Contest News



Larry Smithmier:

The building of the Panama canal would be quite an interesting story to throw into space.  The attempted building of a warp gate through an environmentally challenging region of space by an older empire followed by its eventual completion by a young upstart with muscles it isn’t afraid to flex.  Spread the politics a bit and have the French played by a tired empire in full corruption mode with tons of graft and a process that wastes people and America played by a Freehold like libertarian utopia that forces the terms of an agreed upon contract through military might.

A man, a plan, a canal, Panama! => A gate, a lead war & raw deal, Ataga!


Dave Cleric:

The event that I believe should be turned into a science fiction story is that of the 1st U.S. Cavalry, the Rough Riders! Seriously, how can you beat a tale of a volunteer unit lead by a future President invading a tropical island? I know PUT 'EM IN SPACE! You can't beat that with a stick, not even a big one!

Heather Wiedel:

I think that a science fiction twist on the disappearance of the Roanoke colony could be an awesome story. Since the colony disappeared with minimal clues, the episode is a blank slate and anything could have happened, from alien abduction to  a natural disaster moving the entire colony to a new place/time. Additionally the people who would have been in the colony were the type of people willing to live on the part of the map labeled "Here there be Dragons", they were explorers and adventurers as well as settlers and family.

Ian Bonthron:

Before Alexander the Great died, he had visited most of the known world and had conquered it. After his death, the lands fell back into independent rule but they still were influenced by his conquest. In the galactic scene, a single man brought most of the galaxy under his control by conquest (in the first few chapters) but then he dies and the worlds all falls back into the independent realms as before. 100 years later, a  historian follows Alexander's path and sees the impact that the conquest brought the people. 

Michael Donnelly:

The Great Siege of Malta took place in 1565, a bunch of pirates and Turks, came out of their Lurks, and insisted they should own Malta , to which a few knights said Halta.

As little kids slit throats, and the attackers decided they didn’t have enough goats, at one point they almost had the gate,  and an old man named Grand  Master proved just a bit faster.


Melissa Frost:

What would happen if the British Royal family joined Germany during World War One and took the last name Gothika? What if the young Princess Elizabeth was forced to marry the head of the Royal secret police, Hitler, to neutralize a dangerous internal threat? Will Elizabeth use the alien technology she found in the pyramids to support the Asian American Union or the Royal German Empire?


David Rey:

[Harald "Hardrada" Sigurdson would be perfect for a Conan-style Sword and Sorcery story, but Hardrada could also fit in a sliding rule Hard SF -pun intended- space-opera.]

The Battle at Stamford Bridge, where a giant Norse defender was impaled by an English spearman floating on the river below, could work well as a reminder that space battles are supposed to be tri -or even four- dimensional.

Jacob Tito :

I think the British East India Companies conquest of India would make a great inspiration for a science fiction story. Mostly because that same situation could happen if humans came into contact with an alien civilizations, or vice versa! Also it is one of the few times in recorded history a for profit company took on governments, and won...

Stephen Bortner:

In April of 1630, the Black Plague has arrived in Milan, Italy, carried along by the troop movements of the Thirty Year's War, and has begun taking its gruesome toll on the populace. During this back drop, an ominous prediction that the Devil would poison the city's water supply seems to come to fruition through the sudden appearance of unexplainable markings on certain doors and buildings. Panic, plague, and fear of poisoning inundate the city unleashing mass hysteria and mob violence. This setting could easily be woven into innumerable science fiction-oriented directions; however, not in four sentences.

Kim Niemeyer:

 A Science Fiction novel loosely based upon Chinese Admiral Zheng He’s expeditionary voyages during the early 15th Century (Ming Dynasty) would make an excellent choice. Admiral Zheng commanded the largest fleet of warships and merchant vessels ever gathered at the time. He was chosen for his skills as a mariner, as a diplomat, and last, but certainly not least, for his unquestionable loyalty to the Emperor, the admiral was also a eunuch.

Anthony Mancini:

I think that a good era for an interesting Science Fiction story would be the French Revolution. It seems to be a time where little has been exploited though there is an uprising, with that there can be action and adventure, and historical figures who could be heroes and villians. I'd suppose most would go for a steampunk type of story, but I think it'd be interesting to see something more advanced where there could be basic computing tech, maybe some robotics. The famous saying "let them eat cake!" would never be the same again.

Carl Nelson:

1920-1925 A working League of Nations is forming the beginnings of an European Union.

An obscure German house painter/artist is killed in a beer hall riot in Munich.

The moderates retain power in Russia and even bring back a Romanov prince to form a constitutional monarchy.

Money becomes a bit tighter and the American dollar gets stronger.

Amanda Engberg:

As a time plagued by the Cold War, the moon landing and the strange cult of the mysteriously happy people called hippies (which honestly, has to be a conspiracy in itself), the 1960s is the perfect setting for a science fiction story. After all, who can resist a story about aliens, time travel, spies and too many vodkas?

Poor president Nixon had no idea what he's getting himself into.

Also, Neil Armstrong demands to have his boots returned.

Sean Korsgaard:

Though Into the Maelstrom plays with it, I think the early Enlightenment and Industrial era lends itself perfectly to inspiration in science fiction. It was a time of new ideas, radical scientific advancement, clashing personalities and ideology and would mark the beginning of an era of human history we are just now leaving.

More relevantly, as we take our first steps into the equally radical changes of the digital era, it becomes more important than ever to remember the lessons of a time best remembered by the words of Charles Dickens: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

Lara Beilby:

I think Betsy Ross's flag making would make an interesting tale twisted into your Maelstrom world. She was married several times in her life and had several children, and grandchildren long after making the flag for General George Washington. She made the stars with five points since it was easier to make a star with a single cut. You have got to have some ladies in the stories, give a girl the chance to have a heroine to look up to.

Jimmy Simpson:

Continental Congress actually held by creatures from various planets/dimensions. Purpose is to decide where the human race will be allowed to grow, or be controlled. Two or more sides to the situation with multiple plots and undercurrents. Winner takes all.

William Lehman:

I'm thinking (and may attempt to write) an alternate post WWII history where Patton didn't die, and wound up running against Truman.

Dean Gestner:

Base the next novel on World War I, the changing technologies leading to stalemate, misinterpretation of orders from higher command . That would make for a rousing novel, and, besides that, World War I is a war few have written on recently.

Michael Donnelly:

The Great Siege of Malta took place in 1565, a bunch of pirates and Turks, came out of their Lurks, and insisted they should own Malta , to which a few knights said Halta.

As little kids slit throats, and the attackers decided they didn’t have enough goats, at one point they almost had the gate,  and an old man named Grand  Master proved just a bit faster.

Steve Poling:

The US and UK have long been allies, but once Yanks and Brits fought to control North America. The stalemate gave us that chronically polite country up north. Suppose it wasn't a stalemate? Imagine the horror of Major League Cricket or the glory of seven more US NHL teams.

Lynn Bessette:

William the Conqueror was enormous and powerful. Who's to say he wasn't an entity that time traveled, who appeared throughout history in the form of other military figures...Charlemagne, Alexander the Great, Attila the Hun, Hitler? Imagine one person being at the center of war throughout known history as both good and evil.