The following market report on the magazine, Cosmos, as well as the follow-up interview are courtesy of Market Scoops by D.L. Snell.
Editors: Editor-In-Chief Wilson da Silva, Fiction Editor Cat Sparks
Pay Rate: AUS $300 for print, AUS $75.00 for web
Response Time: Varies
Reading Period: Open all year
Description: Seeks short stories of between 2,000 and 4,000 words in length. They should be literature first: well written pieces, stylistically and imaginatively executed, polished works, involving some element of science at its heart.
Complete Guidelines: Writer’s Guidelines
Note: Horror author D.L. Snell conducted the following interview to give writers a better idea of what the editors of this specific market are seeking; however, most editors are open to ideas outside of the preferences discussed here, as long as they fit the basic submission guidelines.
1) What authors do you enjoy, and why does their writing captivate you?
Michael Marshall, Connie Willis, Margaret Atwood, China Mieville and Graham Joyce, just to name five off the top of my head. Their writing is so captivating because I utterly believe everything their books are telling and showing me, be it a London Blitz streetscape or two cities that exist in the same place at the same time. These authors are master craftspeople. Go read their books if you want to try and fathom how it’s done.
2) What are your favorite genres? Which genres would you like to see incorporated into submissions to this market?
Personally I’m a big fan of thrillers. Cosmos is a popular science magazine so authors need to keep that in mind when coming up with suitable ideas.
3) What settings most intrigue you? Ordinary or exotic locales? Real or fantasy? Past, present, or future?
Fantasy and horror are not suitable for Cosmos Magazine. Science fictionwise, I’m open to any setting so long as it is well researched and convincing. It’s always good to read something you haven’t seen much of before.
4) Explain the type of pacing you enjoy, e.g. slow building to fast, fast throughout, etc.
Primarily, I’m looking to be engaged. A cracking pace is good — but only if I care about the characters in the first place. Make me care and believe in those first few paragraphs, then you get to set any pace you want!
5) What types of characters appeal to you the most? Any examples?
Characters with believable backgrounds. Too many writers are too lazy to do any research. It’s not enough to set a story on a space station. You need to have some knowledge of the intricacies of daily life up there. Don’t tell me everything — show me!
6) Is there a specific tone you’d like to set in your publication? What kind of voices grab you and keep you enthralled? Any examples?
When it comes to prose, I’m a big fan of style. Here are three stories previously published by Cosmos (although not chosen by me) that I particularly enjoyed reading:
* All The Wrong Places by Val Nolan
* Under The Shouting Sky by Karl Bunker
* Ganymede Dreams by Christopher K. Miller
7) What is your policy for vulgarity, violence, and sexual content? Any taboos?
Yes. Cosmos has a wide readership, so please avoid profanity, explicit sex or gratuitous violence.
8) What kind of themes are you seeking most in submissions to this market? In general, what themes interest you?
Popular science themes. Stuff that is in the news. How humans adapt to and respond to technology and the changes being wrought upon our cultures. The great ‘what if?’, the question behind all good science fiction, IMHO.
9) Overall, do you prefer downbeat or upbeat endings?
I like both, but I suspect Cosmos readers may prefer the upbeat ones.
10) Any last advice for submitters to this market? Any critical do’s or do not’s?
Keep your cover letters simple. I don’t care where you’ve been published before — I’m only interested in the story you’re trying to sell me.
Read the submission guidelines. No, really. You’d be surprised how many stories I receive that are of an inappropriate length.
Read the stories that have been previously published by Cosmos Magazine. They’re available free online and will give you an idea of the sort of stories favoured by the Editor-In-Chief.