Monday, 2 March 2020

UNSPLATTERPUNK! 4: Extreme horror short story and cover art submissions open

Gore at the fore, virtue in the wings: increasingly (un)popular extreme horror anthology to become a “goretet.” Writers encouraged to dredge up more carnage, more debauchery, more controversy . . . all while incorporating a positive message.


During one protest, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. saw a photographer put down his camera to help a protestor who had been knocked down by the police. The photographer’s job, said King, wasn’t to help people – it was to photograph the violence.

What the great civil rights leader understood, like Christ and Gandhi before him, was that spreading his message of universal brotherhood required packaging it in violence. Bloodshed gets attention.

Keeping this in mind, Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction (TQF) is seeking submissions for its fourth anthology in the UNSPLATTERPUNK! series. Unsplatterpunk stories wrap a positive message in typical extreme horror fare: over-the-top violence, grossness, and taboo subject matter. It’s a concept that one Goodreads reviewer calls “absurd, but fun all the same”. Think of Mary Poppins and her sugar that eases the distastefulness of medication. Only instead of sugar, we’re using faeces, viscera, and vomit.

With each UNSPLATTERPUNK! installment, the barbarity escalated and the depravity got nastier, but the ethical underpinning remained.
This time, we’re asking writers to take it all to the next level. We’re open to ultraviolent humour, backwoods perversion, raw realism, and massacre with a literary bent. 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.

Artists: we’re also looking for cover art that captures the unsplatterpunk theme. Contact us at TQFunsplatterpunk@gmail.com.

Tips for Writers

Unsplatterpunk submissions get rejected for two main reasons:

  • Not controversial enough – We’re not looking for a rehash of the latest popular horror film or TV series. If it’s not cringeworthily gross or offensive to the average Joe, then don’t send it. 
  • No positive message – If the story doesn’t attempt to deliver a moral, then it’s not unsplatterpunk. What about all those writing instructors who advise that authors should never start with a theme or strive to impart a lesson? Ignore them.

Other advice:

  • Make your story as attention grabbing and shocking as death metal at a piano recital. 
  • Avoid stories in which the sole “moral” element is revenge exacted on a terrible person—that is not a positive message. 
  • Don’t impress us with your writing style, your vocabulary, or your philosophical treatises. . . . Impress us with your story.
  • Please, for the love of all that is holy, don’t write your story in a chatty style full of colloquialisms. You’re writing to your reader, not your BFF.  
  • If someone asks what your story is about, your ten-second response should be enough to make their jaw drop. 
  • Read UNSPLATTERPUNK!, UNSPLATTERPUNK! 2, and UNSPLATTERPUNK! 3 to get an idea of what we’re looking for.

Submission Requirements

Send stories of up to 10,000 words (no poetry, please) to TQFunsplatterpunk@gmail.com. Put “UNSPLATTERPUNK! 4 submission” in the subject line. In your cover letter, include a bio and tell us about the positive message that your story conveys.

  • Deadline: October 31, 2020
  • Word count: 500–10,000
  • Reprints: No
  • Multiple submissions: Yes
  • Simultaneous submissions: No – We’ll get back to you within a couple weeks.
  • File format: .doc (preferred) or .docx files only
  • Payment: This is a non-paying zine. However, free epub, mobi, and pdf files will be available to everyone.

After publication, you are free to reprint your story elsewhere, but please credit Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction for original publication.

See the TQF standard guidelines for additional information on rights and legal matters.

Change via Nausea

What’s wrong with the world? How do you want to change it? Here’s your chance to spread your virtuous message (smothered in butchery).

Crank up your degeneracy dial. Make sure your readers walk away nauseated and shocked, but also morally enlightened. Make the grossest of it.

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