Since its early days, science fiction has played a unique role in human civilization. It removes the limits of what "is" and shows us a boundless vista of what "might be." Its fearless heroes, spectacular technologies and wondrous futures have inspired many people to make science, technology and space flight a real part of their lives and in doing so, have often transformed these fictions into reality. The National Space Society and Baen Books applaud the role that science fiction plays in advancing real science and have teamed up to sponsor this short fiction contest in memory of Jim Baen.

2016 Winners
award

GRAND PRIZE

"Dear Ammi"
by Aimee Ogden

SECOND PLACE

"To Lose the Stars" by Jennifer Brozek

THIRD PLACE

"Cylinders"
by Ronald D. Ferguson

award
Contest Rules
  • Write a short story of no more than 8,000 words, that shows the near future (no more than about 50-60 years out) of manned space exploration.
  • No entry fee. But please only submit one story...your best one!
  • No reprints.
  • All entries must be original works in English. Plagiarism, poetry, song lyrics, or stories that utilize characters or settings from another person’s works will not be considered.
  • E-mail submissions only. Send entries as .RTF attachments to: baen.nss.contest@gmail.com
  • Please put the word SUBMISSION in the subject line when sending a contest entry and QUESTION in the subject line for questions to the contest administrator.
  • Please include the following in the body of your email: The title of the work, the author's name, address and telephone number, and an approximate word-count. The manuscript should be a RTF attachment, in standard manuscript format and should be titled and numbered on every page, but the author's name MUST BE DELETED to facilitate fair judging.
  • Employees of Baen Books, NSS and previous Grand Prize Winners are not eligible. Previous Second and Third place winners are eligible.
  • Contest opens for submissions on October 1, 2016 at 12:01am EDT. (Entries sent before that date will be deleted unread.)
  • Deadline - 12:01am, U.S. Pacific Time, February 1, 2017.
  • The ten finalists will be announced no later than March 8, 2017.
What We Want To See

Moon bases, Mars colonies, orbital habitats, space elevators, asteroid mining, artificial intelligence, nano-technology, realistic spacecraft, heroics, sacrifice, adventure.

What We Don't Want To See

Stories that show technology or space travel as evil or bad, galactic empires, paranormal elements, UFO abductions, zombie stories, thinly veiled copies of previous winners, non-standalone novel excerpts, screenplays.

Judges

Judging will be by Baen Books editors Hank Davis, Jim Minz, Tony Daniel, David Afsharirad, and best selling Baen author David Drake.

Prizes
  • The GRAND PRIZE winner will be published as the featured story on the Baen Books main website and paid at the normal paying rates for professional story submittals, currently .07/word. The author will also receive an engraved award, free entry into the 2017 International Space Development Conference, a year's membership in the National Space Society and a prize package containing various Baen Books and National Space Society merchandise.
  • SECOND and THIRD place winners will receive free entry into the 2017 International Space Development Conference, a year's membership in the National Space Society and a prize package containing various Baen Books and National Space Society merchandise.
  • The three winners will be announced and notified no later than March 22, 2017. The winners will be honored at the 2017 International Space Development Conference in St. Louis, MO, May 2017. (We would prefer the winner attend the conference, but it is not required.)

( * Note: Publication details will be worked out between winner and Baen Books. In the unlikely event that none of the stories qualify for professional publication, a cash prize, of an amount equal to the amount it would have earned had it been published, may be substituted in lieu of publication.)


Previous Winners

2015 WINNERS
GRAND PRIZE
"We Fly"
by K.B. Rylander
SECOND PLACE
"A Metal Box Floating Between the Stars"
by Jamie Lackey
THIRD PLACE
"Boomerang Zone"
by Robert Dawson
2014 WINNERS
GRAND PRIZE
"Low Arc"
by Sean Monaghan
SECOND PLACE
"Balance"
by Marina J. Lostetter
THIRD PLACE
"Wind Shear"
by Angus McIntyre
2013 WINNERS
GRAND PRIZE
"The Lamplighter Legacy"
by Patrick O'Sullivan
SECOND PLACE
"Intent to Occupy"
by Ronald D. Ferguson
THIRD PLACE
"Improvising at Branson Six"
by Sean Monaghan
2012 WINNERS
GRAND PRIZE
"Taking the High Road"
by R.P.L Johnson
SECOND PLACE
"Scramble"
by Martin L. Shoemaker
THIRD PLACE
"One Cog"
by James Wymore
2011 WINNERS
GRAND PRIZE
"That Undiscovered Country"
by Nancy Fulda
SECOND PLACE
"Gemini XVII"
by Brad Torgersen
THIRD PLACE
"Natural Selection"
by Michael Simon
2010 WINNERS
GRAND PRIZE
"Space Hero"
by Patrick Lundrigan
SECOND PLACE
"Citizen-Astronaut"
by David D. Levine
THIRD PLACE
"High Ground"
by Sean Monaghan
2009 WINNERS
GRAND PRIZE
"Cathedral"
by Michael Barretta
SECOND PLACE
"Burst Mode"
by Patrick Lundrigan
THIRD PLACE
"All The Way"
by Graham Storrs
2008 WINNERS
SECOND PLACE
"Skipping Stones"
by Darwin Garrison
THIRD PLACE
"Self Defense"
by Charlie Allery
2007 WINNERS
GRAND PRIZE
"A Better Sense of Direction"
by Mike Wood
SECOND PLACE
"Anniversary"
by Robert Billing
THIRD PLACE
"Acclimatization"
by Michael A. McPherson