sci fi magazine closes submissions chatgpt ai tool writing

Popular Sci-Fi Magazine Suspends Submissions Due To Influx Of AI-Written Stories

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Sci-Fi and ChatGPT: This probably won’t be the last submission application to close.

Clarkesworld, a popular sci-fi and fantasy magazine, says that it is halting story submissions: “it shouldn’t be hard to guess why,” the magazine tweeted.

The publication then proceeded to share a thread on Twitter detailing its experience with AI-written stories:

Clarkesworld magazine on Twitter. Source: @clarkesworld

Sci-Fi and ChatGPT: AI-written text

Artificial intelligence-powered content generators, from ChatGPT to Midjourney as well as Google’s own Bard, have all been raising eyebrows over the last few months. 

ChatGPT’s release has caused much controversy surrounding the use of the tool to produce written work, especially in schools. Just last week, a university in the US issued an apology for using ChatGPT to write a condolences email after a mass shooting. 

However, Microsoft’s aggressive integration of the viral chatbot into its search engine Bing and Teams seems to signal that the trend of using AI-assisted tools for work isn’t going to fade away anytime soon. Even Google’s own Bard chatbot is facing its own criticisms, after it gave a wrong answer to a question during a demo, causing Alphabet Stock to drop by $100B. 

Founded in 2006, Clarkesworld publishes monthly editions of its sci-fi magazine online via e-book format, and original fiction in paperback. Clarkesworld’s submission guidelines under its ‘Fiction’ section currently reads: “We are not considering stories written, or assisted by AI at this time.”

Sci-Fi and ChatGPT: “A Concerning Trend”

The magazine’s editor, Neil Clarke, wrote a lengthy blog post about Clarkesworld’s encounter with plagiarism and AI-generated content.

Supplying a graph, he says the number of spam submissions resulting in bans reached 38% as of February 15, when he wrote the blog post.

“In 15 days, we’ve more than doubled the total for all of January.”

On February 20, he added that submissions reached 50 before noon, forcing the him to close submissions.

Updated graph showing a spike in spam submissions which led to bans. Source: Neil Clarke, Clarkesworld,

Making A Quick Buck With ChatGPT

The magazine stressed that this phenomenon is “largely driven by ‘side hustle’ experts making claims of easy money with ChatGPT.”

“Anyone caught plagiarising was banned from future submissions. Some even had the nerve to complain about it. ‘But I really need the money.’,” he wrote in his blog post.

Clarkesworld clarified that closing story submissions is temporary, but it has not yet set a date on when it will reopen.

Clarke notes that “this isn’t a game of whack-a-mole that anyone can ‘win.’ The best we can hope for is to bail enough water to stay afloat.”