When we opened the short-story competition in July of 2015, we had little idea how much interest it would arouse. We soon learned: the competition page has been by far and away the most frequently visited on the blog (with over 15,000 views to date), and the details were widely reblogged and reposted.
Our aim was to stimulate interest in the project, and to solicit provocative and entertaining fiction that would address the project’s themes. We wanted new work that would excite us in the way that canonical SF has already informed the direction of this project.
I’m confident we’ve succeeded. We’ve had a huge number of stories entered, many more than we anticipated. I would have felt content with 150 entries. By the final deadline, we had received 634. Simply cataloguing and preparing them for judging was a substantial task for our project’s Research Assistant, Anna McFarlane. Even printing them out was a logistical challenge that in the end required the dedicated services of Glasgow University’s Print Unit.
Judging is underway. Each entry will be read in the first sift by at least two members of our four-person judging team. Their task is assess each story according to its originality, relevance to the competition theme, style, and structure. Their careful, attentive deliberations over the coming weeks will produce a final shortlist of around 20 entries, and our aim is to have this shortlist ready to announce for our project conference in July.
The shortlisted stories will go to our guest judge, the award-winning science fiction author, Adam Roberts. He will choose the top three stories for the prizes of £300, £200, and £150 (the remaining runners-up will each receive £50). And all the shortlisted stories will of course be published in the paperback competition anthology by Freight Books.
Our thanks go to everyone who entered: you’ve made this a hugely successful competition. Please bear with us as the hard work of judging continues apace.