The Deadlands

Submission Guidelines

The Deadlands is currently Open to Submissions.
Fiction Currently Open to Submissions
Nonfiction Currently Open to Submissions
Poetry Currently Open to Submissions

The Deadlands is a monthly speculative fiction magazine. We publish short stories, poems, and essays about the other realms, of the ends we face here, and the beginnings we find elsewhere. It will be a journey into the unknown, to meet those who live there still, even though they may be dead. Death is a journey we all will take, but we’d like to peek at the map before we go.

Fiction, Editor E. Catherine Tobler

This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man’s hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

~T.S. Eliot

The Deadlands exists in liminal spaces between life, death, and elsewhere. We are looking for speculative fiction that concerns itself with death–but also everything death may involve. A ghost in a shadowed wood. An afterlife discovered through a rusted door. An abandoned house in the middle of a haunted field. A skeletal figure moving with intent toward something unseen. Death personified. Burials in troubled lands. A raised scythe against a clouded sky. Memento mori. The rivers of the dead. The sprawling underworlds beneath our feet.

The Deadlands would love to see stories from a worldwide perspective, different cultures, different approaches to death. We welcome stories from everyone, everywhere. Stories that feature characters impacted by someone passing away and processing the event of death, are fair game, but will likely be a hard sell. Stories about related subjects—zombies, demons, vampires, apocalypses, and the various undead—are not for us. An apocalypse may be your setting, but it isn’t your story. We are absolutely not interested in seeing weird West stories, or steampunk tales. Humor will be a harder sell than heartbreaking.

Explore some influences we’re drawing from.

The Deadlands accepts stories up to 5000 words. Stories should be original and unpublished (this includes your blog, your website, your newsletter, your Patreon). The sweet spot for length is probably around 3-4k. One submission per author; no multiple submissions or simultaneous submissions; if you are submitting fiction, you cannot also submit poetry or nonfiction. If a story is on submission somewhere else, please wait before sending it to us. The Deadlands pays 10¢/word for original fiction.

Fiction Reprints

The Deadlands will consider reprints, up to 5000 words, 1¢/word. Please note that the story is a reprint when submitting, and please list the market where it originally appeared.


Non-fiction, Editor David Gilmore

The Deadlands exists in the preparation of a burial shroud, the candlelit vigil, the etching of the epitaph. We are looking for essays that explore the relationship between humanity and death. We are looking for a wide range of subjects, including but not limited to: cultural funerary practices, rituals of remembrance, historical explorations of death imagery, death imagery used in art and by artists, death imagery found in graveyards and on tombstones.

The Deadlands wants critical, academic, and personal essays from everywhere and from everyone. We are specifically not interested in reviews, or examinations of death portrayed in media, as these will be covered by our in-house reviewer. Essays should be between 1-4k words. We want clear, thorough work that shows an appreciation not appropriation of culture. If it is your own culture, and you have personal knowledge or experience or with your subject, all the better. We want to read ritual not spectacle. These essays should show the proper tone and respect that the final embrace deserves.

Essays should be original and unpublished (including blogs and Patreon). One submission per author; no multiple submissions or simultaneous submissions; if you are submitting nonfiction, you cannot submit poetry or fiction. If a piece is on submission somewhere else, please wait before sending it to us. The Deadlands pays $100 per essay.

Poetry, Editor Nicasio Andres Reed

Spring comes up thick from the dead
– Lisel Mueller, “Civilizing the Child”

The Deadlands is a prism refracting innumerable paths and practices, and we are seeking speculative poetry in all its diverse permutations. We are as interested in the dead as we are in grief, hauntings, and history. The sublime is as much a part of The Deadlands as the uncanny. We welcome both formal and experimental poetry.

We are particularly interested in works by poets from historically marginalized and underrepresented backgrounds, particularly BIPOC poetc, and poets from the global south. Bilingual or multilingual work is welcome. The Deadlands accepts submissions from anywhere in the world, and guarantees payment in full no matter where you are.

Please send us no more than three poems per submission. We do not accept simultaneous submissions or reprints. Payment is $50/poem, no length limit. No multiple submissions; if you are submitting poetry, you cannot also submit fiction or nonfiction. All double submissions will be rejected unread.

Average Response Time: four to six weeks; if longer, your poem may be in a second-round hold pile.