Three-Lobed Burning Eye (3LBE) is a speculative fiction magazine published online twice per year (usually Spring and Fall) and print anthology (every other year). Each issue features six original stories, some with audio readings. 3LBE was founded by editor Andrew S. Fuller in 1999.
Please read some issues of the magazine and these guidelines to learn what we publish before submitting.
What We Publish: Original, unpublished speculative fiction.
Word Count: Short story 1001–7500 words, flash fiction ≤1000 words, (2000–5000 preferred)
Simultaneous Submissions: No. (Do not submit story to another publication simultaneously.)
Multiple Submissions: No. (Do not submit more than one story.)
Reprints: No. (Do not submit stories previously published, including: print, online, audio, or via Patreon.)
Language: English (We welcome translations from around the world.)
Pay Rate: $100 for short story, $30 for flash fiction; plus one copy of print anthology
Rights: We purchase first world electronic rights, with non-exclusive archival rights, optional first audio rights, and non-exclusive anthology rights for the anthology printed later. Payment is made within 30 days of publication via PayPal.
Response Time: Within 90 days
Submission Status: We are currently open to submissions. All submissions through July 29, 2021 have been read and responded to. Please query if you haven’t heard back.
Original speculative fiction: horror, fantasy, science fiction. We’re looking for short stories from across the big classifications and the shadowed places between: magical realism, fantastique, slipstream, interstitial, and the weird tale. We will consider suspense or western, though we prefer it contain some speculative element. We like voices that are full of feeling, from literary to pulpy, with styles unique and flowing, but not too experimental. All labels aside, we want tales that expand genre, that value imagination in character, narrative, and plot. We want to see something new and different.
We believe in diverse characters and points of view in fiction; and encourage authors of every race, culture, creed, gender, orientation, expression, status, age, and ability. We are interested in seeing more Black voices, voices of color, Indigenous voices, LGBTQIA+ voices, and voices from around the world.
Issues of 3LBE magazine include audio readings. If your story is accepted, you will have the option to record your story, have a colleague do so, or one of our narrators.
If your story is published in 3LBE, we ask that you wait two issues before submitting again. If your 3LBE story is later reprinted in another publication, we would appreciate an acknowledgement as first printed.
We are not interested in fan fiction, novel excerpts, or memoir. We do not publish poetry or non-fiction (reviews, essays, interviews). We are not currently considering reprints or outside artwork.
We are not looking for what has been called “extreme horror.“ Please avoid needlessly excessive descriptions of violence or gore.
We do not publish erotica per se, but we don’t mind some hotness in context of the story.
Though 3LBE’s title echoes a line from an H. P. Lovecraft story, our publication is not a Cthulhu Mythos-themed venue. We’re open to the occasional cosmic horror tale, though we prefer that you make the story your own.
For legal reasons, writers must be at least 18 years old.
We only accept electronic submissions via our online form (linked below). We do not accept email submissions or attachments, so your full story must be pasted into the online submission form. If after 90 days you do not hear from us, feel free to query.
If you receive a rejection, please wait at least seven days before submitting again. Please do not respond to rejections, even to say thank you, or to resubmit revisions of rejected stories. We regret that we are unable to offer feedback. Also, please limit your submissions to a few in a calendar year. If you receive an acceptance, please wait to make any revisions until further correspondence.
Brief cover letters are appreciated. Include your top few publishing credits and any experience relevant to the story. Please refrain from summarizing your story in the cover letter.
Before cutting and pasting your submission into the online form, please format italics with surrounding _underscores_, and indicate section breaks with # symbol (not for paragraph breaks), and do not add extra manual line breaks. Single- or double-line spacing does not matter.
Read a few issues of 3LBE to see what we publish. Write something better. Explore, challenge, be original. We only want your best.
Read widely in the science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, and other genres. Beware clichés, overused language, hackneyed plots, cheap thrills, thin characters, and wish fulfillment. There is nothing wrong with tropes and trends like vampires, werewolves, ghosts, zombies, serial killers, faeries, superheroes, or aliens; but we are interested in new explorations of ideas. Don’t rely on cleverness and twists. Strive for depth, texture, and imagination.
American Fantastic Tales ed. Peter Straub
The Book of Fantasy ed. Jorge Luis Borges
Dangerous Visions ed. Harlan Ellison
The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories ed. Ann & Jeff Vandermeer
Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror ed. Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling et al
New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color ed. Nisi Shawl
Year’s Best Weird Fiction, vols. I–V ed. Michael Kelly et al.
The Best Horror of the Year, vols. 1–10 ed. Ellen Datlow
Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora ed. Sheree R. Thomas
The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy ed. Ellen Datlow
The Dark Descent: The Evolution of Horror ed. David G. Hartwell
Writers whose work we enjoy: Robert Aickman, J. G. Ballard, Clive Barker, Algernon Blackwood, Ray Bradbury, Octavia E. Butler, Italo Calvino, Ted Chiang, Michael Cisco, Julio Cortázar, John Crowley, Harlan Ellison, Jeffrey Ford, Shirley Jackson, M. R. James, Stephen Graham Jones, Franz Kafka, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Kathe Koja, Ursula K. Le Guin, Kelly Link, Arthur Machen, Richard Matheson, China Miéville, Flannery O’Connor, Nnedi Okorafor, Lucius Shepherd, John Shirley, Isaac Bashevis Singer, James Tiptree Jr., Jeff VanderMeer, Gene Wolfe … to name a few.
You have read the guidelines and wish to:
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NEW! Aug. 24, 2021 — Issue 33 is live today. Read the first two stories online, or buy the full ebook.
May 18, 2021 — Volume VII print anthology (issues 25–28) is here. Order now in the store.
April 26, 2021 — We’ve added a list of 3LBE fiction with audio recordings. (A podcast feed is in the works).
Nov. 24, 2020 — The new Issue 32 is live today. Read stories 1 & 2 online, or buy the full ebook.
Oct. 29, 2020 — 3LBE print anthologies are returning! Volume VI (issues 21–24) is now available in the store.
June 9, 2020 — Issue 31 is live today. Read the first two stories online, or buy the full ebook.
June 5, 2020 — Visit our store. Half of our 2020 sales will be donated to Black Lives Matter organizations.
By story, author, or issue:
3LBE Volume VII print anthology is here. Order now in the store