Sarena Ulibarri earned an MFA from the University of Colorado at Boulder and attended the Clarion Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers' Workshop at UCSD in 2014. Her short fiction has appeared in Lightspeed, NewMyths.com, The Colored Lens, Kasma SF and elsewhere. She currently lives in New Mexico with her husband and their Welsh Corgi. Find more at sarenaulibarri.com.
Along with Assistant Editor Laura Harvey and Editor-in-Chief Eileen Wiedbrauk, Sarena Ulibarri will be reading queries for novels, novellas, serialized fiction, and single author collections in the open submission months of February, June, and September.
While we are open to all forms of fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction if they are done well, we asked Sarena Ulibarri to share what sorts of speculative fiction projects she hopes to find in the slush this year:
I am seeking fresh and interesting new worlds in Science Fiction and Fantasy, and complex characters who are uniquely shaped by their world. I tend to value stories about ordinary people working through extraordinary circumstances more than stories about privilege and inheritance. We need diverse books, and I would love to see protagonists who are women, people of color, disabled, or LGBTQ. Characters of any stripe need agency and depth.
Right now I'm most interested in futuristic Science Fiction, either on-planet or off. A scientific foundation is great, but it's more important to follow the rules of fun than the rules of physics. I adore aliens and monsters, whether benevolent or malicious, and space travel, whether FTL or realistic. Mad scientists can be a lot of fun, provided we're not left with a fear-mongering or anti-science sentiment. I'm not necessarily looking for utopian stories, but I prefer SF that shows a positive or hopeful view of the future, or that has a lighthearted or even humorous tone. Bonus points if your futuristic world prominently features plants and animals. I'm happy to look at contemporary or near-future SF as well, especially if it critiques or satirizes current issues.
In Fantasy, I love supernatural creatures (especially atypical ones), mythology, unlikely heroes, and interesting magic systems. The lines between Fantasy and Science Fiction often get thin around far-future civilizations or other planets, so cross genre mash-ups are fine. For Secondary World Fantasy, I'm looking for stories with something other than a medieval European aesthetic. Let me peer into a world I've never seen before, or one I haven't seen very often, whether it's based on a different historical period or is entirely of your own creation. I'm also interested in Urban/Contemporary Fantasy (where fantastic elements are integrated into the mundane world) or Portal Fantasy (in which a character goes back and forth between the mundane world and a fantastic world), so long as the two worlds are intricately connected. If it's speculative or weird but doesn't quite fit within established genre lines, I'm intrigued by that, too.