Positions available at Strange Horizons

Last Updated: 29 August 2016

Call for First Readers

Deadline for applications: Sunday, 11 September 2016

Our first readers read some of the incoming fiction submissions and decide whether to pass them along to the fiction editors. We seek people who like what Strange Horizons publishes. For this call, as we said in this week's editorial, we highly encourage black first readers to apply. We welcome applications from queer, minority, and non-US/UK readers.


  • Read a portion of the submitted stories each week and write a brief summary and comment for each, including characteristics we may be looking for.
  • Pass good and interesting stories along to editors.
  • Send rejection notes (using our semi-automated system) for stories you decide not to take.

Editorial requirements

  • Ability to work well with others in an online setting.
  • Discretion; for example, we'll ask that you not blog about the details of your job, though it's fine for you to publicly say that you have the job.
  • Reliability: the fiction department depends on first readers. We prefer a reader who reads a small number of stories week after week to a reader who reads a large number randomly.

Time requirements

  • Roughly five hours per week of reading, plus up to three hours per week of writing summaries, comments, and rejections. The actual time you spend reading in a given week may end up being less than this, but expect the job to take at least five hours a week; don't expect to be able to squeeze it in during occasional spare moments.
  • Commitment to stay on for at least six months after an initial one-month trial period.

Like all positions at Strange Horizons, these are volunteer positions.

If you're interested, send email to fiction@strangehorizons.com with the following subject line:

FR CANDIDATE: your name here (with "your name here" replaced by your actual name, of course.)

Any of a multitude of salutations within the body of the email are fine, but please don't address your application to just one fiction editor; all of us will be reading your application (generally "Dear Editors," is a good choice).

In the email, introduce yourself, tell us about your relevant experience (if any), let us know a little about why you'd like to join us, and list three to five authors whose short stories (not novels) you particularly like (with emphasis on authors who write speculative fiction). You don't have to have previous first-reading experience or be a writer-- we want to hear from anyone interested in the position.

Then provide a list of three to five of your favorite stories that SH has published. For each story, provide a brief comment, roughly twenty to fifty words, about what you liked about it. Tell us what you really think rather than what you think we want to hear; the main point of this exercise is to help us (and you) decide whether your tastes are likely to match ours, in which case there will be some more screening to make sure we work well together.

We've had the good fortune of working with many talented and hard-working first readers over the magazine's history, and we look forward to adding to their numbers. Thank you for your interest in Strange Horizons!