The Mesozoic Reader

The Mesozoic Reader is a twice-yearly, print and ebook magazine of Deep Time fiction and poetry. Deep Time encompasses all the strange and remote passages of Earth’s geological past, from the fires of Earth’s formation to the very brink of the Anthropocene. We feature only tales of prehistory and its denizens, whether we see humans traveling to the past, ancient creatures brought to the present, or strange tales that mingle the two.

Submissions for the first issue of The Mesozoic Reader are closed. The first volume should be published in September 2021.

Submissions for the second issue will be open 1 January 2022 through 15 February 2022, or until the issue is filled. These dates are provisional. Please check our Twitter for current updates!

Editor: Rick Hollon (they/them or fey/fem). Read my bio here!

Stories and poetry of any genre are welcome, so long as dinosaurs or other prehistoric creatures are a central element. Science fiction about time travelers stranded in the Cretaceous, heroic fantasy about adventurers braving a Lost World, queer romance set in the swamps of the Carboniferous, meditation on change and loss in the Paleocene, otherworldly horrors emerging from the Precambrian, contemporary poetry about fossils—the only limits are the eons of Earth’s geological past! Up-to-date scientific depictions of prehistoric creatures and their time periods are preferred, but have fun and tell a good story, even if it means swamp-dwelling sauropods fighting cavemen.

Follow our Twitter: @MesozoicReader.

Content. No racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, bigotry, fascism, or exploitative gore or sex.

No fan-fiction—original works only. If you have an original story to tell that just happens to be set on an island theme park where dinosaurs have escaped, it better be compelling! (Though we might do a pop-up issue of Jurassic Park-inspired writing at some point!)

Works from LGBTQIA+, Black, Indigenous, and similarly marginalized authors are especially encouraged.

We want to help normalize the practice of content warnings. If your submission contains materials that might warrant a content warning, please provide one in your cover email.

Payment. If your story or poem is accepted for publication, you will be paid $10US via Venmo, PayPal, or by mail (your choice). You will also receive one contributor’s copy of the issue in which your story appears. All submissions must include a valid mailing address, unless you choose not to receive your contributor’s copy.

Rights. We ask for one-time non-exclusive serial print and electronic rights, and electronic archival rights. All other rights remain with the author.

Length. Stories should be between 1000 and 15000 words. Poetry can be up to 100 lines.

Language. At this time, sadly, we can only consider submissions in English.

Formatting. Use the standard short story manuscript format. We find it particularly helpful if you underline, rather than italicize, italics in your text.

Submit through email. Email submissions as .doc, .docx, or .rtf attachments to mesozoicreader@gmail.com. Absolutely no compressed folders will be opened. Make your subject line “Title” by Your Name. Please allow up to thirty days for a response, though we generally try to respond within two weeks. All submissions will get a response. If you haven’t received a response within thirty days, please feel free to query!

Simultaneous submissions are fine. If your piece is picked up elsewhere, please let us know as soon as possible so that it can be removed from consideration.

Only submit one story or up to three poems at a time. If you receive a rejection, wait at least one week before submitting a different story or poem.

Reprints. Reprints are welcome as long as you have the reprint rights. Please include the original publication details of your piece in your cover email.

Rejections. Most rejections will be form rejections. Sadly, I’m unable to offer feedback at this time.