Long Now is accepting pitches of essays, reported features, interviews, book reviews, shorter articles, fiction and poetry for Ideas, our living archive of long-term thinking. Below you'll find information on the kinds of stories we're looking for, how much we pay, and how to pitch us.
There is wisdom and clarity to be gained from taking the long view. Long Now Ideas gives our readers the context they need to take the long view on every issue we cover. Our stories rise above the ephemeral discourse and contextualize a given topic against a longer temporal backdrop, going further backwards and forwards in time than the typical news story. By ‘further’ we mean decades, at a minimum, and millennia, ideally. How did we get to now, a Long Now story asks, and where might we go from here? The ‘we’ of any Long Now story is ‘civilization.’
Assuming this vantage is not an abdication of the concerns of the here-and-now. On the contrary: we believe that today’s biggest challenges are best solved by understanding their deep origins and possible futures.
We’re after stories that apply this civilizational lens to inspire, educate, and surprise our readers across a variety of subjects and disciplines: climate change and the environment; the preservation of knowledge; the rise and fall of civilizations; the longevity of institutions; biotechnology and artificial intelligence; the history of science and technology; architecture, design and urbanism; the nature of time; space travel; globalization; migration; economics; governance; maintenance; and infrastructure (both physical and intellectual).
About Long Now
"Now" is never just a moment. The Long Now is the recognition that the precise moment you're in grows out of the past and is a seed for the future. The longer your sense of Now, the more past and future it includes.
- Brian Eno, Long Now Co-Founder
The Long Now Foundation is a nonprofit established in 01996 to foster long-term thinking and responsibility. Our work encourages imagination at the timescale of civilization — the next and last 10,000 years — a timespan we call the long now.
We hope to help each other be good ancestors. We hope to preserve possibilities for the future.
Stories to Pitch and Past Examples
Below you’ll find some links to recent stories to give you a sense of our tone, topical range, and what we’re looking for. We’re hoping to expand that topical range — and the kinds of stories we publish — considerably. That’s another way of saying that just because you might not see the kind of story you’d like to pitch represented below does not mean we wouldn’t be interested in publishing it.
Reported, argument-driven, or photo essays (1,200 - 3,000 words)
- Some two billion people now live in countries where the population is smaller each evening than it was in the morning. Are we ready to normalize depopulation?
- Welcome to the age of the commodification of air.
- In 19th century Iceland, reframing aggressive nature as a source of belonging shaped a myth that built a more resilient future. We can do the same.
- The only continent with no history of human habitation, the vast ice fields of Antarctica have formed a blank slate onto which humanity can project itself: all of itself, from the imperial superego to the conspiratorial id.
Long-form reported narrative features (1,200 - 3,000 words)
- Without maintenance, most digital information will be lost in just a few decades. How might we secure our data so that it survives for generations?
- A new genetics study is shedding light on the deep legacy of colonization on the people of Brazil.
- Datasets spanning decades and nature apps are expanding our ecological attention span into the long now.
- Finland’s nuclear waste experts have, for decades, quietly envisioned distant future ecosystems. Exploring their thinking anthropologically can expand our awareness of time.
- As climate migration pushes wildlife in Zimbabwe’s lush Eastern Highlands to extinction, how can this region find ways to adapt?
Interviews with the thinkers, artists, and makers whose projects and ideas foster long-term thinking and responsibility (2,000 - 3,000 words)
- We often think about long-term thinking as going beyond the time scale of the individual. But it can also be something that you practice in your daily life. We spoke with Hal Hershfield about his new book, Your Future Self, and how we can think long-term about our own futures.
- To think responsibly and comprehensively about what the future may hold, any good forecaster needs to think beyond precise extrapolations and wander responsibly into the world of speculation. Futurist, science fiction author, and Long Now member Andrew Dana Hudson’s work helps guide us into that world of speculation.
- Many books have been written about the ideas and projects of Long Now co-founder Stewart Brand. John Markoff’s Whole Earth (02022) is the first about the life of Stewart Brand. The result is a vital, nuanced, and necessary portrait of a human being who has always floated upstream of the mainstream.
- Vincent Ialenti’s Deep Time Reckoning (02020) describes long-term thinking as an imaginative exercise — a “calisthenics for the mind.”
- Melodysheep’s viral video, “Timelapse of the Future,” is a cinematic journey that ventures trillions upon trillions of years into the future to explore how the universe ends.
Short-form Science Journalism, News, and History
Articles breaking down the latest long-term thinking news (scientific papers, studies, projects, trends), profiling fascinating and forgotten examples of long-term thinking from the past, or exploring how today’s technological interventions are being applied to the past to make us reconsider what we thought we knew (500 - 1,200 words)
- The island country of Tuvalu is moving towards the virtual world as climate change threatens its physical territory.
- Fandom memory offers a lens through which to understand the challenges of knowledge preservation between generations and across technologies.
- A piscine biomedical tradition stretching from Ancient Egypt to Colonial Guyana helped create the first batteries.
- A new study sheds light on the precise mechanism through which Stonehenge may have told time.
Science Fiction Stories
Imaginative speculations at the timescale of civilization. We’re interested in stories that take unexpected angles on the future and the past, honing in on details that you only see when you take a longer view. (1000 - 4000 words)
- In “The Mammoth Steps,” translation technology and norms of interspecies communication make possible a deep friendship between a boy and a de-extincted mammoth.
- This short story looks towards 02123, imagining a future Pantone Color of the Year that nods to insect sentience: Cochineal Red.
Work that engages with long-term thinking and time in whatever ways you see fit. No restrictions on form or length.
- “Consequences of Perspective” by Eleonor Botoman
- “Five Poems” by Chivas Sandage
- “Four Poems” by James Steck
Payment varies depending on the kind of story, the reporting involved, and the time commitment. Payment starts at $600 for features and essays, and ranges between $300 - $600 for interviews, book reviews, and short-form science journalism and news articles. We pay $100 for science fiction stories and $25 per poem (with a maximum of four poems per submission).
How to Pitch
For non-fiction pitches: send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Pitch” in the subject line followed by a proposed headline. In the email, describe what you're hoping to write about and how it's relevant to Long Now's topical and temporal focus. If you're pitching an essay, give us a sense of the argument you're making. If you're pitching a feature, give us a sense of the narrative structure, who you plan to speak to, and any other key logistical details. If your pitch is time-sensitive, let us know. You're welcome to provide relevant bylines and a brief bio.
For fiction and poetry, send an email to email@example.com with a subject line noting whether your submission is fiction or poetry. Attach a draft of your submission to the email. Feel free to contextualize the work with a sentence or two in the body of the email.
We are a relatively small team of editors and reviewers. While we endeavor to respond to pitches and submissions in a timely manner (within three weeks), we cannot guarantee a response to all inquiries. If you don’t hear from us within a month, it is likely that we are not interested in your submission.
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