One unique thing to speculative fiction is some kind of speculative element. Every story we hold-for-voting has a speculative element. By speculative element I mean an element of fantasy, science fiction, and/or macabre horror. This could be characters such as: elves, witches, vampires, werewolves, secondary-world royals, aliens, robots, AIs, ghosts, murderers, etc. Or, it could be situations, e.g. what would happen if we got immortality? Or, it could be setting, e.g. outer space or a spooky haunted mansion. The point is: there must be some kind of speculative element. If not: rejection. Sorry, not sorry.
Once in a while we get a story in which we can't tell for sure if it has a speculative element, e.g. alternate histry (is it alternate enough?). Those we just have to take on a case by case basis. Those sometimes cause arguments at the production meeting.
Anyway, rest assured we are working hard on the awesome August 2017 issue. Stay tuned for more info!