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Writers of the Future Vol 33 (L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future) Paperback – April 4, 2017
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From the Publisher
L. Ron Hubbard Contest Founder
In 1983, philosopher and best-selling author L. Ron Hubbard created the Writers of the Future, a competition that would find and encourage the next generation of writers in the fields of science fiction and fantasy, followed in 1988 by the creation of a sister contest, Illustrators of the Future, to do the same for aspiring artists.
“I initiated a means for new and budding writers to have a chance for their creative efforts to be seen and acknowledged.” — L. Ron Hubbard
The contest is free to enter, and winners receive cash prizes of up to $5,000.
The stories, all of them anonymous, are read by a blue-ribbon panel of judges that include some of the greatest luminaries in science fiction and fantasy. Art pieces by the illustrator entrants are similarly judged by powerhouse artists in the field. And out of thousands of submissions, the judges each quarter choose the top three, the very best.
All of the quarterly winners are invited to attend an intensive, five-day master-class workshop where they are taught the skills and techniques to become true professionals. Then the winners are celebrated at a gala Oscar style awards event.
Past winners of the Writers of the Future Contest have gone on to publish well over 700 novels and 3000 short stories.
“Science fiction does not come after the fact of a scientific discovery or development. It is the herald of possibility.” — L. Ron Hubbard
Orson Scott Card Contest Judge
Orson Scott Card is the author of the SF novels Ender’s Game, Ender’s Shadow and Speaker for the Dead, which are widely read by both adults and younger readers and are increasingly used in schools. Ender’s Game was also made in to a major motion picture. Card also writes contemporary fantasy, biblical novels, the American frontier fantasy series the Tales of Alvin Maker, poetry and many plays and scripts. He has won the John W. Campbell Award, the Nebula (twice), the Hugo (four times) and the 2008 Margaret A. Edwards Award for Young Adult Literature. Card was born in Washington and grew up in California, Arizona and Utah.
He has run an annual “literary boot camp,” an intensive critiquing workshop for aspiring writers; he has also written two books on writing.
Orson Scott Card has been a judge of the Writers of the Future Contest since 1994, having earlier served as a guest instructor at the writers’ workshops, both at Sag Harbor, Long Island and at Pepperdine University in Los Angeles.
“The Writers of the Future Contest gets the best work of new writers with fresh ideas. Reading the winners is like the exhilaration of a brand-new thrill ride—you’ve never heard this voice before, never shared this vision. That’s why the annual anthology is always so good. . . . Writers of the Future simply is the best way to launch a career. It’s one of the forces that keep science fiction alive.” —Orson Scott Card
Anne McCaffrey Contest Judge
Anne McCaffrey (1926 – 2011) was one of the most successful fantasy authors in the latter half of the twentieth century, and was an enthusiastic Writers of the Future judge since 1985. Best known for her Dragonriders of Pern series (which she coauthored with her son Todd McCaffrey). She won the Hugo and Nebula Awards.
Anne McCaffrey received the L. Ron Hubbard Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Contributions to the the Arts in 2004. The Science Fiction Writers of America named her a Grand Master in 2005. She sent the following words to celebrate the 25th Anniversary Awards event:
“Writers of the Future and its artistic counterpart have been sponsored by a visionary like L. Ron Hubbard who wanted to make it easier for all of us to be published. . . . Now you must go forward with even more creative works. Mr. Hubbard has set the scene for you. Get on with it.” —Anne McCaffrey
*Included in this Volume 33, are Anne's personal advice to new writers in the article "A Thousand or so Words of Wisdom"
Brandon Sanderson Judge
Brandon Sanderson is an American writer. He is best known for his Mistborn series and his work in finishing Robert Jordan’s epic fantasy series The Wheel of Time. He as won both the David Gemmell Legend Award and Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice award.
As a new author, Brandon was a WotF finalist, before he became a professional author in his own right, and thus ineligible for further submissions. He became a judge for Writers of the Future in 2015.
"This is the best place to go for a new writer trying to break in. It is the single best contest, simply because of this idea that only amateurs can apply but the prize is pro level prize. And so it has this kind of dual nature that is very useful and all the writers." —Brandon Sanderson
“Pat Rothfuss and I, we are some of the biggest fantasy writers of our generation to break in, and we were both submitting to Writers of the Future.”—Brandon Sanderson
“There s only one reason, to pick up Writers of the Future, and that s because the stories are wonderful.”— Orson Scott Card
“It really does help the best rise to the top.”— Brandon Sanderson
“Any reader would find stories in the anthology that would appeal to them.”— Tim Powers
“An absolute wealth of imagination, adventure, excitement, stimulation and joy, every possible human emotion.”— Sean Williams
“This is a fine collection that will appeal to both fans of science fiction and fantasy short stories and aspiring writers looking for ways to improve their craft.”— Booklist
“A glimpse of tomorrow's stars!”— Publishers Weekly
“A very generous legacy from L. Ron Hubbard a fine, fine fiction writer for the writers of the future.”—Anne McCaffrey, Author
“Writers of the Future is a terrific program for new writers, and goodness knows, there are few enough of those. It has my heartiest support and unqualified recommendation.” —Terry Brooks, Author
“Writers of the Future collection is exciting and engrossing, with stories that range across the spectrum of SF and fantasy. Tried-and-true space opera and epic fantasy, these stories explore new mysteries and ideas.” —Publishers Weekly
“Some of the best SF of the future comes from Writers of the Future.” —David Hartwell Hugo-Award-winning editor
“This collection shows why I'm happy to be a judge for the Writers of the Future Contest it always finds great stories by the new writers who will be winning Hugo and Nebula Awards a few years from now.” —Tim Powers, Author
“It all started when I won the Writers of the Future Contest. Without them, I can honestly say I would not be where I am today.” —Patrick Rothfuss, Author
“The best-selling SF anthology series of all time.” —Locus Magazine
“The Writers of the Future Contest has not only provided a place where new writers could break into print for the first time but it also has a record of nurturing and discovering writers who have gone on to make their mark in the science fiction field. Long may it continue!” —Neil Gaiman, Author
From the Author
My science fiction story, "The Long Dizzy Down" won second prize in the 4th quarter of this contest, and is included in this anthology. All of the other winning stories are also well worth reading! I am honored and grateful to be in such talented company.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
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My honest review is that they were each good enough to sell me on pre-ordering the full anthology.
I was one of the lucky readers who accidentally got their copy early thanks to a mix-up at Amazon. So, I've been slowly making my way through the tales as I also consume a backlog of other works. And here's the truth. Not every story is to my liking, but I haven't read any yet that aren't good.
Which is the same as going to your favorite restaurant. You order the sci/fi with a side of hard boiled science. Because, it's your favorite. And you might miss out on the grimdark side dish that would have really hit the spot. How do you know what new fiction you will like if you don't try it? And anthologies provide that buffet experience that means you don't have to commit to 100k words.
Which brings up another nicety about the WotF series: because they allow longer than normal short stories in their anthology, writers can choose the length which makes their story work to a much greater degree than some other venues. I'm not opposed to artificial word constraints as an aesthetic but I appreciate this freedom too. It's also nice to see a list of past winners and think that some of these writers might also be taking up real estate on my bookshelves.
And finally, the full version includes the winners of the Illustrators of the Future contest who have crafted wonderful illustrations for each of the stories. The ARC did not include the illustrations which, now that I've seen them, is a tragedy.
Of the four stories in the ARC, two stand out to me, Envoy in the Ice is a wonderful science fiction work, that strikes many of the same chords as other first contact stories, but does so incredibly deftly, and has a kind of cinematic feel at times. The narrative always remembers the mysterious and the story is better for it. The illustration also captures this feeling as three arctic-suited figures stare off into the snowy expanse at the unknown.
Obsidian Spire is 180 degrees the other direction. Fantasy instead of Sci/fi. The story is fun and straightforward. And it reads like part of an origin story. Sometimes you just want a big helping of big damn hero. And here it is. And sometimes that big damned hero is also a more fully fleshed out character than a short story protagonist has any right to be. Great job. The illustration is also perfect at capturing this character. Which lends credence to my theory (hope) that we will see more Varga stories in the future (maybe even in the Writers of the Future).
The other stories were also good, A Glowing Heart is right at home in the current crop of coming of age fantasy stories. Well written and visual, it just wasn't my forte. And Adramalech, which might be the best story in the book, but just isn't my demonic cup of tea. The author obviously spent a great deal of time crafting the language of the story to fit the ever-creeping darkness that consumes the reader almost as quickly as the story does. The illustration is also nice (done by the same illustrator who did the perfect Obsidian Spire work) but the content of the story may defy a single picture. You'll have to be the judge.
So far, the other stories have been excellent as well. I'll update this review as I go along.
Of course, the really great thing about this is all in the title - Writers of the Future - because it's a fact. The writers featured here are on the cusp of breaking out. It's happened before, and surely will happen with these talented wordsmiths.
At the core of all great stories are people (not necessarily humanoid) thrown into conflict, and the imagination of the author adds the rich layers of storytelling to convey the things they want the readers to experience on the path that the characters take throughout the journey of the story. No matter how far out, literally or figuratively, the writer takes us, ultimately the reader must identify with the characters to make that journey. These 'Writers of the Future' have accomplished this in such bold and varied ways, that I know that I'll be returning to this volume over and over for many years to come.
There are also pretty amazing illustrations for each prize-winning story included - in color. This by Illustrators of the Future. A really cool thing.
Amongst many, two standouts I'll mention these two as my favorites:
Tears for Shulna - Andrew L. Roberts
Acquisition - Jake Marley
I haven’t had the chance to read all the stories yet, but of the ones I’ve read thus far Obsidian Spire by Molly Elizabeth Atkins is my favorite. I completely devoured the story. The writing in this is beautiful and kept my attention from start to finish with vivid details and images. I love the characters and having a protagonist like Varga made the story all the more interesting, especially when paired with the hilarious Fiske! I think it worked well as a short story in terms of character development and timeframe. It leaves the reader wanting more and and if you are someone who loves adventure stories and action, then this is a story that will meet those expectations. I hope there will be continued stories with Varga in the future. I'm looking forward to exploring the other stories in this anthology.
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