses us, and integrates a virtuous message.
Bear in mind that this is not an easy task. “Unsplatterpunk is an exceptionally demanding genre in which to write, requiring an almost impossible balancing act between the disgusting and the morally uplifting”, writes Rafe McGregor in the foreword to UNSPLATTERPUNK! 2. “If it doesn’t convey a positive moral message, then it’s splatterpunk, not unsplatterpunk; if it isn’t disgusting enough, then it’s neither unsplatterpunk nor splatterpunk.”
Also remember that gore is the new norm. Popular TV shows and films drip with eviscerations, decapitations, and amputations. Then there are the splatterpunk/extreme horror books that make those TV shows and films look like children’s programs. The most abhorrent stuff imaginable? We think not. Writers can take it to the next level.
Submissions are open to both established writers and hobbyists. Alas, the only payment we can offer is a pdf copy (available for download to all) and recognition – or is it notoriety? – for contributing to this genre-defining series.
Send your vile concoctions of 10,000 words or fewer (no poetry please) to TQFunsplatterpunk@gmail.com.
- Try to gross out or appall the person who thinks he or she has seen everything.
- Convey a positive message, whether blatant or subtle.
- Make the story as attention-getting as a death metal concert in a spa.
- Give us something we haven’t seen.
- Avoid traditional revenge stories. Torturing a bad guy isn’t a positive message.
Deadline: 31 July 2019
Word count: 500–10,000
Multiple submissions: Yes
Simultaneous submissions: No – we’ll get back to those who submit for this project within a couple weeks.
File name: [story title]-[author surname].doc
Payment: Non-paying zine (free epub, mobi, and pdf copies available to everyone including contributors) plus participation in an emerging subgenre
Send submissions as a .doc or .rtf attachment, along with a 3rd person bio, to TQFunsplatterpunk@gmail.com. Please include UNSPLATTERPUNK! in the subject line.
After publication, you are free to reprint your story elsewhere, but please credit Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction for original publication.
See standard guidelines for additional information on rights and legal matters.