Monday 16 October 2023

UNSPLATTERPUNK! 7 open to short story and art submissions

To disgust and instruct: Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction welcomes short story and art submissions for seventh instalment in annual UNSPLATTERPUNK! anthology that gives splatterpunk the kick in the nards it needs. 

Extreme horror authors and artists: are you fed up with calls for submissions stating, “No excessive gore?” Here’s your chance to let out your innermost degenerate… and your hidden saint.  

Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction, purportedly the UK’s second-longest running sci-fi/fantasy/horror ezine, has opened the floodgates for submissions to the seventh instalment in the UNSPLATTERPUNK! “smearies”. Douglas J. Ogurek returns to edit the anthology slated for release in summer 2024.

We’re on the hunt for short stories (10,000 words or fewer) that not only exaggerate the ultraviolence and subversive content of the splatterpunk genre but also incorporate a positive or morally instructive message. That’s what makes it unsplatterpunk. We’re also looking for cover art submissions that support the unsplatterpunk concept. 

Forget the squeamish fans of mainstream horror, the instructors who told you not to write with a theme in mind, and even the splatterpunk writers mired in nihilism and gore for gore’s sake. We’re open to any genre, from vile fantasy and gruesome sci-fi to backwoods perversion and raw realism, provided that your tale magnifies the visceral content and conveys a virtuous message. It’s all disgusting… and it’s all enlightening.

Dig into the first six anthologies, all available for free download: UNSPLATTERPUNK!, UNSPLATTERPUNK! 2, UNSPLATTERPUNK! 3, UNSPLATTERPUNK! 4, UNSPLATTERPUNK! 5, UNSPLATTERPUNK! 6

The UNSPLATTERPUNK! anthologies boost the distasteful content of the typical splatterpunk story while adding a lesson in virtue. The message can be straightforward or subtle — we’ve even used extended metaphors. Background photo: Eistreter, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Tips for Writers

Unsplatterpunk submissions get rejected for two key reasons:

  • Not controversial/visceral enough – You’ve just written a story full of decapitations, amputations, and eviscerations? We can get that by turning on the TV. How will you take it to the next level?
  • No positive message – You’ve completed a transgressive piece that will shock and disgust even the most dedicated splatterpunk enthusiast? Great, but if it doesn’t have some positive message, we’re not interested.

Other advice:

  • Make the story as attention-grabbing as a stripper in a nunnery. 
  • Make the content so revolting that readers think to themselves, Why am I reading this?
  • Approach your subject matter with a thirteen-year-old boy’s “gross is great” mentality and your writing with the technical skills of a seasoned author.
  • Gorge yourself on splatterpunk stories so you understand what’s already been done.
  • Read previous entries in the UNSPLATTERPUNK! series. Why not? They’re free.
  • Imagine a man with a violin standing next to you as you write. Each time your writing gets dramatic, he starts playing. Don’t let him play! In other words, don’t impress us with big words, abstractions, and philosophical concepts – 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 bestie.  
  • Don’t end your story in a quagmire of esoteric nonsense. 
  • Avoid standard revenge stories – vengeance isn’t morally enlightening, and the market is flooded with these tales.
  • Our thoughts on classic creatures: Vampires brooding around a castle? Cliché. Zombies wandering through woods? Dumb. Werewolves at a sexual harassment prevention training seminar? You have our attention. 
  • Make comedy your friend: some of the most successful splatterpunk authors recognize the excessive nature of the genre and therefore incorporate humour in their stories. Those who take things too seriously often devolve into dramatic hogwash. Thus, if you’re going to yuck it up, why not yuk it up? 

The Gory Details

Send stories (no poetry, please) and artwork to Put “UNSPLATTERPUNK! 7 submission” in the subject line. In your cover letter, include a bio and tell us about the positive message your story conveys.

  • Deadline: 30 April 2024
  • Max word count: 10,000
  • Reprints: No
  • Multiple submissions: Yes
  • Simultaneous submissions: No. We’ll get back to you within a couple of weeks.
  • File type: .doc (preferred) or .docx files for stories; .pdf or .jpg files for artwork
  • Payment: This is a non-paying zine. However, free epub 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. 

A Note on No Payment

Because our contributors do not receive monetary payment, some have accused us of using authors’ “slave labour” to get rich. The UNSPLATTERPUNK! series (and the TQF ezine in general) is not a moneymaking venture. Rather, it’s a group of dedicated hobbyists trying to have some fun. That’s why we make .pdf and ebook versions of all UNSPLATTERPUNK! anthologies available for free (with an option to purchase a hard copy on Amazon). Over the course of the UNSPLATTERPUNK! series, we have collected less than nothing from hard copy sales, and all of this nothing has gone right back into the publication of the anthology. We will also work with authors to ensure their stories are concise, precise and hard hitting.

Nevertheless, if writing is your job – or one day you want it to be your job – then of course you won't want to do it for free. Submit your stories to a paying journal or anthology, or save them for your collection. And if you've been inspired to write something unsplatterpunkish, let us know so we can send readers your way!

Also, keep in mind that while some anthologists select contributors from a tiny pool of acquaintances, we take a different approach here. First, our sole criterion for acceptance is a good story that follows the parameters. Thus, everyone who submits has an equal chance of getting a story selected. Second, we read every submission from beginning to end. If we reject it, we tell you why. If we find promise in a story, we work closely with the contributor to make it as illuminating and nauseating as possible. 

Earn the UNSPLATTERPUNK! badge. Submit stories and artwork by 30 April 2024. 

Tackle Problems and Turn Stomachs  

The world overflows with problems: speciesism, environmental degradation, inequality, poverty, intolerance, and so many more. Now pick one and address it through fiction. 

Hacking off heads and limbs. Tearing skin. Removing organs. Breaking bones and shattering spines. Sticking objects both chewy and pointy into this or that orifice. Ingesting vomit and other expulsions. Splatterpunk fans have seen it all. How will you take it to the next level? 

Join the ranks of Hugh Alsin, Antonella Coriander, Garvin Giltinan, Joe Koch, Eric Raglin, Triffooper Saxelbax, Drew Tapley, and many others who’ve earned the unsplatterpunk badge.

You have until Tuesday, 30 April 2024. 

Shock us. Nauseate us. Edify us.

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