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Contests & Awards

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Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award

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.

2018 Winners

award

GRAND PRIZE

“Homunculus”
by Stephen Lawson

SECOND PLACE

“Dangerous Company”
by C. Stuart Hardwick

THIRD PLACE

“Falling to the Moon”
by Wendy Nikel

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.

Entries can be from any country.

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
  • 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, 2018 at 12:01am EDT. (Entries sent before that date will be deleted unread.)

Deadline - 12:01am, U.S. Pacific Time, February 1, 2019.

The ten finalists will be announced no later than March 8, 2019.

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 2019 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 2019 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, 2019. The winners will be honored at the 2019 International Space Development Conference in Arlington, VA, June 6-9 2019. (We would prefer the winner attend the conference, but it is not required.)

Previous Winners

2016 Winners

Aimee Ogden

SECOND PLACE

"To Lose the Stars"
by Jennifer Brozek

THIRD PLACE

"Cylinders"
by Ronald D. Ferguson

2015 Winners

K.B. Rylander

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

Sean Monaghan

GRAND PRIZE

"Low Arc"
by Sean Monaghan

SECOND PLACE

"Balance"
by Marina J. Lostetter

THIRD PLACE

"Wind Shear"
by Angus McIntyre

2013 Winners

Patrick O'Sullivan

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

Richard Johnson

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

Nancy Fulda

GRAND PRIZE

"That Undiscovered Country"
by Nancy Fulda

SECOND PLACE

"Gemini XVII"
by Brad Torgersen

THIRD PLACE

"Natural Selection"
by Michael Simon

2010 Winners

Patrick Lundrigan

GRAND PRIZE

"Space Hero"
by Patrick Lundrigan

SECOND PLACE

"Citizen-Astronaut"
by David D. Levine

THIRD PLACE

"High Ground"
by Stuart D. Gibbon

2009 Winners

Michael Barretta

GRAND PRIZE

"Cathedral"
by Michael Barretta

SECOND PLACE

"Burst Mode"
by Patrick Lundrigan

THIRD PLACE

"All The Way"
by Graham Storrs

2008 Winners

David Walton

GRAND PRIZE

"Letting Go"
by David Walton

SECOND PLACE

"Skipping Stones"
by Darwin Garrison

THIRD PLACE

"Self Defense"
by Charlie Allery

2007 Winners

Mjke Wood

GRAND PRIZE

"A Better Sense of Direction"
by Mjke Wood

SECOND PLACE

"Anniversary"
by Robert Billing

THIRD PLACE

"Acclimatization"
by Michael A. McPherson