The Chamber Magazine (Phil Slattery Publisher, Managing Editor, Gopher, Chief Cook and Bottle-washer) publishes short works by new and established writers in the horror and dark genres in most media. One principle that I try to abide by is what I think of as the bullet principle: the smaller a work is, the more power it must pack to be effective.

I am looking for articles, reviews, essays, poems, and short stories of approximately 5,000 words or less including flash, micro fiction, smoke longs, drabbles or of any flavor of short fiction that demonstrates the art of writing dark fiction, whether it be prose, poetry, one-act plays, or any other form of literature.  I want to showcase the genre in all its subtlety, intelligence, art, horror, terror, suspense, thrill-seeking, and gruesome detail. I will also accept dark humor provided it follows the guidelines below with regards to content and good taste.

Be warned that stories published in The Chamber may contain adult language and situations and may not be suitable for people under the age of 18.

Why do I call it “The Chamber”? The words “The Chamber” invokes images of a alchemist’s or sorcerer’s chamber deep within the bowels of a castle or of a wizard’s study where ancient manuscripts containing arcane knowledge of the Black Arts lie waiting to be used for nefarious purposes.  The perfect place to store, discuss, and develop terrifying philosophies and works of horror and other dark matters.

What is “dark fiction”? 

Defining “dark” is problematic. “Dark is perhaps best described as an attitude or a mood versus a genre.

“Dark Fiction” is a broad, nebulous cross/meta-genre that spans all genres. Science-fiction can be dark. Fantasy can be dark. Mainstream literature can be dark. Et cetera. All genres can be dark to some degree. 

The horror genre definitely can be classified as dark, but then so can much or what is considered fantasy, science fiction, literary, or mainstream. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk can be considered dark, although it is definitely not of the horror genre. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad is dark though clearly not horror. 

In the time of the ancient Greeks, plays were divided into two types: comedies and tragedies. Comedies had a happy ending while tragedies had a sad ending. With those definitions in mind, dark fiction could be said to be anything that is not a comedy. something that often has a sad or depressing (i.e melancholy) ending, but not not always.  More specifically, it can be a work of dark fiction whose protagonist can have many difficult struggles and conflicts. 

With this magazine, I hope to post examples of what “dark” fiction can or should be.


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