Stephen Lawson of Louisville, KY, has won the grand prize in the 2018 Jim Baen Memorial Award competition for his short story "Homunculus." The Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Contest has been held annually since 2007 and is open to all levels of experience. Stephen is no stranger to the contest; he was first runner up in 2017. The contest is focused on stories of human space exploration and discovery, with an optimistic spin. First runner up in this year's contest is "Dangerous Company" by C. Stuart Hardwick of Houston, TX, and the second runner up is "Falling to the Moon" by Wendy Nikel of Layton, UT.
Judges for the award were the editors of Baen Books and special guest judge, author David Drake. Stories were judged anonymously. The Jim Baen Memorial Award will be presented May 26, 2018, in a ceremony at the annual International Space Development Conference held this year in Los Angeles, CA. The winner receives professional publication of the story in June 2018 at the Baen.com web site, where new fiction is featured each month.
"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 Baen Books founder, Jim Baen," said William Ledbetter, contest administrator. "It's a wonderful opportunity for the winner to meet scientists and space advocates from around the world."
The contest occurs annually and looks for stories that demonstrate the positive aspects of space exploration and discovery. Over the years, the contest has developed an international character. In addition to the United States, entrants have hailed from Argentina, the Czech Republic, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Algeria, Spain, and Morocco.
"Moon bases, Mars colonies, orbital habitats, space elevators, asteroid mining, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, realistic spacecraft, heroics, sacrifice, adventure—that's what we're looking for," said Ledbetter. "And once again we believe we've found writers, and an ultimate winner, who deliver just that."
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