CZP Philosophy

Our Philosophy: What We Publish & Why

ChiZine Publications is willing to take risks. We’re looking for the unusual, the interesting, the thought-provoking. We look for writers who are also willing to take risks, who want to take dark genre fiction to a new place, who want to show readers something they haven’t seen before. CZP wants to startle, to astound, to share the bliss of good writing with our readership.

What’s Dark Genre Fiction?

We say “dark genre fiction” because too much time is spent fighting over SF vs. horror vs. fantasy. If there’re dragons, it’s fantasy . . .

Unless they’re bio-engineered dragons, then it’s SF . . .

But a dragon apocalypse might be horror . . .

We want stories using speculative elements—magic, technology, insanity, gods, or insane-magic-technology-gods all in one—to show the dark side of human nature. The good guy can feel—and act on—anger, hatred, vengeance just like the villain. Heroes don’t always win, conclusions don’t always wrap things up nicely, and sometimes things can take a turn that’s just plain weird . . . even for the genre.

Is Genre Fiction Standing Still?

Larger presses are sometimes forced to play it safe: plots and stories we’ve seen before, because that’s what the public seems to crave. Teenage vampire angst; multi-book sword and sorcery series; and spaceships, fleet admirals, and invading aliens. Sometimes it can feel like we’re all just reading the same stories, over and over, just in slightly different settings.

Right now, we’re seeing strong and original genre ideas, but too often they rely on standard plots, the same settings, and two-dimensional characters that serve the plot instead of having inner motivation. These are “safe” stories—not particularly challenging, and effortless to consume and digest.

Because we’re a smaller outfit, we can take some risks—find authors and manuscripts that are trying to move the genre forward.

Come With Us!

CZP wants fiction that takes that next step forward. Horror that isn’t just gross or going for a cheap scare, but fundamentally disturbing, instilling a sense of true dread. Fantasy that doesn’t necessarily need spells or wizards to create a world far removed from ours, but that imbues the story with an otherworldly sense by knocking tropes on their heads. Science fiction that isn’t just about space travel and gadgets, but about what it means to be human—or what it means not to be.

We want to give our readers characters we genuinely care about. Stories that, if you removed the genre element, could still stand on their own.

“New weird” and “slipstream” are labels that come to mind, but despite any kind of moniker, above all, we’re out to publish well-written character-driven stories. The single most important quality we look for at CZP is resonance.

Bottom-line: If you like one CZP book, chances are, you’ll like them all.

—Sandra Kasturi, Samantha Beiko, and Brett Savory