Seeking Slipstream: A List of Resources
By Lauren Rheaume
Just what is slipstream fiction? As a literary genre, I thought I never really heard of it before I realized that I’d actually read a few books that fall under the category. It is a sort of in-between genre, mixing mainstream fiction with elements of the surreal, sometimes bringing in science fiction and fantasy. The term was placed on the genre in 1989 by author Bruce Sterling. He wrote: "...this is a kind of writing which simply makes you feel very strange; the way that living in the twentieth century makes you feel, if you are a person of a certain sensibility."
Examples of slipstream include The Complete Short Stories of J.G. Ballard, Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett, The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami, The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, As She Climbed Across the Table by Jonathan Lethem, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia
Marquez, Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon, and Burning Your Boats: Collected Short Fiction by Angela Carter.
Here is a list of literary magazines that publish slipstream fiction, with information about them taken straight from their websites. If we’ve forgotten any, please feel free to add to this list.
A Capella Zoo is an independent web & print magazine of magic realism & slipstream. We publish semiannual issues of memorable writing, looking especially for layered storytelling, surprising imagery, a natural sense of place and person, and well-explored perspectives and ideas. The individual works we feature may fit a variety of overlapping styles: absurdist, fabulist, cross-genre, experimental, bizarro, fairy tale, new weird, mythic, surreal, etc. For our purposes, the combined terms MAGIC REALISM & SLIPSTREAM illustrate the broad range of our stories along a spectrum between contemporary reality and the unreal, and all play with the classic mantra of making the familiar strange and the strange familiar. Each new issue of A cappella Zoo is a unique hybrid of everyday life and the fantastic. (The Review Review has three reviews of this mag: Spring 2010, Fall 2010, and Fall 2011.)
Abyss & Apex--Our mission is to publish the finest in speculative and imaginative fiction and poetry, with special attention to character-driven stories that examine the depths and heights of emotion and motivation from a broad variety of cultural and social perspectives. We look for the unique: stories that stand out in a genre that pushes the envelope of unusual. We take special delight in detailed world-building, and have no subgenre boundaries: we like slipstream, YA, hypertext fiction, dark fantasy, science fiction puzzle stories, magical realism, hard science fiction, soft science fiction, science fantasy, sword and sorcery, urban fantasy, military science fiction, ghost stories, space opera, cyberpunk, steampunk . . . there is very little we will not look at, although we have a severe allergy to elves, retold fairy tales, sports, westerns, vampires, and gratuitous sex and violence. We have no subject/topic preference, beyond a requirement that the work have a speculative element. We are happy to read stories that don’t quite seem to fit elsewhere.
Conjunctions—We accept short- and long-form fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction. We do not accept academic essays or publish book reviews. Because we strive to provide a forum for unconventional work, we have no official restrictions regarding word count. However, we ask that writers use common sense when it comes to sending extremely long work. Please do not send synopses and ask us to indicate interest; just send the work itself.
Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet—Fiction that falls in the cracks between genres. We accept fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and black and white art. The fiction we publish most of tends toward but is not limited to the speculative. This does not mean only quietly desperate stories. We will consider items that fall out with regular categories. We do not publish gore, sword and sorcery or pornography. We can discuss these terms if you like. There are places for them all, this is not one of them. (The Review Review reviewed this lit mag in Fall 2011.)
Phantom Drift—We’re looking for flash fiction, short stories, poetry, prose poems, articles and critical papers on a literature of the Fantastic. Poetry editor Matt Schumacher says, “I welcome work readers might label new weird, slipstream and/or fantastic…work that shatters or valuably distorts reality, whether this means surrealism, magic realism, fantastique, or bizarrerie.” Fiction editor Leslie What likes stories “that favor the unusual over the usual…stories that create a milieu where anything can happen.”
Slipstream Quarterly is an online magazine devoted to the fiction of the strange, showcasing new and upcoming authors from around the world. If you wish to contribute short stories, poetry or articles to Slipstream Quarterly please email your submission of 800-4000 words maximum.
Structo is a British literary magazine. Twice a year they publish the best new short stories and poetry from all around the world alongside essays, and interviews with some of the most interesting authors working today. We print writing we love, which often tends towards the slipstream end of things. For short stories, pieces up to around 3000 words will be considered, with up to three pieces of poetry on a case-by-case basis—but no epics please! We only consider previously unpublished work and do not accept simultaneous submissions. If you want your work to really stand out from the crowd, make us smile.
Lauren Rheaume is the Director of Marketing and Outreach for The Review Review.