Preston Dennett on stage

24 Things

I’m still excited after winning the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future competition

When I got the call that I won 2nd place in the Writers of the Future Contest, I screamed, I cried, I laughed, I did my happy dance. I had entered 47 times. I finally did it!

From 1988–1992, I did my best to become a sci-fi writer. But I couldn’t do it. All the magazines, and of course, the Writers of the Future Contest, rejected my stories. I gave up on my dream. Then, starting in 2009, I decided to give it another try. I had wandered the desolate plains of total rejection before, and I was terrified. Could I do it?

I began getting lots of rejections, including four from the WOTF Contest. Then I got my first honorable mention, followed by another. Soon I earned more, but I just couldn’t get past the honorable mention status. I wanted a silver HM, or a semi-finalist, or finalist! I started to get discouraged.

Meet Topanga Canyon

But I didn’t give up. Especially when I found out that I had a secret identity. Some of you may have heard of “Topanga Canyon,” the subject of a cautionary tale taught by Dean Wesley Smith, who appeared in Volume 1 of the WOTF volumes and is today one of the judges. In his workshop, Dean talked about a promising young writer who the editors were excited about. Everyone was wondering who was going to be the first to publish his stories. Even book editors showed interest. Then suddenly, he disappeared, never to be seen again.

Well, allow me to introduce myself. I’m Topanga Canyon, and I’m not giving up again. I discovered my secret identity on the WOTF forum. If you want to win this Contest, you are making a huge mistake if you don’t check out the forum! It was there that I got the encouragement, knowledge, and advice to keep entering.

Interview with Preston Dennett & Dean Wesley Smith, The Topanga Canyon Never Give Up Story

Getting that call from Joni Labaqui will forever be one of the best moments of my life. I had read all the WOTF volumes several times. I loved all the stories in them. And now, mine was one of them! I was so excited, I couldn’t contain myself. So, I did what I always do, I decided to write about it. I quickly discovered that there were 24 things that I was stupidly, insanely, and obsessively excited about. I wrote each thing down and braced myself for all of them to happen.

I was also able to talk about the realization of my dream on the first day of the workshop.

My 24 Things

Fast-forward several months later, and now that I’ve experienced all of them, I can say that I was right to be excited about every single one of them. Here they are, in some inexplicable order:

  1. Seeing my name on the WOTF website blog showing the list of winners. Amazing! Must stop clicking on it! I admit it’s been over a year since it appeared, and I occasionally still take a peek at it, just to make sure I’m not dreaming.
  2. Reading my story (and the others, of course) in the book. I’ve read all the volumes. Now my story will be in there. Wow! Now that I have read the new volume, I’m once again delighted. The stories are amazing. They’ve all got that quirky, original and creative twist that makes the WOTF stories so unique.
  3. The weeklong workshop taught by the best in the field. I bow humbly and am ready to learn. This turned out to be so much more than I expected. Having lunch with Dean Wesley Smith at the local burger joint, having a cocktail with Tim Powers at the hotel bar, a long list of guest speakers, all powerhouses in the field. I could go on! My notebook is filled, and my brain is trying to contain it all.
  4. The generous prize money. Always nice. So nice. (PS: Got it! It was nice.) And then I got paid pro-rates for the story itself too. Wow!
  5. The trophy. I seriously can’t wait. So, I’ve got my trophy now. It sits in the center of my dining room table, at least for now! You should see how it bends the sunlight.
  6. Meeting the judges. Very nervous, many questions. Okay, I’ve met them. All the judges were incredibly humble and welcoming. They were very knowledgeable and answered all your questions, and others you didn’t even think of asking.
  7. Meeting fellow winners. Always room for more lifelong friends. OMG, this was perhaps my favorite part! Hanging out in the hotel room, going to the local bar, lounging by the pool, talking about our speeches, trying to find a place in Hollywood to eat lunch, I will remember them always. What a great group of friends!
  8. Reading the stories in my quarter. I got second place. What story beat mine? What story got third place? So, fast-forward again. I’ve read the story that beat mine. And I can see why it won first place. And I’ve read the story that placed third in my quarter, and I have to admit, it’s one of my favorites of the entire volume. I loved it.
  9. Seeing the artwork for my story. Please have tissues ready. Lots of tissues. This turned out to be sooo amazing. And yes, I needed the tissues. I’ll just leave it at that.
  10. Giving my speech on stage. I’ve spent years on this one … not even kidding. I attended the WOTF awards nine times, always in the audience. Now I walked on stage as a winner. I was nervous, but I couldn’t have been happier. My main problem was, I was one of the last to give their speech, and all the other speeches before mine were starting to make me cry.
  11. Reading my bio. Yeah, I already know about me, but this is different. Seeing my bio in the WOTF, wow! I’ve always loved that the WOTF books include not only stories but bios and essays from the judges. It’s so amazing to be a part of a contest that has helped launch so many monumental careers.
  12. Seeing the cover of Volume 35. Haven’t seen it yet. Pretty darn excited about it. Saw it. Love it!
  13. Meeting Joni Labaqui, the long-time Contest Director. I couldn’t believe it when she called me telling me I had won second place. Still can’t believe it. I had met her briefly attending the ceremonies before, but now as a winner, it was different. All the people who run the Contest were truly incredible. They made me feel like a real writer, in a good way!
  14. The autograph session after the ceremony. So many times, I’ve gotten the autographs. Now I shall be giving Surreal! And ***coughs*** just the beginning. So, yeah, this happened. There were so many people, I actually got cramps in my hand. And who do I see before me, smiling, and holding a book for me to sign? Tim Powers! No kidding. I have the photo.
  15. Staying in a hotel in … wait for it! Hollywood! Hollywood! ***Cue the singing!*** So yeah, this was truly amazing. What a contest!
  16. Reading reviews of the book. Already bracing myself. So, the reviews are coming in. And they are quite favorable, thank you, humbly. I’m not sure why, but my favorite review is from an Amazon reader who said that my story was their favorite! And I didn’t even have to pay them! (Much … just kidding!)
  17. Being able to put “I won the Writers of the Future Contest” on my resume and cover letters. Slush pile? What slush pile? So yeah, this actually works. I even got a personal congratulation from the editor of a long enduring, pro-level magazine.
  18. Recognition! By winning the Contest, I got an invitation-only opportunity to submit to a pro-level publication. It happened! And my story has been accepted! Fourth pro-level story!
  19. Telling my family, friends and co-workers and fellow writers that I won. This was so much fun. Get ready for some hugs and congratulations! And do not tell them what your story is about. Let them read it in the book. Stay strong, do not give in!
  20. Reading the blurb for my story in the front of the book. I’ve read them for other stories. What will they say about mine? I know, it seems like a little thing, but when I saw it, I felt those tears again. It’s just one small sentence, but it captures my story perfectly. I won’t give it away here. Buy the book. You won’t be disappointed.
  21. Finding out what order my story is in the book. A weird thing to wonder, I admit, but what can I say? I’m weird. I might be first, yeah! I might be last? Yeah! Anywhere in the middle, which is fine with me. I don’t know why I even think of this, but I’m looking forward to seeing it. So, now I’ve got the book. My story is last! And I’m so happy! My words will the last words that the reader sees.
  22. Seeing how many pages my story takes up in the actual book. I already have a rough idea, of course, but I want to know exactly. So, my story occupies thirteen pages — really a very small section of the entire book. There are shorter stories, and some much longer. It’s one of the things I love about the WOTF volumes, they take all different lengths.
  23. I just know there’s something I haven’t thought of yet, and it’s gonna be amazing. The award dinner? The tuxedo? The book offers … I just know there’s something! Fast-forward and yes, there is, and I’m not saying what they are. There are too many, and frankly, it’s better a surprise.
  24. The confidence. Out of the thousands of anonymous entries, my story was chosen. Now I know for sure, I can do this. And that alone is the best prize of all!

So, there you go! Those are the 24 things that I’m still excited about after winning the Writers of the Future Contest. And I hope that they are also 24 reasons to inspire you why you should enter the Writers of the Future Contest, and win! As someone who entered 47 times, I can tell you, it was sooo worth it! Don’t give up!

Preston DennettPreston Dennett has worked as a carpet cleaner, fast-food worker, data entry clerk, bookkeeper, landscaper, singer, actor, writer, radio host, television consultant, teacher, UFO researcher, ghost hunter and more. He has written 22 non-fiction books and more than 100 articles about UFOs and the paranormal. But his true love has always been speculative fiction. After a long hiatus, he started writing again in 2009. He has sold 37 stories to various venues including Allegory, Andromeda Spaceways, Bards & Sages, Black Treacle, Cast of Wonders, The Colored Lens, Grievous Angel, Kzine, Perihelion, Sci Phi Journal, Stupefying Stories, T. Gene Davis’ Speculative Blog, and more, including several anthologies. He earned twelve honorable mentions in the L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest before winning 2nd place for Quarter 1, 2018, (Volume 35), his third professional sale. He currently resides in southern California where he spends his days looking for new ways to pay his bills and his nights exploring the farthest edges of the universe.



Illustrators of the Future Workshop

Art Workshop

At the Illustrators of the Future art workshop for 2019, winners learned secrets to perfect their art and how to succeed at the business of illustration. Several famous illustrators gave the contest winners insight into becoming successful professionals; knowledge not taught in universities and treasured as much (if not more) than winning the illustration contest itself. Click here for more information on the Illustrators of the Future.

Award-winning artists Echo and Lazarus Chernik along with fellow judges delivered this year’s workshop, including L. Ron Hubbard Lifetime Achievement Award-winners Bob Eggleton and Larry Elmore and Val Lakey Lindahn, Rob Prior, Sergey Poyarkov, and special guest Brian C. Hailes.

The contest winners and published finalists are flown in from the around the world to attend this exclusive art workshop. Aspiring illustrators enter three pieces of their artwork. They must be science fiction, fantasy, or horror, in nature and they must follow the contest rules to qualify. The contest is free to enter and artists retain all rights to their work—they give none away.

Illustration Workshop

New York Times bestselling author L. Ron Hubbard started the Writers of the Future Contest in 1984, writing that:

“In these modern times, there are many communication lines for works of art. Because a few works of art can be shown so easily to so many, there may even be fewer artists. The competition is very keen and even dagger-sharp.

“It is with this in mind that I initiated a means for new and budding writers to have a chance for their creative efforts to be seen and acknowledged.” —L. Ron Hubbard, in L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 1

L. Ron Hubbard recognized the importance of fantasy and sci-fi art to complementing a story—he sensed what he defined as a “creative synergy” between the written word and the art that illustrates it. Mr. Hubbard studied art and illustration, and many of his discoveries on color, lines, and what defines the quality of art are covered in the workshop.

The workshop instructors, Echo and Lazarus Chernik, give the essentials of illustration, provide real examples drawn from their hard-won experience, and do practical exercises to push illustrators to go further faster.

Art Workshop topics:

  • How to make a good illustration great
  • How illustration is different from fine art
  • Teaming up with artists and art directors
  • Art portfolios, best practices
  • Portfolio presentations, best practices
  • Studio management, best practices
  • Illustration jobs and how to freelance successfully
  • How to write contracts
  • How to win clients and influence people
  • One-on-one portfolio reviews from illustration legends
  • And so much more

Famous Illustrators

As has become tradition, the final days of the art workshop feature candid advice from the judges, past contest winners, and professionals in the industry. They shared their wisdom and tips on how to be a successful artist, giving the winners the benefit of years of experience to help launch their careers.

This year’s Illustrators of the Future art workshop included presentations and art portfolio reviews from: Val Lakey Lindahn, Sergey Poyarkov, Larry Elmore, Rob Pior, Bob Eggleton, Dr. Laura Brodian Freas Beraha, Marianne Plumridge, Brian C. Hailes, and Maryse Alexander, Marketing Director Galaxy Press.

Marketing Plan

The President Galaxy Press John Goodwin, Public Affairs Executive Emily Goodwin, and Lazarus Chernik took the final day to cover the business of illustration and writing: marketing and selling books. Special guests, Dave Chesson, CEO Kindlepreneur, provided insight about Amazon and tips for the new writers and illustrators get started, and Bill Fawcett, American editor, book packager, game designer, and fiction writer spoke about targeting one’s marketing and exceptions to the rules.

Topics included:

  • What is marketing
  • Marketing strategy
  • Online marketing
  • How to brand yourself
  • How to do media interviews
  • How to do book signings
  • Selling on Amazon

Illustrators’ Success

Writers and Illustrators are now ready to build their careers on a foundation for success. Over the years, hundreds of our winners have gone on to enjoy professional careers—the largest success rate of any workshop or contest for aspiring artists. Winners have gone onto receive all of the major science fiction and fantasy awards, including the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy, and industry awards such as the Emmy and even an Oscar.

Past winner and award-winning illustrator Artem Mirolevich, shared his experience with winning the contest and attending the art workshop: “The experience of flying to the west coast, being treated like a star, and also being given an opportunity to learn from some of the best illustrators in the business was priceless. It helped me believe in myself, believe that anything is possible, and that the sky is the limit.”

How to Attend the Illustrators of the Future Art Workshop

Do you want to attend next year’s workshop?

The first step is to complete three illustrations or paintings and submit them to the illustration contest. Only submitted artwork has a chance of winning, and only winners and published finalist are invited to this exclusive art workshop.

To get ahead of the competition, we recommend that you review previous books in the series. This will not only give you an idea of the quality of past winners, but there are also essays with advice on art from L. Ron Hubbard and the judges of the contest, all Grand Masters of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Tap here to download a Writers of the Future volume for free.


History of the Illustration Workshop

The Illustrators of the Future contest began five years after the writing contest was launched. Frank Kelly Freas, the Dean of Science Fiction Illustration, originally led the workshops with these masters of illustration: Bob Eggleton, Frank Frazetta, Will Eisner, Jack Kirby, Moebius, Val Lakey Lindahn, Edd Cartier, Vincent Di Fate, Diane and Leo Dillon, Paul Lehr, Ron Lindahn, Alex Schomburg, William Warren, Jr., and H. R. Van Dongen. Today, that list goes on including Larry Elmore, Shaun Tan, Rob Prior, Sergey Poyarkov, and Laura Brodian Freas Beraha.

Contest resources:

Contributed by Lazarus Chernik, Illustrators of the Future Judge since 2016.


Lazarus Chernik

Lazarus Chernik

Lazarus Chernik is an experienced brand manager, creative director, and award-winning designer with over twenty years of experience. His clients have included everyone from small businesses to Fortune 100 giants. He has directed the creative departments for numerous agencies and corporations, including a Top 15 national advertising agency, a national web development firm, a national retail chain, a catalog retailer, and a retail goods manufacturer.


Orson Scott Card, Tim Powers and David Farland

Writers Workshop

The famous Writers of the Future workshop wrapped up Sunday morning with hugs and tearful goodbyes. Writers who arrived as strangers left as lifelong friends.

The Writers of the Future workshop is one of the most intensive boot camps for new writers in the industry. Many winners have commented that they value the workshop even more than the trophy.

This year’s workshop was delivered by New York Times bestselling authors and Science Fiction masters Orson Scott Card (Ender’s Game), Tim Powers (On Stranger Tides), and David Farland (The Runelords).

History of the Writers Workshop

The Writers of the Future contest was started by New York Times bestselling author L. Ron Hubbard (Battlefield Earth) in 1983, after a long history of helping new writers. Mr. Hubbard published writing advice in several articles for writer’s journals like The Author & Journalist. These timeless tips form the core of the writers workshop, including such topics as: how to build suspense in a short story, where story ideas come from, the importance of research and realism, and things editors do that drive writers crazy.

“In these modern times, there are many communication lines for works of art. Because a few works of art can be shown so easily to so many, there may even be fewer artists. The competition is very keen and even dagger-sharp.

“It is with this in mind that I initiated a means for new and budding writers to have a chance for their creative efforts to be seen and acknowledged.” —L. Ron Hubbard, in L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 1

The contest is open to aspiring writers from around the world. In accordance with the contest rules, entrants must submit an original, unpublished, science fiction, fantasy, or speculative horror story.

Writers Workshop Today

In keeping with L. Ron Hubbard’s example, the writers workshop continues to share his writing advice, along with several practical exercises for aspiring writers.

Writing tips included:

  • Fantasy writing prompts
  • Story ideas
  • Story outline
  • Rules for writers
  • Writers block
  • Short story prompts
  • Realistic fiction

The workshop instructors this year included Orson Scott Card, Enders Game, Tim Powers, On Stranger Tides, and David Farland, The Runelords.

Orson Scott Card, Tim Powers and David Farland

During the workshop they were interviewed for the Writers of the Future podcast, where they shared insights of the writing workshop and several writing tips. You can enjoy it here:

Writing short stories

The 24-hour story challenge is one of the workshop’s best-known highlights. Working with a random item and an interview with a stranger, the writer winners were given 24 hours to research, outline, and write a complete short story. Their stories were then critiqued by the other writers and judges.

David Farland presenting storytelling basics


Tim PowersTim Powers giving out objects for the 24-hour story


Research at the library


Meeting a stranger


  John Haas working on his 24-hour story


Writers turning in their 24-hour stories

Famous Authors

The final days of the writers workshop were packed with candid writing advice from a blue-ribbon panel of judges, past contest winners, and publishing professionals. These guest speakers shared their wisdom and writing tips, giving the winners years of experience in just a few breaths. This year’s guest speakers included:

Nina Kiriki Hoffman, The Thread That Binds the Bones


Rebecca Moesta and Kevin J. AndersonRebecca Moesta, Young Jedi Knights and Kevin J. Anderson, Spine of the Dragon


Dr. Robert J. SawyerDr. Robert J. Sawyer, Quantum Night


Eric Flint, 1632


Larry NivenLarry Niven, Ringworld


Dr. Doug BeasonDr. Doug Beason, The Officer


Dean Wesley SmithDean Wesley Smith, Tombstone Canyon


Jody Lynn NyeJody Lynn Nye, Moon Tracks


Dr. Gregory BenfordDr. Gregory Benford, The Berlin Project


Dr. Beatrice KondoDr. Beatrice Kondo of The Heinlein Foundation


Liza TrombiLiza Trombi of Locus


Dr. Nnedi OkoforDr. Nnedi Okofor, Binti


Darci Stone, Eric James Stone, Kary English, and Martin L. ShoemakerDarci Stone, “Mara’s Shadow”, Eric James Stone, That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made, Kary English, “Totaled”, and Martin L. Shoemaker, Today I Am Carey

Marketing Plan

Delivered by Galaxy Press President John Goodwin and Vice President Public Affairs Emily Goodwin, the final workshop day focused on the business of writing: marketing and selling books. Special Guest, Bill Fawcett, American editor, anthologist, game designer, book packager, fiction writer, and historian, made a presentation on targeting one’s marketing and exceptions to the rules. Special guest, Dave Chesson, CEO Kindlepreneur, made a presentation about book-selling giant Amazon with advice to help new writers get a jumpstart.

Topics included:

  • What is marketing
  • Marketing strategy
  • How to brand yourself
  • Selling books
  • Online marketing
  • How to do media interviews
  • Selling on Amazon

John Goodwin John Goodwin, President Galaxy Press and Emily Goodwin, VP Public Affairs


Bill Fawcett Bill Fawcett, author and editor


Dave ChessonDave Chesson, CEO Kindlepreneur

Writers Success

With the workshop at an end, this year’s winners are now ready to launch their careers from a foundation for success. Over the years, hundreds of contest winners have gone on to enjoy professional writing careers—the largest success rate of any writers workshop or contest. Just in the last year, they have published over 100 brand new science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories.


How to attend the Writers of the Future Workshop

How do you get invited to attend next year’s workshop?

The first step is to complete your short story and submit it. Only submitted stories have a chance of winning, and only winners and published finalists are invited to this exclusive writers workshop.

For an edge on the competition, read previous books in the series to learn what kinds of stories end up as winners. Good luck!


Contest resources:

Contributed by Kary English, Writers of the Future First Reader and winner from WotF 31.

Kary EnglishKary English grew up in the snowy Midwest where she read book after book in a warm corner behind a recliner chair. Today, Kary still spends most of her time with her head in the clouds and her nose in a book.

Kary is a Writers of the Future winner and now the Contest’s First Reader whose work has been nominated for both the Hugo and Campbell awards. Kary’s fiction has appeared in Galaxy’s Edge, The Grantville Gazette, Daily Science Fiction, Far Fetched Fables, the Hugo-winning podcast StarShipSofa, and Writers of the Future, Vol. 31.

Cover art, “One of Our Robots is Missing,” for Writers of the Future 35

Sci-Fi Robots

Real robots and sci-fi robots are not new. Since the Golden Age of Science Fiction, robots have both haunted and amazed us. In any given month, over 2 million robot related searches are done on Google alone.

Works of science fiction have long inspired the field of robotics. Robots and androids also have been an inspiration for speculative fiction authors since the beginning of the genre. In fact, the Bob Eggleton artwork above, used for the cover of L. Ron Hubbard presents Writers of the Future Volume 35, inspired “The Lost Robot” original story by Dean Wesley Smith.

When New York Times bestselling author L. Ron Hubbard wrote of robots, he really wrote about people—this quality set the trend of “humanized” robots and androids in science fiction at a time when the genre stories were about machines and machinery. For instance, in “Battling Bolto” a strong man pretending to be a robot discovers his boss is a robot, and in “Tough Old Man” an aging constable’s lack of feelings is not a matter of insensitivity, but of a secret—and surprising—side of his character. Both of these classic short stories can be found in L. Ron Hubbard’s When Shadows Fall.

While amazing leaps are being made in the world of real science, with robots like Honda’s Asimo (practically a fully functioning android!) and the Mars rover making it possible to explore other planets, we wanted to share some of the most loved science fiction robots and the books and movies that inspired them.

Meet giant robots and android robots—some are currently trending in the media and a few are from the dawn of television, and one of them is a famous robot that got his start in a video game.


Alita: Battle Angel

Set in the future, a cyber doctor salvages a cyborg woman by connecting her head with the powerful Berserker body. When she awakens, Alita does not remember the details of her former life and she must learn to navigate this new life on the treacherous streets of Iron City. James Cameron and Jon Landau are producing Alita Battle Angel as an American cyberpunk action film, based on Yukito Kishiro’s manga series. Here is the movie trailer.

Atom of Real Steel

Atom is the “People’s Champion” in the robot boxing science fiction movie Real Steel. Heavy towering robots have taken over the boxing ring, washing up prizefighter Charlie Kenton. Charlie and his estranged son Max come together to create a championship robot boxer for one last chance at redemption in the ring. This film was based on Richard Matheson’s short story “Steel” published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, which was also adapted into a Twilight Zone episode.

Bicentennial Man

The Bicentennial Man was designed as a robot programmed for domestic chores. His uncommon characteristics, like his sensitivity to beauty and humor, lead him on a two-century journey to become more than human. The story was based on the science fiction novel The Positronic Man by Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg, which is written in the Foundation universe. I, Robot, is a collection of Asimov’s positronic robot stories. (Definition: positronic refers to a computer brain created by Isaac Asimov that gives a sort of consciousness to robots.)

Bicentennial Man

Baymax of Big Hero 6

Baymax is an inflatable health care robot whose purpose is to take care of people. He is activated by 14-year old Hiro Hamada, and together they fight to avert a deadly plot involving mass production microbots. Big Hero 6 is a Disney animated film inspired by a Marvel comic superhero of the same name and is now a manga series by Haruki Ueno.

Big Hero 6

Box of Logan’s Run

Box is the killer robot in the science fiction film Loganʼs Run. Set in a utopian future, where all is perfect, except that death is mandatory at age 30. The runners are hunted down by an elite police force known as Sandmen. Logan, one of them, decides to become a runner himself and join the resistance, only to find himself frantically pursued by a fellow Sandman. The original novel was written by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson.

Logan’s Run


State-of-the-art armor-plated attack robots have virtually replaced the human police force. One police droid, Chappie, is stolen and given new programming to aide a gang of criminals. Chappie soon starts to develop the ability to think and feel for himself. This dystopian science fiction action crime thriller was directed by Neill Blomkamp.


Data of Star Trek: The Next Generation

Data is the robot in Star Trek: The Next Generation. He is the sole survivor of an attack on his system. He is a self-aware fully functioning android that serves as the second officer on the USS Enterprise-D. His character replaced Spock in this new generation of Star Trek. The series follows the intergalactic adventures of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, and the crew, as they travel the galaxy and explore new worlds.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Robot K1 of Doctor Who

Robot K1 is an experimental prototype that starts to learn too quickly, proving too risky a project. While Robot K1 is thought to be retired, it is secretly programmed to kill using a disintegrator gun and his target is the Cabinet Minister and anyone who gets in the way. Doctor Who, a compassionate alien Time Lord, must not only stop Robot K1 but must discover who is behind the plot before it is too late and the death toll ratchets up. Robot K1 is the first of many robots that appear throughout the Doctor Who series.

Doctor Who

Ex Machina

Unbeknownst to Caleb Smith, an internet computer programmer, he has been chosen to be the human element in a capabilities test with Ava, a beautiful android with synthetic intelligence (IA). However, Ava turns out to be more self-aware and deceptive than imagined. Ex Machina is a science fiction thriller film by Alex Garland.

Ex Machina

Gort of The Day the Earth Stood Still

Gort is the deadly robot in the American science fiction film The Day the Earth Stood Still. Gort was brought to Earth by an alien dignitary attempting to warn us. They soon find themselves involved in a government witch-hunt in this science fiction classic. Gort is an eight-foot-tall robot created using a seamless single piece of metal and armed with a laser weapon under his visor that can vaporize matter. This film is based on the short story “Farewell to the Master” by Harry Bates, an editor for Strange Tales and Weird Tales. The robot Gnut in the story became Gort in the movie.

The Day the Earth Stood Still

HAL 9000 of 2001: A Space Odyssey

HAL 9000 is the AI supercomputer that controls the Discovery, a spacecraft used for the mission to Saturn, in 2001: A Space Odyssey. This epic science fiction film was produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick and the novel was written by Arthur C. Clarke. HAL is capable of the highest levels of cognitive functioning, perhaps rivaling—and even threatening—the human mind.

2001: A Space Odyssey

The Iron Giant

A huge robot crash-lands on Earth and is rescued by a young boy. He tries to protect the gentle giant from the military and a nosy government agent. This Warner Brothers’ animation The Iron Giant captures both the imagination and heart. The story was inspired by Ted Hughes’ novel The Iron Man.

The Iron Giant

Johnny 5 of Short Circuit

Johnny 5 is the military experimental robot who escapes after short-circuiting in an electrical storm, in the high-tech comedy Short Circuit. After being struck by lightning, he is given consciousness and decides he’s human. The Defense Department is desperate to find him, but the young woman who found him is protecting him and teaching him a gentler way of life.

Short Circuit

Giant Robo of Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot

Giant Robo, under the voice control of Johnny Sokko, battles countless menacing monsters threatening Earth. This flying robot with his huge size, fiery breath, finger-launching missiles, laser eyes, and physical strength ignited the imaginations of many early robot fans in this Japanese TV series brought to America in the ’70s. It was originally inspired by the Giant Robo manga series created by Mitsuteru Yokoyama.

Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot

Lost Robot

Lost Robot is a huge warrior robot stranded in Lake Mead. Author Dean Wesley Smith, inspired by L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 35 cover art, writes an original Sky Tate mystery about the discovery of a giant robot warrior and his unusual relationship with a human. Artwork by Bob Eggleton. Order your copy and you will receive another book in the series for free.

Lost Robot

Marvin the Paranoid Android of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Marvin the Paranoid Android from Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is the depressed robot controlling the spaceship Heart of Gold. Earth is being demolished to build an intergalactic highway, and just seconds before the destruction Arthur Dent is rescued by his friend Ford Prefect, who turns out to be a researcher for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. And thus begins this hilarious adventure through the Galaxy.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Mechagodzilla of Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla

Godzilla meets his match with Mechagodzilla—an enormous robot with the size and strength of Godzilla, further enhanced with rocket-propelled legs, nuclear finger missiles and made of indestructible steel. When the two super-monsters battle in this Japanese science fiction film classic, the entire world is confused by this Jurassic imposter.

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla

Mega Man

Mega Man is the super fighting robot in a science fiction video game. The game has eleven main games and several spin-offs. A series of corrupted robot masters face Mega Man at the different stages of the game. Mega Man also inspired a Japanese Animated TV series where Mega Man and several video game characters battle Dr. Wily as he attempts to destroy the city with his evil machinations.

Mega Man<

Optimus Prime of the Transformers

The science fiction action movie franchise, the Transformers, features the Autobots, a sentient self-configuring robotic lifeform from the planet Cybertron. Optimus Prime is the leader of the Autobots, and working with others like Bumblebee, forms an alliance to protect mankind against his arch-nemesis Megatron and his Decepticons.


R2-D2, C-P3O, BB-8 of the Star Wars franchise

The Star Wars science fiction movies have long featured robots and androids (known simply as ‘droids’) as integral characters. R2-D2, C-P3O, and BB-8 are universally recognized robots. This epic space opera is set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. There are eight main movies so far released (and several other character and sub-plot movies) and many books in the series.

Star Wars

Robby the Robot of Forbidden Planet

Robby the Robot was designed by Dr. Morbius, a stranded survivor on the distant world of Altair IV, in the classic science fiction film the Forbidden Planet. He was programmed using the deciphered secrets of a long-extinct race. When a rescue mission arrives 20 years later, Dr. Morbius refuses to give up the technology and mysteriously the rescuers start being killed off.

Forbidden Planet


Alex Murphy, a murdered Detroit cop, becomes RoboCop—a crime-fighting cyborg equipped with high-tech weaponry in this science fiction action film. Despite his nearly indestructible exterior, he has nightmares of his previous existence and his murder that drive him to do more than fight crime—he wants revenge.


Robot 7723 of Next Gen

A top-secret combat robot known as 7723 teams up with the rebellious young Mai in this action-packed animated Netflix feature movie. They set out to stop a vicious madman from world domination. Here is the Next Gen trailer.

Next Gen Netflix

Robot B9 of Lost in Space

The un-named B9 robot from the TV series Lost in Space has become an iconic cultural image, and often demonstrated human characteristics, and is remembered for warning young Will Robinson of impending danger by saying, “Danger, Will Robinson!”

Lost in Space

Roy Batty (Nexus-6 replicant) of Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049

Roy Batty is the renegade leader of the Nexus-6 replicants, in Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049. Originally created for off-world military service, he is a combat replicant and main antagonist. Agent Deckard hunts the destructive fugitive replicants in this high-tech dystopian science fiction thriller inspired by Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Blade Runner 2049

The Terminator

In a future where Skynet’s synthetic intelligent machine network has virtually wiped out mankind, John Connor forms a resistance. To stop the resistance before it is begun, a ruthless cyborg terminator is sent back in time to kill Sarah Connor, John’s mother, before he is born. The Terminator franchise was created by James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd.

The Terminator


WALL·E, a Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-class, is the last functioning robot on Earth. He has spent 700 years cleaning up the planet one piece of trash at a time. 700 years is a long time and he has become very lonely. When the spaceship Axiom sends in the EVE probe in search of plant life, WALL·E is smitten. WALL·E embarks on his greatest adventure as he follows EVE across the Galaxy in this animated masterpiece by Pixar.


Yod of He, She and It

Yod is a unique cyborg implanted with intelligence, emotions, and the ability to kill, and created to protect Tikva, the Jewish free town in Marge Piercy’s cyberpunk novel He, She and It. When Shira returns home to Tikva, she is recruited by her brilliant grandmother to help protect the city and meets Yod, who she develops an unexpected relationship with.

He, She and It

This article would not be complete if we did not share some amazing videos about real robots that show the leap from science fiction robots to reality:

Let us know your favorite sci-fi robot.

Other articles you may be interested in:
Science fiction is the herald of possibility: How fantastic fiction has become science fact

Science Fiction’s Role in Space Flight

Not Your Typical Science Teacher

Walter Dinjos

“View from a Hill”

A tall, strong, young man stood on the crest of a hill, looking out over the green-brown plain below. A slight breeze ruffled the collar of his dark blue shirt. The air bore the sweet scent of the Maringa trees behind him and the musical chattering of the dabchicks in the ponds. The sun warmed his head through his short, curly locks. He held a long, straight, roughly shaped staff. But he did not lean upon it. He stood strong.

A short, gnarled old woman, old as the land itself, emerged from the trees and stood next to him. She also stood unbowed, and she gave the impression that she was larger than him in a way that the eye could not see. “You are audacious,” she said, “to bear a stick to meet me.”

He shook his head. “It is not a stick, it is a scepter.”

“I am the Woman of the Wood,” she answered. “I know this stick. I can name the tree from which it broke, and the stories of that tree, and of the seed from which it grew, and of the tree which dropped those seeds. Your eyes lie to you. It is a stick.”

“I do not see with my eyes, old mother, but with my spirit. As you have taught me. And my spirit knows that this is a scepter, and it marks me as king of all that I see.”

The woman chuckled softly as they looked out over the plain, with its stagnant ponds, sparse grasses, clumps of withered trees, and goats idly grazing. “And what do you see, O king?”

The young man shielded his eyes and looked out where she did. “I see rich fields where our people will someday grow sweet berries and yams and rice. We will plant vast crops to feed ourselves, and more. We shall feed a hungry world.”

She shook her head. “Once these lands were enough to feed our people, so they did not ask for food from others. Your spirit sees the past, before the wasters and the troubles, not the future. These lands were rich once.”

“And they shall be again! We bear burdens, but we do not sink beneath them. Someday we shall be rid of those who threaten the people and the land. We shall not break, we shall grow.”

“All I see is struggling grasses and goats wandering among them. And dirty little children,” she added, though she smiled when she did. “Children all around the field, if you know where they play.”

“And not just in the field,” the man answered. He glanced over his shoulder where bushes rustled, and he heard one small child’s voice gasp, while another giggled.

“They are brave, but foolish to approach me.”

“As was I,” the man answered. “Brave. Foolish. Burning with a hunger that food could not fill. I had to know. I had to know your ways.”

“And so it is with these? They come to learn of the Woman of the Wood?” Her eyes grew moist. “They still know of me?”

“No. They do not see you. Not yet.”

“I know,” she said, and a tear ran down the furrows of her face. “They do not know me anymore.”

“They will! It’s my turn now. I will teach them. They will know you, and they will know this future. That is what draws them today.” He lifted the stick and grasped it by the end. “They come to hear tales of my star sword!”

That turned the old woman’s frown into a smile. “I thought it was a scepter.”

“It is a star sword, won on the field of battle! You see?” He gestured across the plain with the stick. “Out there, beyond our rich fields, is the spaceport! There we shall build our own space program, with our own strong hands and our own bright minds. There we shall build rockets that shall take Nigerians to other planets. To the Moon and to Mars. To the stars!”

The woman’s dark lips parted, her mouth gaping. Finally, she said, “You’ve given me a gift. Now I know that even I, Oldest, can still wish. I wish that I could see that.”

“You will,” the man said. “My spirit sees it. We will go places that can only be seen in the imagination today; and wherever we go, we will take your stories. We will take you with us. I will tell your stories.”

“No,” the woman said softly. “I’m sorry. Not you.”

He turned to her. “So soon?” She nodded. “But I have so much to do. So many stories to tell. My children must learn. They must have this future.”

“You’ve made me believe, king of the world. They will. But you? Your spirit shall be freed to go many places, worlds even I have never imagined. And that journey starts today.”

The Woman of the Wood loomed tall over the man, her true majesty revealed at last as she reached out a hand and gently cupped his shoulder. He collapsed against her, strong until the final moment. And then he faded on the wind until all that remained was spirit, which she clasped to her breast.

And then she too was gone, and the old stick clattered to the ground, the only sign that the tall man had ever stood there.

The bushes rustled once more. After several minutes, the bravest of the two little boys came forward, looking around the hill and out over the plains. In the distance, he saw the silver towers of the spaceport. He picked up the stick. As a rocket blazed into the sky, the boy held up the sword and pointed it to the stars.

Emeka Walter Dinjos, 7 Dec 1984 – 12 Dec 2018

You saw far, but too briefly.

Walter Dinjos introducing himself as a Writers of the Future winner.

Walter Dinjos acceptance speech shown at the Writers of the Future Volume 33 awards event.

Walter Dinjos award-winning story “The Woodcutters Deity” was published in L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 33.


Martin L. ShoemakerMartin L. Shoemaker is a programmer who writes on the side… or maybe it’s the other way around. Programming pays the bills, but a second place story in the Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest earned him lunch with Buzz Aldrin. Programming never did that!

Martin’s work has appeared in Clarkesworld, Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, Galaxy’s Edge, Digital Science Fiction, Forever Magazine, Humanity 2.0, The Year’s Top Short SF Novels 4, Writers of the Future Volume 31, Time Travel Tales, Trajectories, Little Green Men: Attack!, The Glass Parachute, and The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirty-First Annual Collection.

Martin had become very good friends with Walter and so originated this tribute.

Never Give Up

Never Give Up!

It was 1978. I was thirteen years old and my mother gave me Clifford Simak’s book, Mastodonia. So began my love affair with speculative fiction. Within a few years, I read everything from Poul Anderson to Roger Zelazny and had amassed hundreds of books and magazines. I was obsessed. I had found my calling. I was going to be a science fiction writer.

A Mountain of Rejection Slips

It took a few years to gather the courage to write a story, and another few to start sending them out. From 1986 to 1992, I wrote 47 stories, submitting them to any place I could find, including and especially to the Writers of the Future. The result was a mountain of rejection slips. Sometimes the editors provided encouraging messages, but they still rejected my stories! I entered the WOTF eleven times and received—no surprise—eleven rejections.

Becoming a science fiction writer was much harder than it looked. After six years of trying to get published, I made a huge mistake. I gave up. It was too hard. I was done. My love affair with speculative fiction was over. I sold all my books and magazines. The only ones I saved were my Writers of the Future books. I just couldn’t part with them. I wept as I boxed them up and put them in the closet, where they would remain for the next seventeen years.

Return to the Urge to Write

Fast-forward to 2009. My boss walks into my office and asks, “Do you like science fiction?”

“I used to,” I said.

“Read this,” he handed me E. E. Doc Smith’s Lensman series. He was my boss, so I obeyed.

And I was back in love! I bought back all my books. I dug out my WOTF books and re-read them. Then I got all the remaining volumes and read those.

Then it happened: I started to feel that urge again, that compulsion to start writing my own stories. But I was terrified. I had been down that road before, and it was littered with broken dreams. I wasn’t sure if I could do it.

So I made a vow. I would try submitting again, but only to the WOTF contest. If I earned an Honorable Mention, then maybe I would try submitting elsewhere. I re-read all the WOTF books again, and then I submitted a story. Of course, I received a rejection, then another, and another, and so on.

An Anonymous Guy from Topanga Canyon

Then it happened, entry number sixteen, an Honorable Mention! I did it! My head nearly hit the ceiling. Still, I was too scared to submit anywhere else. I kept entering the WOTF and soon earned another HM. When I had earned three, I began submitting to the magazines.

To my delight, I not only began receiving personal rejections; within one year, I sold my first story! Then I sold another. And another!

Still, my primary focus was with the WOTF contest. I never missed a quarter. I was earning more honorable mentions, but that was it. The higher levels of the contest seemed out of reach. Whenever I felt my confidence waver, I would look at the WOTF books and tell myself, you could win this contest. Don’t give up.

Then one day I was lurking the WOTF forum and noticed a mention of a cautionary tale about why you should never give up. It was from a workshop by Dean Wesley Smith. I knew about Dean. He had a story in Volume 1, and later became one of the judges. In his workshop, Dean talked about an anonymous guy from Topanga Canyon, a promising new writer who the magazine editors were talking about. They wondered who would be the first to publish one of his stories. Even book editors were showing interest. Then suddenly, he disappeared. Gone and never to be seen again. His name, to protect his identity, was Topanga Canyon.

When I read that, I felt a cold chill. I was from Topanga. That was me. I knew it in my bones. Before I gave up, Dean was editing Pulphouse and had written me personal rejections. I still remember them: “You’re close.” “Keep trying.”

I sent Dean an email. He confirmed my secret identity.

I felt waves of sheer delight with an undercurrent of utter devastation. Editors were talking about me! And I gave up.

The Magic Number—#47

This discovery inspired me, even more, to keep entering, which I did, every quarter, eventually earning twelve honorable mentions. On December 28, 2017, three days before the Q1 deadline, for the 47th time, I submitted yet another story to the contest. I had just received four rejections in a row, so my hopes were not high. I had entered every single quarter for the last eight years. Why should this one be any different? At best I hoped to add to my sizable collection of HMs.

Then the impossible happened. To my utter shock, my story was a finalist. The next few weeks were pure torture. I was at work when the phone call came that I had won second place. It was easily one of the happiest days of my life. I could feel that thirteen-year-old boy inside of me jumping up and down. I won! I actually won! I’ll get a monetary prize, a beautiful trophy, a week-long workshop, and best of all, my story is going to appear in Volume 35. At last!

All I can tell you is, if you have a dream, never give up. Not ever!


Preston Dennett

Preston Dennett

Preston Dennett has worked as a carpet cleaner, fast-food worker, data entry clerk, bookkeeper, landscaper, singer, actor, writer, radio host, television consultant, teacher, UFO researcher, ghost hunter and more. He has written 22 non-fiction books and more than 100 articles about UFOs and the paranormal. But his true love has always been speculative fiction. After a long hiatus, he started writing again in 2009. He has sold 37 stories to various venues including Allegory, Andromeda Spaceways, Bards & Sages, Black Treacle, Cast of Wonders, the Colored Lens, Grievous Angel, Kzine, Perihelion, Sci Phi Journal, Stupefying Stories, T. Gene Davis’ Speculative Blog, and more, including several anthologies. He earned twelve honorable mentions in the L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest before winning 2nd place for Quarter 1, 2018, (Volume 35), his third professional sale. He currently resides in southern California where he spends his days looking for new ways to pay his bills and his nights exploring the farthest edges of the universe.


Meet the Illustrators

Meet the New Faces of Sci-Fi & Fantasy Art

Writers of the Future Volume 34 coverThis year’s release of L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 34 debuts 12 new illustrators with their own style of creativity and diversity in science fiction and fantasy art.

This latest anthology in the Writers of the Future series offers a full spectrum of artistic style. Publishers Weekly summed it up in their starred review:

“The 34th collection of Finalists for the Writers of the Future competition features expertly crafted and edited stories and art, running the gamut from humorous to bone-chilling.”

In 1983 L. Ron Hubbard created and endowed the Writers Contest, followed five years later with a companion Illustrator Contest, as a means to discover and nurture new talent in science fiction and fantasy. Illustrator winners are selected by a blue-ribbon panel of judges including Echo Chernik, Ciruelo, Bob Eggleton, Larry Elmore, Val Lakey, Gary Meyer, Sergey Poyarkov, Rob Prior and Shaun Tan.

Submissions for the Illustrators of the Future Contest have come in from over 170 countries. And here is a glimpse of the new artists you will meet in volume 34.

Kyna Tek

Illustrator of “A Smokeless and Scorching Fire”

Kyna Tek was this year’s annual Golden Brush Award winner and commented after the event, “When I saw everyone else’s illustrations in this contest I never imagined I had a chance. Thank you for this moment. I’m never going to forget it. I will cherish it forever.”

Kyna was born in 1980 at an unnamed refugee camp in Thailand along the Cambodia and Thailand border. His family eventually immigrated to Tempe, Arizona where he grew up a typical ’80s kid playing video games, watching movies, and reading comics.

It wasn’t until he attended college that he discovered his passion for drawing and painting. He immersed himself in studies of the arts and his skills grew exponentially.

After graduating from college he has continued honing his craft and discovering where he fits in the illustration world. He enjoys pursuing his ever-continuing education through self-study and creating inspired illustrations in the fantasy and science fiction genre.

Anthony Moravian

Illustrator of “Miss Smokey”

Anthony Moravian is an illustrator who uses classical techniques to create realistic fantasy themes. He specializes in charcoal drawings and oil paintings. Anthony was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and began drawing at the age of three.

Ever since Anthony was a child, he would draw from the collection of comics he had in his basement. He admired the creativity in fantasy and science fiction stories, and he works to capture some of their creativity in his paintings. He really began taking an interest in drawing fantasy art when he began playing fantasy-based video games.

Anthony graduated magna cum laude from the Associate’s program at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Upon recommendation from a professor, he worked sketch nights and events at the New York Society of Illustrators. It was there he began to take a great interest in realistic painting.

As a result, he began to work to capture some qualities that were often featured in classical realistic paintings while maintaining his interest in fantasy concepts. He currently lives and works in New York as a freelance illustrator.

Anthony had the honor of being an Illustrator Contest published finalist for Writers of the Future volume 33, and his art can be seen in that volume as well as volume 34.

Reyna Rochin

Illustrator of “Odd and Ugly”

Reyna Nicole Rochin was born December 30, 1990 in the suburbs of Los Angeles, California. Like most artists, she had crayons and paper in her hands since the day she could.

Growing up, there weren’t many other artists around her. She spent her childhood playing in the backyard, taking trips to the California beaches, and simply just trying to get through life in good grades.

Out of high school, she received a scholarship to play volleyball at San Francisco State University, which is where life took her next. With her sports background and a degree in Fine Arts emphasizing in drawing and painting, she had no clue what to do—so she took up a career in personal training.

A few years later, painting still captured her interests in her off hours. She eventually made the decision to return to school and was accepted to the Savannah College of Art & Design for MFA in Illustration.

Today, she spends her time working hard at school in Atlanta, power lifting and reading when she gets the chance.

Adar Darnov

Illustrator of “Turnabout”

Adar Darnov was born in 1993 in Teaneck, New Jersey. His family moved to Mt. Kisco, New York where growing up he always engaged in creative activities. Just like many other creative boys, he built cities out of toys and drew his favorite TV characters.

He continued on this path taking many art classes eventually enrolling for his undergraduate degree in illustration at School of Visual Arts in New York City. After visiting with some childhood friends who were playing Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering, Adar remembered how much he loved fantasy art when he was younger. This caused him to pursue fantasy illustration in earnest, especially leaning toward a realistic style.

Jazmen Richardson

Illustrator of “A Bitter Thing”

Jazmen Richardson was born in 1998 in Auburn, New York. Living in the middle of nowhere most her life, her imagination was able to roam through the fields surrounding her home.

Jazmen has been drawing and creating stories since she could walk and hold a pencil. Whether they made sense to the viewer or not at the time, each story’s characters were as real to her as another family member.

Though her family is full of creative hearts, she is the first to pursue it as a career.

After graduating a year early from high school to pursue an artistic mentorship, Jazmen was able to attend Ringling College of Art and Design of Sarasota, Florida to study illustration and the business of art and design.

She has been working in digital art for two years now, and is moving toward a specialty in oil painting.

Jazmen concurrently works convention-like events striving to make connections with other artists and improve herself and her work. She may be quiet, but there is nothing more gratifying than meeting new faces and experiencing stories other than her own.

Sidney Lugo

Illustrator of “The Howler on the Sales Floor”

Sidney Lugo was born in 1994 in Guarico, Venezuela. “Sid” to her friends, she grew up most of her life in Caracas, Venezuela and moved to Boston at age nineteen to study Interactive Design.

Her childhood memories serve as inspiration for many of her drawings. She developed an interest in fantasy and sci-fi from a young age.

Sid spent a lot of time looking at French comic books and stories, especially those from the comic anthology Métal Hurlant. These kinds of surreal sci-fi and fantasy stories stimulated her imagination and inspired her path as an artist.

Outside of her studies, she continued to learn and pursue her interest for art. She continues to learn and improve her skills in order to work as a storyboard artist and work on her own comic book.

Sid is currently a graphic design working as a freelancer for private clients.

Quintin Gleim

Illustrator of “Mara’s Shadow”

Growing up in the forests of southern Ohio, Quintin was transfixed by stories of fantasy and science fiction from early childhood. Starting out primarily as a digital artist he made the switch to oil painting after attending Illuxcon in 2016 and has been captivated by traditional mediums ever since.

Currently he is hard at work creating images for his illustrated novel set in a post-apocalyptic American West, populated by fantasy creatures, dinosaurs and other prehistoric beasts.

Quintin received a BFA from Shawnee State University in 2017 and currently studies at the Columbus College of Art and Design in pursuit of an MFA.

Alana Fletcher

Illustrator of “Flee, My Pretty One”

Alana Fletcher was born in 1996 in Middletown, NY. She was introduced to the arts at a young age while growing up in Michigan. She took figure-drawing classes at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, and continued to develop her work within online communities. She began painting with a mouse in Photoshop, but eventually obtained a Wacom tablet to continue to expand her capabilities.

Alana is now attending Ferris State University for Game Design and Digital Animation in Grand Rapids. She concurrently works as a freelance illustrator and concept artist.

Duncan Halleck

Illustrator of “All Light and Darkness”

Duncan Halleck is an illustrator and concept artist working in the entertainment industry and specializing in the genres of science fiction and fantasy. He began his journey as an artist at a young age, copying cartoon characters and superheroes from books he found around the house and spending hours studying movie stills from The Lord of the Rings. As he grew older, he developed a deep passion for science fiction and fantasy literature and devoured the works of authors such as Ray Bradbury, Ian M. Banks, and J. R. R. Tolkien. Always an avid doodler, his love for the arts never ceased throughout his school career, his notebooks attesting to his ceaseless drive to create and explore new ideas.

After graduating high school, several yearlong stints in cities across the US and a close brush with architecture school, Duncan settled down in Belgium with his wife and aged English Pointer.

Shortly after the birth of his first daughter and a time as a landscape painter, Duncan decided to pursue a full-time career in digital art and illustration and began in earnest to study the fundamentals of art and improve his skills as an image-maker. His passion for the fantastic carries through to this day and finds an outlet in the alien landscapes and future metropoli that populate his hard drive. Currently, he freelances for small publishers and developers out of Brussels, where he can be found hiding from the rain with a cup of tea, a good book, and a photon blaster.

Bruce Brenneise

Illustrator of “The Face in the Box”

Bruce Brenneise grew up in the countryside by Lake Michigan; nature and fantasy were two of his main interests from childhood. He continued to not-so-secretly focus on magic, monsters, and myths while studying scientific illustration at the University of Michigan. Pursuit of diverse environments and experiences led him around the world in search of artistic inspiration: a field sketching trip to Southern Africa, months amid ancient ruins of Anatolia, not to mention six years working and traveling throughout China and other parts of East Asia. The landscapes he has explored and the vistas one can only find in fiction are at the heart of Bruce’s current work as an illustrator and independent artist.

He currently lives with his wife and carnivorous plants in Seattle.

Maksym Polishchuk

Illustrator of “What Lies Beneath”

Maksym “Max” Polishchuk was born in 1999 in Lviv, an ancient Ukrainian city located at the crossroads of Western and Eastern Europe. Lviv, with its diverse culture and rich history, ultimately became one of the primary sources of Maksym’s inspiration, who was always fascinated by the history concealed behind each ancient structure.

Such fascination with history, coupled with the discovery of texts of Tolkien and J. K. Rowling, is what ultimately ignited Maksym’s interest in illustration. Art was the only way of transforming the stories and worlds he saw in his imagination into something more tangible. In order to help him achieve his dreams, his mother sent him to an art studio, which he attended almost daily over the span of six years, and which helped him nurture his talents and skills.

Maksym moved to the US just before his freshman year of high school. Even though his world was transformed completely, the one thing that remained constant was art. Today, Maksym studies political science and international relations at Loyola University Chicago in hopes of creating a better world that is not limited solely by the boundaries of the canvas.

Brenda Rodriguez

Illustrator of “The Minarets of An-Zabat”

Brenda Rodriguez was born in Mexico, but moved to the US before her first birthday and has been here ever since. She started drawing as a child and has never stopped loving it. Brenda attributes her passion for character creation to her interest in video games. Her favorites include The Legend of Zelda, Kingdom Hearts, and Final Fantasy. She recalls being inspired by them at a young age as a child, and on throughout her life thereafter. To this day, she can thank Nintendo and Square Enix for fueling her aspiration of getting into the entertainment industry as a character artist.

Brenda graduated in spring of 2017 with a degree in Computer Graphics Technology from Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis. She is now working as a freelance artist and polishing her portfolio to officially break into the industry.

Eneasz at library

Humanity vs. Monstrosity

Eneasz Brodski has a definite opinion about the importance of human values vs. soulless monstrosities. And so this is his tale of how his story “Flee, My Pretty One” published in L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 34 came to be. Check out the video interview below and Eneasz’s article that follows.

“Flee, My Pretty One”

This was originally written quite a while ago, for an open anthology call on the theme of “Start A Revolution.” I’ve been rabidly anti-corporation for most of my life. They’re soulless, profit-maximizing monstrosities, who know nothing of human values. Optimizers unfettered by concern for us. Stross calls them invaders from Mars. Many people have pointed out that they resemble the problem of unfriendly AI in their lack of human values + ability to alter their environment to fit their utility functions (including, infamously and recently, Ted Chaing). I agree, and I would love (or rather, once would have loved) to see a revolution bringing these forces to heel.

I call them Dragons. For two reasons. The first is that dragons are already known for their rapacious love of treasure, and their willingness to do anything to horde it. They are powerful, and non-human, so they make a good metaphor.

The second is that I’m racist against dragons. If that’s a thing? I realized this back when I was playing Shadowrun. During the course of a campaign, I realized that no matter what he did, I would never trust Dunkelzahn. He could be a saint for centuries, doing only good works, and die sacrificing himself to save me personally, and I still would say “Good riddance. You can’t trust a f**king dragon. He was obviously motivated by some evil plot, he held hatred for us all in his heart, and it will come to light eventually.” I’d be horrified if my offspring dated a dragon. Etc. I don’t care what they do, I know they’re evil.

Artist Alana Fletcher with Eneasz and the artwork for his story

Artist Alana Fletcher with Eneasz and the artwork for his story

And like, if you’re going to be racist, I think it’s probably best to be racist against a fictional giant lizard species, so you aren’t hurting anyone. And as long as I’m at it, I can maybe use that racism in my stories, so anyone who’s similar to me can get that same visceral revulsion.

Anyway, yes, the story is about starting a revolution against corporations, except that corporations are actual non-human persons(?) in the story. This makes it more satisfying to attack them, since violence against a person is always more meaningful than violence against “the system.” And giving your villains a voice and agency is more exciting.

Except, of course, violence is bad. And the real world is messy and fuzzy, so trying to apply sufficient violence to the correct target is never as clean as Hollywood and/or activists make it seem. So it all keeps spiraling into ever more chaos until everything is shit around you. And thus was born “Flee, My Pretty One.”

Of note: This story had a lot of near-misses when it was seeking publication, with editors saying “This is good, but it’s not quite right for us.” Then Trump was elected. And the next place I submitted to said, “Wow, this is great, you’ve got your finger on the pulse of the society.” And I nodded and said, “Oh yes, yup, that’s exactly what I was doing.”

I’ve been pissed at the system my entire life, regardless of the political party in charge. Because it’s not about the political parties, for the most part. It’s about the entrenched powers that stay entrenched from one election to the next, regardless of whether the Reds or the Blues are nominally in charge that moment. I guess most people aren’t that upset with the system itself. So, on the one hand, it’s interesting to see so much of the population suddenly as riled up as I’ve always been. It helped get this story published, at least. But I’m dismayed that what they’re angry at is still the politicians. I figure this means that once the politician in charge is swapped out, society will return to how it was, and nothing will have changed.


Eneasz BrodskiEneasz Brodski lives in Denver, Colorado. He is active in the Bayesian Rationalist community, an eclectic collection of misfits who believe humans can do better. Through the powers of science and technology, he hopes all humans currently living can someday celebrate their 5,000th birthday.

Eneasz has a number of meaningful relationships, of many varieties. He was raised in an apocalyptic Christian sect, and while he has left that behind, that childhood colors much of his writing to this day. He’s been writing since he could hold a pencil, but has only begun professional efforts in the past few years. He just finished his first novel and hopes to see it in print soon.

When he’s not writing, podcasting, or blogging, he can often be found gothing it up at a local goth club. He’s willing to strike up a conversation with anyone in dark clothes and eyeliner.

Matt Dovey with a cuppa tea

Matt Dovey: Two Years Later

From aspiring writer to writing contest winner to—let’s find out!

It has been nearly two years since Matt Dovey was announced as the Golden Pen Award winner in the L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future writing contest.  As a contest for aspiring writers, we thought we would find out how winning the writing contest has affected Matt. So we asked him.


As I write this, it’s coming on two years since I attended the 32nd workshop week in LA, which also marks two years since my first publication—WotF was my first sale, but I was published for the first time just a month beforehand, in Flash Fiction Online.


Matt Dovey above, accepting the Golden Pen Award from David Farland and Orson Scott Card

It’s honestly strange to realise it’s only been two years. It feels a lifetime ago, as if everything before were a different person, as if LA were a wormhole I travelled through to an alternate life where—suddenly, amazingly—I’m actually a writer.

This is, of course, nonsense. The only act necessary to be a writer is writing, and if you have the courage to sit before the blank screen and summon whole worlds and people and hopes and dreams from nothing more than the spider silk of your imagination, mere publication is an incidental fact in the definition. If you’re reading this, chances are you write and are still chasing that first sale. So I’m telling you now, definitively and authoritatively: you are a writer. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

But, of course, we’re all only human, and we all seek that validation from others, so it’s hard not to feel like you need the Badge of Approval that comes with publication to confirm that yes, really, it’s true: you are a writer. And for all my high-falutin’ talk above, it’s absolutely a trap I fell into myself. Honestly, most writers I know do. We seem to need more validation than most.

But having had that validation from WotF, my whole outlook on writing has changed. It’s gone from a strange little habit I indulge after work to a fundamental aspect of who I am; my day job is the incidental fact, now, the necessary evil to support my writing. I don’t just write when I feel like it, or when an idea occurs: it’s a given that I’ll be sitting down at my keyboard each evening and working, even if sometimes that “working” is just talking to friends in the community (essential lesson, learned the hard way and given freely here: self-care is as important as word count).

And you know what really gave me that feeling of validation? It wasn’t winning the super-fancy trophy (though that sure is nice! And really, really heavy in your luggage); it wasn’t meeting legendary pros like Tim Powers, Nancy Kress, Todd McCaffrey, so many others; it wasn’t even seeing my name in print, my story in the book, my words in physical form.

Writers of the Future winners, Class of 2016

It was the friends around me, the people in my class who were going through that indescribably surreal week with me. The friends who, it turned out, had the same weird habits and thought patterns and fears and aspirations as I had, the ones I’d thought only I had because writing, inevitably, is a lonely hobby, sat silent at the keyboard with only your own thoughts.

I found out I was a writer that week in LA because I found out I was just like other writers.

And so the last couple of years have been good to me. I’ve got 15 pro sales to my name now, plus semi-pros and reprints and narrations. I’m volunteering as a slush reader over at PodCastle and doing my bit to contribute back to the community there and in other ways. I have strangers send me fan mail and people reviewing my work and stories appearing in Year’s Best anthologies.

But whilst I wouldn’t have managed any of that if I hadn’t done the work, equally I wouldn’t have managed any of that if I didn’t have the friends I have now. I’m still close to all my WotF class; we support each other, not just with feedback but with commiseration and celebration and reminders that, for all the bad days when the rejections pile up and the new draft just isn’t working out, there are good days, too, and reasons to celebrate each other even if it doesn’t always feel like there are reasons to celebrate personally.

You’ll get nowhere in writing if you don’t have friends to walk the path with. And in the same way you don’t need anyone else’s validation to be a writer, you don’t need anyone else’s permission to join in with the community. Find us on Twitter, or on forums (the WotF forums are a great place to start), or at conventions. It’s the best thing you can do, for your career and yourself, I promise.

Just join in.


Matt Dovey

Matt Dovey

Matt Dovey is very tall, very English, and most likely drinking a cup of tea right now. His surname rhymes with “Dopey”, but any other similarities to the dwarf are purely coincidental. He lives in a quiet market town in rural England with his wife and three children, and despite being a writer he still can’t express the delight he finds in this wonderful arrangement. 

Jake Marley on stage with Dave Farland and Erika Christensen

Jake Marley: One Year Later

From aspiring writer to writing contest winner to – let’s find out!

It has been nearly a year since Jake Marley was announced as the Golden Pen Award winner in the L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future writing contest.  As a contest for aspiring writers, we thought we would find out how winning the writing contest has affected Jake. So we asked him.

So Many New Friends

In 2017, my Writers of the Future workshop was just the start of my opportunities to meet professional writers and editors.

Jake talks about his experience as a writer and with the 24-hour story during the Writer Workshop in an interview here.

I used my winnings from the Golden Pen to go to a few different writing conventions, and met even more of my contemporary heroes and favorite writers and editors, including quite a few bestselling authors. I think a highlight of the year was getting another chance to speak with Nnedi Okorafor while we were both in Providence, and I had another opportunity to thank her for her part of the workshop, which I had really connected with.

I also had a dream come true when Andrew L. Roberts and I were able to sign copies of WotF 33 at SDCC this year. The pro-badge I wore has a place of honor beside my trophies from last year’s awards ceremony.

I Am Selling What I Write

I’ve had two other short stories published since the release of Volume 33. One, “The Fifth Chamber” was in Resist and Refuse, and the other, “The Weight of Her Smile,” was just published last month in Unnerving Magazine #5.

The Post-Apocalyptic Tourist's Guide to Los AngelesI was also lucky enough to take part in the first Season of (fellow Vol. 33 winner) Stephen Lawson’s The Post-Apocalyptic Tourist’s Guide. While my story could stand alone, The Post-Apocalyptic Tourist’s Guide to Los Angeles is also part of a larger narrative featuring quite a few Writers of the Future alumni.

I’m hard at work on my new novel, and it’s coming together really nicely. I’m using quite a few of the tips and techniques I learned from Dave and Tim during our workshop, as well as applying the advice I received from the other judges (again, especially Nnedi Okorafor).

In addition to getting my novel written, I’ve just been given the upcoming Writers of the Future Volume 34 and I’ve begun reading the stories. I’m looking forward to review it!

A Note on Dr. Pournelle

Dr. Jerry Pournelle speaking at the Writers WorkshopI was very sad to hear about the passing of Dr. Pournelle. I think one of the most memorable moments of my experience with Writers of the Future last year was having him tell me that “Acquisition” was “a damned good story.” I only met him briefly, but it has made a lasting impression on my life.


How to Find Me

My website is and readers can find me on Facebook or @JakeofEarth2 on Twitter.

And here is the link to my Amazon page.