Calidum Literary Magazine publishes fine speculative fiction under 10,000 words, creative nonfiction under 15,000 words, and poetry. "We accept literary prose, including flash fiction, in or relating to the speculative family of genres including fantasy, sci-fi, gothic, horror, slipstream, and steampunk." Read the complete guidelines here.
SQF: Why did you start this magazine?
Lynn Ellen Wolf: While chatting with other writers, we found ourselves often lamenting the lack of respect for genre fiction. It's often viewed as the awkward stepchild of literary fiction, and doesn't usually receive the acknowledgement it deserves. Calidum Literary Magazine was born from a desire to showcase genre writers who demonstrate their talent and skill in the craft of writing. We support and promote these writers, and give a voice to both established and emerging authors.
SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?
LEW: I notice writing skills and mechanics first. While there can be some exceptions, in general, I like writing that flows smoothly, and is free from grammatical and spelling errors. I want to see that the writer knows how to write. The second thing I notice is how the writer blends the setting, characters, and storyline. Do they fit together, or does the story feel forced? Third on my 'most important' list is that the story moves me. I'm looking for works that provoke emotion, stimulate intellect, enlighten, or expose the human condition, whether implied through metaphor or allegory, or explicitly displayed in the action. I do not expect or anticipate any certain style or voice; that's part of a writer's unique identity.
SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission?
LEW: The biggest red flags in a story are a passive voice, flat characters, and rambling narratives.
SQF: Do you provide comments when you reject a submission?
LEW: I always thank the writer - I truly appreciate reading everything that's submitted. Other comments usually include whether the piece was rejected because it's just not a good fit, and sometimes I'll address a specific issue if I feel that it might be of help to the writer. I do not offer any further critique, but if a writer shows potential, I'll encourage the writer to submit again.
SQF: I find the juxtaposition of literary and speculative fiction interesting. What stories/authors do you feel epitomize this form? Please include URLs if you know them.
LEW: Literary fiction is usually defined as a work that is deemed to have "literary merit" and receives critical acclaim or acknowledgements. The works deal with a variety of elements common to the human experience. Many genre writers have not only matched, but in many cases surpassed standard literary fiction, and there are several classic authors who set the bar very high. Irish writer Lord Dunsany is considered a major influence on the work of J. R. R. Tolkien, H. P. Lovecraft, Ursula K. Le Guin and others. Other authors we like include Bram Stoker, Arthur C. Clark, Shirley Jackson, Phillip K. Dick, Kurt Vonnegut, Joyce Carol Oates, Walter Jon Williams, and William Gibson.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
LEW: What does "calidum" mean?
Calidum means “hot” in Latin, and the magazine brings the heat. Whether an author is sitting in the “hot seat” for an interview, or the “Calidum Cafe” is serving hot writing tips, our readers count on the freshest voices in the multiverse. So pull up a chair, grab a cup of your favorite flavor – I like mine dark and straight up – and enjoy what Calidum offers in every issue.
~Lynn Ellen Wolf, editor
Thank you, Lynn. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.
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