18 November 2017

A sci-fi short story competition hosted by the National Space Centre in collaboration with Literary Leicester Festival.

(Award Ceremony: 18 November 2017)

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Unleash Your Imagination!

On Saturday 18 November 2017, the National Space Centre will welcome award-winning science fiction writers Alastair Reynolds and Philip Reeve as part of the annual Literary Leicester festival. This is a four day, completely free literature festival hosted by the University of Leicester.

In anticipation of this special event, we’re delighted to announce our first ever sci-fi short story competition, in collaboration with space and literature experts at the University of Leicester. If you love space and sci-fi as much as we do, then unleash your imagination, ponder the cosmos, and get those creative juices flowing!

You have until 1 September 2017 to submit your entries, with prizes awarded to age category winners on 18 November 2017. All competition rules are listed below. You can also register your interest and receive competition updates by joining our dedicated mailing list.

UPDATE: We have our winners!

After a busy month of judging, we now have our winners for our inaugural Sci-Fi Shorts Competition. Each winning story will be published on our Blog on the dates listed below, and linked here for easy reference.

Ages 16 and up:

Winner: ‘In Gagarin’s Time’ by Laura Ward from Hampshire. Published: Friday 10 November

Runner-up: ‘Bunker Mentality’ by Paul Starkey from Nottinghamshire. Published: Friday 27 October

Ages 15 and under:

Winner: ‘In Armstrong’s Footsteps’ by Ashley Tan Mei-Lynn from Gloucestershire. Published: Friday 3 November

Runner-up: ‘Lost In Space’ by Giles Carey from Leicestershire. Published: Friday 20 October

 

There were also two stories so memorable that we felt they deserved a new category –

Honourable Mention:

‘What is it, Leavine?’ by Adair Cole from Leicestershire. Published: Friday 6 October

Space Debris’ by Andrew Doubt from Leicestershire. Published: Friday 13 October

 

Congratulations to all our winners and a huge thank you to everyone who took part!

Award ceremony will take place at 12:30 on Saturday 18 November at the National Space Centre, as part of the Literary Leicester sci-fi events.

Competition Rules

1. Write an original space sci-fi short story.


2. Feature some real space science or space technology within the story
, but also be creative and imagine what could be possible.
The sky is not the limit! Read our blog, explore the websites of NASA and the European Space Agency, and get inspired by the majesty and mystery of our Solar System, our universe, and our astronaut explorers.


3. Incorporate a historic space artefact, such as a space craft, a rocket, or a rock from space.
For inspiration, visit our blog to learn more about our crown jewel artefacts housed at the National Space Centre. We’ll be featuring each of these space artefacts in a series of blog posts from April to July, so stay tuned!


4. Stories can be no more than 1500 words.
This is a strict limit. There is no minimum word limit, but stories must have a plot, even if it ends in a cliff-hanger!

Requirements

Anyone young or young-at-heart can get involved.

One winner and one runner-up will be selected from each of the two age categories:

Ages 15 and under
Ages 16 and up

Deadline for entries is 1 September 2017.

Winners announced on 1 October 2017 and will be awarded their prizes at the National Space Centre on the 18 November 2017.

You must be a UK resident to be eligible.

Judging

Entries will be judged based on the following criteria:

Originality
Plot
Space science behind the story
Creative use of a space artefact
Enjoyment

The judging team will include space experts and sci-fi enthusiasts from the National Space Centre, as well as space and literature researchers from the University of Leicester.

How to Enter

Submit entries via email to spacecomms@spacecentre.co.uk with the subject line ‘sci-fi shorts’.

In order to be eligible to win, you must include your full name, permanent address, and contact phone number or email.

You must be a current UK resident in order to be eligible to win.

Entries from children must be submitted by an adult on their behalf.

Entries must be received by midnight on 1 September 2017 to be eligible to win.

Subscribe to our dedicated sci-fi shorts mailing list

Prizes

Ages 15 and under:

Winner receives an illustrated, double-sided poster featuring original artwork from the award-winning designers at NSC Creative and the text of their winning story, signed by sci-fi authors Philip Reeves and Alastair Reynolds, to be presented by the authors at the Literary Leicester event on 18 November 2017*. Winners also receive a signed copy of a Philip Reeves’ book and an annual family pass to the National Space Centre.

Runner-up receives a signed copy of a Philip Reeves’ book and an annual family pass to the National Space Centre, to be presented by the author at the Literary Leicester event on 18 November 2017*.

Ages 16 and up:

Winner receives an illustrated, double-sided poster featuring original artwork from the award-winning designers at NSC Creative and the text of their winning story, signed by sci-fi authors Philip Reeves and Alastair Reynolds, to be presented by the authors at the Literary Leicester event on 18 November 2017*. Winners also receive a signed copy of an Alastair Reynolds’ book and an annual family pass to the National Space Centre.

Runner-up receives a signed copy of an Alastair Reynolds’ book and an annual family pass to the National Space Centre, to be presented by the author at the Literary Leicester event on 18 November 2017*.

All winner and runner-up stories will also be featured on the National Space Centre blog.

*Please note that travel to the National Space Centre cannot be provided. If unable to attend, the prizes will be posted to the winners.

Image Credit: James Lewis

NEW! Sci-Fi Shorts Writing Workshop

Need inspiration? Create fantastic new worlds, heroes, and adventures in our upcoming SciFi Story Writing Workshop!

5 August 2017 – 10:00-12:00 – National Space Centre

Bring along your favourite pen and your best ideas, and we’ll provide the rest. This workshop will also include a 30-minute guided tour of our crown jewel artefacts to get you inspired. Workshop led by our in-house team of space and scifi experts. Spaces are free but limited to the first 30 writers, so book quickly to avoid delay!

To find out more and to book tickets, click here.

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Check back regularly for updates