Grimdark Magazine’s statement on AI technologies

Last Updated on February 22, 2023

Clarkesworld has paused submissions while they figure out what to do about the deluge of AI submissions they are receiving. With that in mind, we are overdue releasing our position on AI work and AI assisted work, and discussing the impact on 2023 (and ongoing’s) open window.

AI artwork

Grimdark Magazine will not knowingly use AI artworks for our covers or advertising. We will continue to pay human artists and designers to create artwork for humans. Our agreements will be updated to reflect this position.

Some AI art looks cool as all hell, but for me, art is human expression created by human hands. I love handing what money we have to people like those I sat with in art class drawing space marines and knights for all those years in school, and designers like my mother who used to turn muscle car photographs into magazine covers on a light box before moving to Corel Draw, Photoshop, and InDesign.

That matters to me, and it matters to the team, and will remain our stance, ongoing.

AI fiction and non-fiction

Grimdark Magazine will not knowingly accept and publish AI generated or assisted short fiction or articles. Our agreements will be updated to reflect this position.

In addition, Beth and I (and the other team members we’d need to loop in to do an open window) do not have the resources to sift through the levels of AI generated submissions we believe an open window will receive. As Neil said, many of those stories are relatively easy to spot, but at the rate AI learns, we can expect it to keep just getting harder to detect at a rapid rate.

We still volunteer our time to put together this magazine, and it takes a lot of hours to create a quarterly issue or anthology. I just don’t see the upside to burning out the team on this problem until there is a reliable tech solution that is affordable for our operating budget.

Therefore, Grimdark Magazine is is pausing future open window plans for 2023 and will continue on a solicitation-only basis until we have an efficient solution.

Recognising the impact

One of the reasons I started GdM was to provide a market for people who wrote grimdark fiction–both established and newer authors. Those authors might be from less well recognised areas of the world like APAC (where I’m from) or Eastern Europe or LATAM, who struggle to breach western markets. They might be marginalised people looking to get their voice out there. They might be somebody’s mum who only ever gets to be on a cover once and this is it. They might be the next big thing looking for a credit to put on their pitch letter.

To those people, I am sorry.

I get it. It’s a shit situation. I don’t write this with a solution in mind. I don’t have one, yet. I’ll be keeping an eye on the market and dig into it when we can so we can run a very overdue open window without sinking huge amounts of our time into AI generated rubbish.

Stick with us. This is a big topic in our tiny corner of the industry. I’ll keep putting out updates as I have them, as I would love to find a way to run a submissions window this year.

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Adrian Collins

Adrian Collins

Adrian Collins runs Grimdark Magazine and loves anything to do with telling darker stories. Doesn't matter the format, or when it was published or produced--just give him a grim story told in a dark world by a morally grey protagonist and this bloke's in his happy place. Add in a barrel aged stout to sip on after a cheeky body surf under the Australian sun, and that's his heaven.