Three-Lobed Burning Eye (3LBE) is a speculative fiction magazine published online (thrice per year) and print anthology (every other year). Each issue features four 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What We Publish: Original unpublished speculative fiction.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 at a time.)
Reprints: No. (Do not submit stories previously published in 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. (For areas where this method is not available, we will find an alternative.)
Response Time: Within 90 days
Submission Status: We are currently open to submissions. All submissions through March 4, 2023 have been read and responded to. Please query if you haven’t heard back from us.
Original speculative fiction: horror, fantasy, science fiction. We publish short stories from across the big classifications and the shadows between. We will consider suspense or western, though we prefer it contain some speculative element. We like narrative 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 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 encourage writers who identify as BIPOC and/or LGBTQIA+ to share their voices.
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 acknowledgment as first printed.
3LBE does not feature media tie-in fiction, 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 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 a cosmic horror tale, though we prefer that you make the story your own.
For legal reasons, writers must be at least 18 years old.
Any submission found to include plagiarism text or text generated by AI or machine software will be rejected, and the submitter banned outright.
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 our 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, we only want your best. If you receive an acceptance, please wait to make any revisions until further correspondence.
Brief cover letters are appreciated, perhaps your top few publishing credits and any relevant experience. Please refrain from summarizing your story in the cover letter.
Before cutting and pasting your submission into the online submission form, please format italics with surrounding _underscores_, indicate section breaks with # symbol, and do not add extra manual line breaks between paragraphs. And do not worry about single- or double-line spacing. It may look different in the online form, but will transmit intact.
Read a few issues of 3LBE to see what we publish. Write something better. Explore, challenge, be original.
Read widely in all genres. Beware clichés, hackneyed plots, thin characters, and wish fulfillment. There is nothing wrong with tropes and trends, but we are interested in new explorations of ideas. Strive for depth, texture, and imagination.
Critter’s Black Hole tracker
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. 1–14 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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March 28, 2023 — NEW! Issue 38 is live today. Read stories 1 & 2 online, or buy the full ebook.
Nov. 29, 2022 — Issue 37 is live today. Read stories 1 & 2 online, or buy the full ebook.
July 19, 2022 —Issue 36 is live today.
Always! — Prints of cover artworks are now available from the store.
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3LBE Volume VIII print anthology is out now.
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