In the wake of Earth’s hottest year on record, the effects of climate change are more apparent than ever. But how do we come to grips with the consequences on the ground, for actual people in specific places? Paolo Bacigalupi, renowned for his climate fiction novels and short stories, believes the answer lies in story: “Fiction has this superpower of creating empathy in people for alien experiences. You can live inside of the skin of a person who is utterly unlike you.” If our political responses and our empathy for people besieged by the consequences of climate change fall short, perhaps we need new stories to help us imagine possible futures shaped by climate change and our reactions to it.
Last year, the Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative at Arizona State University hosted the 2016 Climate Fiction Short Story Contest, inviting writers from around the world to submit speculative fiction stories exploring climate change, narrating a world in flux. We were thrilled to receive submissions from 67 different countries, and to publish 12 finalists in a digital anthology, Everything Change.
For the 2018 Climate Fiction Short Story Contest, we are broadening the scope, enthusiastically inviting submissions in all genres of short fiction, including speculative, realistic, literary, experimental, hybrid forms, and more. Climate change is so massive and sometimes so ineffable that we need all of the tools of narrative to adequately understand it and share stories and experiences about it.
The contest will once again be judged by science fiction legend Kim Stanley Robinson, award-winning author of many foundational works in climate fiction, along with other climate fiction experts from ASU.
The winning story will receive a $1,000 prize. Nine finalists will receive $50 each. The winner and finalists will be published in an online anthology, which will be free to download, read, and share.
The deadline for submission is February 28, 2018, with the finalists announced in summer 2018. All submissions must be received through our online submissions manager at https://everythingchange.submittable.com.
- Imagining Climate Futures: Your submission in some way should illustrate or explore the impact of climate change on humanity and/or the Earth, in the present or the near- or moderate-term future.
- Scientific Accuracy and Understanding: Your submission in some way should reflect current scientific knowledge about climate change, though you have full artistic freedom to exaggerate, embellish, and invent fictional conditions and situations.
- Climate Challenges, Human Responses: Your submission may illuminate and invite reflections on a climate-related challenge that individuals, communities, organizations, or societies face today, or might face in the near to moderate-term future. Examples include daily decisions and behaviors, policy-making and politics, strategy and planning, moral responsibility to the future, investment in R&D or technologies, and public health issues.
- Channel: All submissions must be received through our online submissions manager at https://everythingchange.submittable.com to be considered for the contest. Submissions that are received through other channels will not be considered for publication. There is no entry fee.
- Volume: Each author may submit one piece of work to the contest.
- Length: Work must be less than or equal to 5000 words.
- Language: While the presence of other languages in the text is acceptable, the majority of the work must be written in English.
- Genre: All genres, styles, or forms of short fiction will be considered. Academic reports or other examples of hard non-fiction will not be considered for publication.
- Blind: No identifying information should appear anywhere within the document. Our judging process will be blind: judges will not have access to any identifying information about the authors, including their names, places or origin, or ages.
Participants must be 18 years or older. U.S. and international submissions are welcome. ASU students and employees are welcome to participate.
Faculty and staff currently affiliated with the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing and the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University are ineligible for consideration or publication.
Everything Change is free to download, read, and share in PDF and EPUB formats here at the Imagination and Climate Futures website, and at the Apple iBooks and Kobo digital book stores.