Science fiction publishers are being flooded with AI-generated stories

From Tech Crunch:

Across the 17-year history of Clarkesworld, a renowned literary magazine of science fiction and fantasy, authors have speculated about how evolving, futuristic technology will impact our world. Now, editor and publisher Neil Clarke is living through a debacle that could very well be a sci-fi story in its own right: His magazine in being uncontrollably inundated by short-story submissions created with AI tools.

“It is ironic, I’ll say that much,” Clarke told TechCrunch. Clarkesworld has a reputation for always being open to story submissions, whereas many short-fiction publishers will only take submissions in certain short windows. But for the first time, submission volume got so out of hand that Clarke made what he calls a “spur-of-the-moment decision” to close the submission portal (in the past, Clarkesworld has only briefly closed when upgrading its website or software).

“It’s easy with these tools to churn out hundreds of thousands of works in the time that a human author would produce maybe one or two,” Clarke told TechCrunch. “So what we basically have is a room of screaming toddlers, and we can’t hear the people we’re trying to listen to.”

Clarke isn’t being dramatic. In a blog post, he shared a graph spanning from June 2019 to February 2023, which shows how many monthly submissions his staff flagged as spam. Until the beginning of this year, spam submissions never exceeded 25 per month, while many months had no spam whatsoever. Before closing submissions on Monday, Clarkesworld had received more than 500 spam submissions in the month of February alone. For context, Clarkesworld received around 11,500 submissions in 2022, per Clarke’s blog.

Link to the rest at Tech Crunch

5 thoughts on “Science fiction publishers are being flooded with AI-generated stories”

  1. I tagged the editor with a link to you good site and the Chat GPT detector by ZeroGPT.

    You’d think that someone in the SF field would be more aware of advances going on in science and computing.

    Oh, silly me, I forgot that so many people in the SF field are darlings about literature trying to escape the ghetto that is SF. I could be wrong.

    • What in this article makes you think Clarke is not aware of advances in science and computing?

      • Probably the fact that it appears that the editors decided to shut down their submissions rather than running them through an AI detector.

          • They have a staff of three according to wikipedia.


            It is an online (and Amazon) publication dating back to 2006. They have a fair amount of nominations for the staff and a few wins for “best semiprozine”. Hugo. Lots of nominations, no wins, Locus.

            Of, note: in 2020 they accepted a story titled: I SEXUALLY IDENTIFY AS AN ATTACK HELICOPTER but withdrew it at the writer’s request after a twitter storm.

            Its amazon rankings are #9 in Literary, Sci-Fi & Mystery eMagazines
            #12 in Entertainment & Pop Culture eMagazines
            #20 in Arts, Music & Photography eMagazines.

            $2.99 an issue.

            The publisher?

            “Wyrm Publishing was founded by Neil Clarke in 2007. Neil previously owned and operated Clarkesworld Books, an online speculative fiction bookstore. It was while running the bookstore that he started the Hugo and World Fantasy Award nominated online publication, Clarkesworld Magazine, which now continues as part of Wyrm.”

            ASIMOV’S or ANALOG they ain’t.

            Not to be mean but short story fiction isn’t a terribly big tradpub market these days so this pronouncement might be the biggest notice they’ve ever gotten.

            I suspect the ” flood” of submissions might be a prank or a single scammer. It wouldn’t take much to overwhelm their slush pile skimmer.

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