Fiction Guidelines

  1. About Nuketown
  2. About our fiction section
  3. What we’re looking for
  4. What we aren’t looking for
  5. Story length
  6. Simultaneous submissions and reprints
  7. Payment and acquisition of rights
  8. Formatting requirements
  9. Style guides, pseudonyms, and other issues
  10. Submission process
  11. A few words of advice

Please Note: Nuketown is presently closed to fiction submissions.

1. About Nuketown

Nuketown is a speculative fiction webzine published on a monthly basis. It publishes short stories as well as movie, Web site, book,magazine, zine and game reviews. We have been publishing regularly since 1996.

Nuketown’s philosophy is pro-individual, pro-reason, and pro-science. When it comes to economics, we’re pro-capitalism.

The site averages 14,000 user sessions (which roughly equates to visitors) a month, and 18,000 page views. If you like “hits”, we average about 36,000 a month. Our newsletter has 300 subscribers and is sent out on a weekly basis.

2. About Our Fiction Section

Nuketown’s short stories are published in our `Library’
section. We publish 2-3 stories a month, and while we can be picky about what we run, we often try to work with writers to tweak their stories into something our readers would like to see.

If you are looking for highly-detailed critiques of your stories, consider joining the folks at, which is a speculative fiction writers group.

3. What We’re Looking For

Please note that we are presently closed to submissions, and will not be re-opening any time in the foreseeable future.

We want science fiction, fantasy and horror short stories with heroic overtones. This doesn’t mean we’re just looking for spandex-clad superheroes running around with shining teeth and ray guns (although we wouldn’t mind some classic pulp
fiction), but we do want stories with characters you can look up to.

Aside from heroic stories, we’re also looking for stories that have a positive outlook on the future and/or technology. We are interested dark future stories with a strong hero — a la David Brin’s The Postman or the movie The Matrix — but he/she needs to be heroic in the conventional sense of the word (no post-modern anti-heroes).

If you’re not sure whether or not we’ll like your story, query us first, outlining what the story is about and why you think we might like it. If we’re interested, we’ll ask you to send in the story.

As you might have guessed from reading Section 1, Nuketown has a decidedly libertarian bent and we are actively seeking science fiction, fantasy and horror short stories with libertarian themes.

4. What We Aren’t Looking For

If the basic outlook of your story can be summed up as “life’s a bitch, then you die” or “life’s a bitch, you get eaten and THEN you die”, or some other variation on that theme, then we’re probably not going to be interested in your story.

Please do not send us stories that are overloaded with scientific technobabble (like a bad episode of Star Trek) or paranormal gobbledygook (like a bad episode of The X-Files). In short, don’t let the special effects get in the way of your story.

We also do not want sex for the sake of sex, violence for the sake of violence, and profanity for the sake of … well, you get the idea.

We don’t ban these things from Nuketown, but we dislike stories (and movies for that matter) that throw in sex scenes for no apparent reason, while its characters spew profanity in a vain attempt to build depth.

5. Story Length

We want short stories in the 1,000-to-4,000 word range, We are also interested in flash fiction and short-short stories (stories less than 1000 words)

We’re also interested in longer short stories that can easily be broken into multiple parts, as well as serialized fiction. The cap on long fiction is 12,000 words.

Each section should run between 3,000 and 4,000 words and only completed serials will be considered for publication. Do not send us episode 1 if you haven’t written episode 3.

6. Simultaneous Submissions and Reprints

Nuketown’s open to simultaneous submissions, but please note in your initial e-mail if you’ve submitted it elsewhere.

We will consider reprints, but only stories that haven’t appeared in print or on the Web in the last year (we don’t mind if a story is archived on another site; it just can’t have been featured in an edition of that site in the last 12 months).

7. Payment and Acquisition of Rights

We pay $10 per short story (or, in the case of a serial, per section). We acquire first electronic rights and the right to archive your story in our webzine.

We also require that your story not appear in another webzine for three months after its publication in Nuketown. Once your story has been accepted to Nuketown, we’ll mail you a contract for you to sign.

We pay $5 per story for reprints.

8. Formatting requirements

All stories should be submitted according Nuketown‘s variation of the standard manuscript format. You do not need to include your Social Security number but must include an e-mail address where you can be reached. If you do not have a permanent e-mail address, we suggest getting one via an online service such as Hotmail.

This formatting is critically important and will saves us a great deal of time. The format is as follows:

Starting in the upper left-hand corner:
First line: Writer’s First Name, Middle Initial (if used), Writer’s Last Name
Second line: Pseudonym (if used)
Third line: E-mail address
Fourth line: Name of Story
Fifth line: Word Count
Sixth line: Copyright notice (note which year the story was written
in, i.e. Copyright 2000)

Please note that Nuketown does not accept submissions as e-mail attachments. You must include your story as text in the body of the e-mail that you submit to us.

You can use these formatting guidelines in your story.

  • To denote bold text in your story, use asterisks like this: *bold*
  • To denote italicized text in your story, use underscores like this: _italics_

Stories sent as attachments will be rejected unread, as well stories sent via postal mail.

9. Style Guides, Pseudonyms, and Other Issues

Like many publications, Nuketown uses the Associated Press
style for all of its stories.

Nuketown allow its authors to use pseudonyms, but they must be complete names — i.e. Stephen King’s pseudonym was Richard Bachman. However, Nuketown does not allow the use of handles, such as RocketMan or HotMama2 or RickBachster.

If you submit a story for publication using one of these handles or nicknames, it will be rejected. If you want to include it, do something like this: Kenneth “Nuke” Newquist.

10. Submission Process

Here’s the process for submitting a story to Nuketown (please note that we only accept stories submitted via email — we do not accept snail (postal) mail submissions.

  1. Read our fiction guidelines.
  2. Send your story to
  3. Once your story is received, it’s read by Nuketown’s editors.
    This takes 3-4 weeks. Our average response time is about 3 weeks.
  4. Your story will be accepted or rejected.
  5. If your story is accepted, we will ask you to complete and
    return a writer’s contract via e-mail. We will also let you know when your
    story will run.
  6. After your story has been published in Nuketown, we will send
    you your payment. Payment is by personal check, but we are willing to
    use other methods of payment for those living outside of the United

11. A Few Words of Advice

  • Read these guidelines. Then re-read them.
  • Format your stories according to these guidelines Ð stories
    that are not properly formatted will be rejected without being read
    (though we will encourage you to resubmit your story when
    properly formatted).
  • Spellcheck your story!

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