Not One of Us is about people (or things) out of place in their surroundings, outsiders, social misfits, aliens in the SF sense—anyone excluded from society for whatever the reason. We’d like Not One of Us to consider the problem of “otherness” from every possible fictional angle: horror, SF, fantasy, noir, slipstream, Western, mainstream, whatever.
The editorial philosophy of the magazine reflects my own personal taste in genre fiction. To me the scariest and most deeply moving horror stories are not about monsters or about good vs. evil, but rather about the reader’s own fears and discomforts. Similarly, for Not One of Us, fantasy isn’t about pseudo-medieval worlds, science fiction isn’t about space opera or funny-sounding names, Westerns are not about gunfights. In our magazine, it’s all about the characters.
We crave characters (human or otherwise) who are different and who act the way they do out of plausible (if occasionally insane) motives. All the wondrous settings and complex plots in the world will fail to convince me if at the center of the tale there isn’t a protagonist with whom I can somehow empathize. I don’t have to like that character: heaven knows we’ve had some pretty nasty protagonists, and empathy is not the same as excuse-making. But I want to get some insight into the character, and vicariously into myself. Also, I like stories, and characters, with edge.
Themes to avoid: vampires, alcoholic villains without any understanding of their motives, tales about writers, sword and sorcery, deals with the devil, and revenge stories that have no other point, especially if the punishment far exceeds the crime.
Because we’re a digest-sized (5.5 x 8.5 inch, 32-page) publication, we prefer stories of 5000 words or less. While we’re willing to read stories up to 6500 words long, they are a harder sell because of the size limitation of our format. We prefer poems of 40 lines or less, although we’re willing to read longer poems. Just not ones of epic length.
We assume first serial rights, with rights reverting to the author/poet upon publication. Payment is ¼¢ per word ($5 minimum), payable upon publication, plus one contributor’s copy for stories; $5 plus one copy for poems.
Artwork takes the form of story illustrations plus theme-related front and back covers. Typical payment ranges from $8 to $15. Query with samples.
Send electronic submissions from the contact page. We prefer Word or RTF attachments (do not send submissions in PDF), but it’s OK to embed submissions. All hardcopy correspondence should be accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope. Please send only one story or up to three poems at a time.
John Benson, Editor
12 Curtis Road
Natick, MA 01760