Guidelines

“A good critic will exercise her imagination to find value in a book before she delivers the death blow.”

To submit a title for us to review:

If you are an author or a small publisher and have a title (book, magazine, film, story, game, album, performance, exhibit, etc.) you'd like to offer for review in TFF, please get in touch with nonfiction@futurefire.net(*) in the first instance, giving the one-line details of your work: "Author, Title. Publisher, year. Pp. 00. ISBN 000-0-0000000-0-0. Price. (five word summary)". E.g. "Catherine Lundoff and JoSelle Vanderhooft, Hellebore and Rue: Tales of Queer Women and Magic. Lethe Press, 2011. Pp. 238. ISBN 978-1-5902-1377-3. $15.00. (Short story collection: lesbian magic-users)".

(*We do review fiction; all reviews come under the purview of our non-fiction editor.)

No need to send a spec copy, either paper or digital; we'll only ask you for one if a reviewer wants to take a look at it.

Please let us know whether you are able to provide print or electronic copies. Note that our reviewers are spread all over the globe; if you're not willing to send a book overseas, please don't offer us print copy. If you don’t specify we’ll assume you’re offering electronic only.

We will consider all subgenres of speculative fiction (and related nonfiction), regardless of author or medium, including self-published work, but we are especially interested in seeing more books by and about women, people of color, LGBTQIA, disabled people, people with nonwestern languages and religions, and other under-represented groups.

Due to the volume of offers we receive, we can't reply immediately to all offers of items for review, but we will include all titles in our reviews listing, which is sent to our reviews team monthly, and if someone expresses an interest in reviewing it this month, we'll get back to you and ask you to send a copy to them. (This does not guarantee that a review will appear, although it almost certainly will.) We cannot of course guarantee a positive review; we expect our reviewers to be honest and fair in their assessment of books.

For reviewers:

The reviews team (including the editors) are all volunteers; we do not pay for reviews—although you get to keep the title you've reviewed.

To offer a review or to join the reviews team please contact nonfiction@futurefire.net to query before sending your writing (subject line: "TFF query: review"). Reviews should be critical and balanced; very few works are all bad or all good. Show that you have read/watched the work sensitively and carefully. A TFF review is generally a discussion and interpretation of a piece of work rather than merely a description and summary of the contents; at the very least consider what the work is about rather than merely what it contains.

Please title your review as follows:
Author, Title. Publisher, year. Pp. ISBN. Price.
Reviewed by ... .
The typical TFF review is between 1000-2000 words, and may be longer. There is no maximum length if the subject warrants more discussion. (Very short or otherwise limited works may lead to shorter reviews, too.)

In your review, please italicize all titles of books, films, magazines etc. Individual stories, poems or articles in a collection should be placed in ‘bold and single quotation marks’ (please use smart quotes). Author's names in multi-authored anthologies should also be bold alongside their story titles. Please keep any formatting apart from these to an absolute minimum.

A review should cover some or all of the following points:
  • The first paragraph should be an abstract of the whole review: summary, important issues, hint at judgement, ask the question you're going to answer in the conclusion to the review;
  • general background and outline (avoiding egregious spoilers), possibly including relevant information about the author/publisher/production team, their reputation and history
  • detailed critique of issues of interest to TFF and the speculative fiction community, for example: academic background; intertextuality; political position, assumptions, or message; science and technology; social conscience, environmentalism, feminism, queer, race, etc.
    • if an in-depth critique really requires a spoiler, then go ahead; you might like to check this with the editor if unsure.
  • quality judgements, perhaps including comments on realism, standard of writing/presentation/composition, characterization and plot development, reader engagement, overall success of piece
  • If reviewing a collection or anthology, try to say something in-depth about the volume as a whole, as well as about at least 3-4 of the most significant contributions.
Most reviews should try to avoid:
  • summarizing or retelling the story at length with no analysis or discussion
  • major spoilers for their own sake—already mentioned above, but particularly relevant for reviews of recent works
  • ad hominem attacks, or criticism of a work for being in a genre not to your taste, or for not being what you would have written on the subject
  • hyperbole, gushing either in praise or criticism, unprofessional tone or language
For more suggestions as to what makes a good review, see: