Angry Robot’s acrostic story competition

Paul Raven @ 08-02-2010

Just a quick heads-up for those writers among you who, like myself, find themselves better motivated to write when faced with a deadline, a stylistic restriction and a small potential reward: new UK genre press Angry Robot have just announced their latest just-for-fun short story competition. The rules are simple, so I’ll quote ’em in full:

Write a short story about any subject you like. The only rules are:

  1. It has to be 13 sentences long
  2. The first word of the first sentence must begin with T, the first word of the second sentence must begin with H, the first word of the third sentence must begin with E, and so on, so that the first letters of the sentences, printed one under the other, spell out “THE WORLD HOUSE”.

The best entries will be sent to Guy Adams for judging, and the winner gets an Angry Robot USB drive plus a choice of any book Angry Robot published in 2009. No geographical restrictions.

Send your entries (in Word or RTF format) to: theworldhouse [AT] angryrobotbooks.com

Competition ends Sunday 14th February.

A bit of fun for your Monday morning, there. Maybe I should start running some little contests like this here at Futurismic – what do you think?


Transhuman equality? Athletes with a prosthesis do not have an unfair advantage

Paul Raven @ 05-11-2009

Remember all the fuss last year about Oscar ‘Bladerunner’ Pistorius, the amputee athlete who was banned from competing against able-bodied runners in the Olympics because the authorities were concerned that his prosthetics might give him an unfair advantage? Well, it turns out that the authorities guessed wrong – recent research suggests that, far from conferring a performance edge, Pistorius’ blades are more likely to be putting him at a disadvantage:

Simon Choppin, a sports engineer at Sheffield Hallam University, said the Pistorius controversy rested on whether his prosthetics increased the efficiency of his limbs, allowing him to achieve higher speeds for less effort.

“So, simply, you can move the prosthetic quicker and you’re ready for the next step faster than someone who has a leg,” said Choppin. Another possible advantage was that the prosthetics might allow the athlete to get back more of the energy they put into the track compared with able-bodied athletes. “But this [Grabowski] paper suggests you’re at a disadvantage if you’ve got one of these blades.”

We can hope that the competition authorities will look at research like this and allow transhuman athletes to compete alongside everyone else, at least until more advanced prosthetics confer a genuine and insuperable advantage (which is bound to happen eventually). But given competitive sport’s strong role in maintaining the mythology of the perfect conformist human body image – think back to the disgusting treatment of Caster Semenya, for example – I suspect they’ll find some other reason to keep the Olympics “pure” and “fair”.


Genetics-themed short story competition

Tom James @ 28-01-2009

esheepVia Ken Macleod, Pippa Goldsmith of the genomics forum has launched a competition for short stories concerning genetics themes:

Can we truly control our behaviour and exercise free will if our genetic makeup influences our behaviour and the choices we make in life?


Can we blame crime on genes? Who should hold information about our genes? Who should have access to it? What should be the priority, public safety or personal freedoms?


Can an understanding of genes help feed people in developing countries? Do the advantages outweigh the risks?

Max 3000 words, closing data 31st March, £500 first prize – check it out.

[image from Winfairy on flickr]


Win Wyndham’s five cozy catastrophes

Paul Raven @ 16-10-2008

The Midwich Cuckoos - John WyndhamGood news if you’re a fan of classic British sf novels – Penguin Books have just republished five of John Wyndham‘s “cozy catastrophe” books with fresh new artwork, and there’s a competition over at Forbidden Planet where you can get the chance to win them all by answering a ridiculously easy-to-Google question.

The only catch is that you have to sign up for a Forbidden Planet account (if you don’t already have one), but there’s worse outfits to get the occasional email from than a comics and genre fiction specialist, AMIRITE?


Writers – remix Rosenbaum’s Ant King and win the book

Paul Raven @ 12-09-2008

Benjamin Rosenbaum - The Ant King and Other StoriesVia Kathryn Cramer at Tor comes news that Benjamin Rosenbaum has decided not merely to release his new Small Beer Press collection of short stories, The Ant King and Other Stories, as a free Creative Commons-licensed download, but also to openly invite people to create derivative works for the chance to win a signed copy of the physical book.

Here are the rules:

  1. Create a derivative work of any story in The Ant King and Other Stories
  2. Place it under the same license (you do this just by including a declaration to that effect on the work in its published form)
  3. Post a link to the work (or some kind of recording or representation of the work, like a youtube video if it’s a live performance, or a picture of it if it’s, like, a vase or something) in the comments to this blog entry.
  4. Derivative works can be translations, plays, movies, radio plays, audiobooks, flashmob happenings, horticultural installations, visual artworks, slash fanfic epics, robot operas, sequels, webcomics, ASCII art, text adventure games, roleplaying campaigns, knitting projects, handmade shoes, or anything else you feel like.
  5. On March 3, 2009 (that gives you six months), I will send signed (and extensively doodled-upon) hardcover copies of The Ant King and Other Stories to the creators of the three derivative works that I like the best.
  6. Obviously, other than what’s covered in the CC license, you retain all rights to your works, so if you’ve made, you know, House-Beyond-Your-Sky-themed coasters, you get to sell them or put drinks on them to keep rings off your coffee table or whatever. And if you want to actually sell the rights to reproduce the derivative work commercially, I will in all probability tell you that you can, unless you’re, like, a Hollywood studio. 🙂

Could be quite a fun project, no?


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