Positions available at Strange Horizons

First Reader (Fiction)

Our first readers read some of the incoming fiction submissions and decide whether to pass them along to the fiction editors.


  • Read some of the submitted stories each week and write a (very brief) summary and comment for each.
  • Pass good and/or interesting stories along to editors.
  • Send rejection notes (using our semi-automated system) for stories you decide not to take.

Editorial requirements

  • Fairly high degree of overlap with editors' tastes in speculative fiction.
  • Ability to work well with others in an online setting.
  • Comfort reading from a computer screen. (All submissions are via email; printing them all would be prohibitively expensive and wasteful.)
  • 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.)

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 best to 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.)
  • Ability to get through all of the assigned submissions (generally about twenty stories) every week.
  • Commitment to stay on for at least six months after initial one-month trial period.

Email requirements

  • Comfort with email as a medium of communication with editors.
  • Comfort with receiving all submissions via plain-text email.
  • Willingness and ability to check and reply to email (to/from editors) at least once a day.

How to apply

If you're interested in the position, 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 of us fiction editors; all of us will be reading your application.

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).

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.

If we think you sound like a potentially good match, there will be further rounds of screening and interviewing.

Deadline to apply

31 March 2015

Please note that this position, like all positions at Strange Horizons, is voluntary and unpaid.