Submissions for Mixtape: 1986 are closed.


The Dread Machine seeks submissions for our first annual anthology. Our theme this year is 1986. Submissions close on February 25th, 2021.


Do you remember a time before the internet? Before we each carried a lifeline in our pockets? Before security cameras documented everything? Back when parents didn’t worry about their kids until after the street lights popped on? Do you remember how it felt to step into the neon-lit arcade on a Friday night, your pockets heavy with quarters?

For our very first anthology, we’re seeking dread-inspiring stories that take place in 1986—either the 1986 of our reality (Stranger Things) or an alternate version (Tales From the Loop). Bring us back to a simpler, scarier time. Let’s make something radical together.


+ All submissions must inspire dread. Genre definitions tend to be subjective, so we encourage you to become familiar with the stories we’ve published here to get an idea of what sort of content we’re seeking.

+ All submissions must be original, unpublished, and between 3,000 and 10,000 words.

+ Authors are permitted to submit multiple stories, but none may be simultaneously submitted anywhere else.

+ The plot of your story must actively take place in 1986. We aren’t looking for stories that reminisce; avoid framing your story as a “back in the day” narrative.


Authors whose stories are accepted for publication will receive payment ($0.08 per word), a free copy of the premium hardcover, and two free copies of the paperback.

What's the password?

Login to your account

Stay informed