The zine of thrilling escape!
The goal of the zine SUMANGURU is to explore exciting adventures that allow for an escape from reality. “Escape” can be seen two ways. One way is just getting free from something bad, a plain escape from pain. Another way is getting clear so you can look at what your trouble is from another perspective.
SEEKING: Fiction and non-fiction pieces of 2,000 – 3,000 words in length (hard cap of 5,000) focused on fantastical adventure; this will be a small-ish zine
GENRE: Fantasy adventure, primarily set in a medieval fantasy or science fantasy (aka “science fiction”, see below) context, but will also accept modern fantasy, historical fantasy of other periods, historical science fantasy (a la Jules Verne), etc.
- NON-FICTION: Non-fiction pieces should be about fantasy adventure as well; looking especially for pieces about tabletop roleplaying & wargaming, worldbuilding analysis & fan theory. Also interested in pieces about pro wrestling from a historical or a broad/theory viewpoint; not looking for stat crunching, interviews, or show reviews.
- RPG MATERIAL: Interested in RPG worldbuilding materials, especially short pieces such as dungeon or NPC descriptions that could be used as story elements in a variety of games. Should be “setting agnostic” (i.e. no stats or allusions to specific existing properties).
PAYMENT: Flat rate of $100 per piece (~3.3 cents per word for a 3,000 word piece)
RIGHTS: Just the first-run right to print in this zine. You are free to have a piece sold/reprinted/anthologized/etc elsewhere as long as you credit the first printing to Sumanguru.
- REPRINTS: No reprints. I’d like to publish some people who are working now in this medium so I don’t just want to put something in that has establishment elsewhere.
DEADLINE: Sunday June 14 11:59:59 PM EST
- Looking for quick, highly-charged adventure stories. They should involve stakes, an effort (of strength or will or wit), and a resolution of the encounter. If you’re writing a story as-it-happens, think about stuff like Robert Howard’s Conan yarn “The Frost Giant’s Daughter”. Other narrative approaches welcome as well, though.
- Very interested in historical settings that are non-European and non-Euro-American, as well as future settings that don’t derive from the usual USA vs Russia vs China or the Future British/Roman Empire archetypes.
- Stories should pit people against great odds in the search of something good, whether or not they succeed.
- There is room for anti-heroes here, but not “mass murderers with a cause” (e.g. no Punisher or Hellsing Alucard types).
- Violence is okay in stories but, in admirable characters, it should be driven by necessity (i.e. no Saints Row-style “puckish rogues” or other dangerous psychopaths with a heart of gold).
- Current Events: absolutely not. Modern fantasy is fine but fiction that’s directly about major issues, or does something like having the president fucking up as a major background event, is not.
- Historical fantasy can’t involve wars from 1933 forward (e.g. no WWII revisionism), the British Royal Navy, the Crusades, or the Roman legions. You can get this stuff literally anywhere else.
- Hate Speech: I will not refuse to publish a piece because it has a slur (within the telling of the story), but I am strongly against hate rhetoric and repeated heavy slurs. This is basically the “yes your bad guy can say a cuss” rule, especially if the story works to challenge that worldview.
- Caveat: No exploitation. Do not have a black character who gets viscerally racially abused on the page and then goes on revenge for it, or any variation of that.
- No chosen one stories, no bloodline or inheritance magic, no “house/sect/clan/etc equals personality” (e.g. Harry Potter, Ajahs in Wheel of Time, etc.).
- Science fiction vs science fantasy: I am seeking the latter. I define “science fiction” as fiction which is about the process of science and/or the effects of specific known (or theorized, including research and data) technologies. “Science fantasy” uses the trappings of science and technology to tell fantastical stories. This is important because a lot of people who do the latter think they are doing the former, therefore giving more weight to their ideas as quasi-scientific (i.e. more “useful” than medieval fantasy). I don’t want anyone submitting here to have any pretensions. Hard science fantasy is fine (e.g. Battlestar Galactica’s 2000s reboot), but the “science” should serve adventure. I don’t want pieces that purport to be legitimate scientific speculation; examples of what I don’t want are AI stories “about the human condition” or stories revolving around the “realistic” difficulties of space travel.
- Orcs and goblins: Tread lightly. I have very specific ideas about orcs/goblins. Most people do them injustice as sentient beings, and those who try to “rectify” their usual treatment as crazed murder fodder make it worse, like how the Eberron D&D setting has peaceful nice-nice orcs. I am not specifically looking for orc or goblin stories but I won’t reject them out of hand unless you have a “greenskin killer” character or something of the like.
- Sex: Great, but no full-on erotica. Looking for “Fuck yeah!” not “FUCK! YEAH!”
SUBMISSIONS: Send submissions to > firstname.lastname@example.org <. Please include a short pitch/synopsis in your email body and your piece as an attachment (preferably .docx format).
- Formatting: Pieces need to be easy to visually scan, so please use indents or line breaks where appropriate. Please also list your name (as well as the name you’d like to be published under, if different), the name of your piece, social media info, and one thing you would like to plug such as a website or cause (if applicable).
- Pitches: I won’t guarantee that I’ll get to pitches sent without pieces, but I will do my best. I also won’t accept a piece for payment until I have been able to read and review the full piece. For this reason, please don’t send any standalone pitches after Monday May 25 so that I’ll have time to respond while giving you enough time to write the piece before deadline.
- Response: Since I will be doing this myself, I’ll give myself a month after the deadline to read everything just to be safe. I will be reading as I go however and I will respond as I read, so I may very well be done before that month is up. As soon as we reach a firm agreement about placing the piece, I will send payment, which will also be confirmation of the first-run rights listed above.
Posted May 10 2020
Updated June 1 2020