2017 • Volume 33

Twenty-six writers and artists from around the globe were honored Sunday night, April 2, 2017, at the Thirty-third Annual L. Ron Hubbard Achievement Awards at the historic Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles. Winners from the contest year October 1, 2015, to September 30, 2016, attended. The Writers and Illustrators of the Future workshops were held in Hollywood at Author Services, Inc.

This year’s keynote speaker was Pat Henry, the president of Dragon Con, Inc. Dragon Con was co-founded by Pat and his partners in 1986 with the hope of building a science fiction, fantasy and gaming convention that offered something for everyone. Groundbreaking in its time, most pop culture conventions today have embraced the multi-genre format that Dragon Con pioneered.

The L. Ron Hubbard Lifetime Achievement Award was bestowed on Mike Resnick. As a Writers of the Future Contest judge since 2008 and editor of Galaxy’s Edge magazine, he has been extremely generous in promoting new writers. He has taken twenty-five past winners of the Writers of the Future Contest under his wing and professionally published them in short story collections and anthologies. He has gone the extra mile and co-authored novels with over a dozen of them for the simple reason that, in his words, “These really are the best new writers of speculative fiction.”

Snapshot from 2017

Year in the Contests

Over the past thirty-three years, the L. Ron Hubbard Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contests have grown impressively. It seems that every year is the year with the largest ever number of entries, and that is true again of 2016. We had more entries than we’ve ever had before, with honorable mentions, semi-finalists, and finalists from around the world.

Both competitions are now among the largest and longest-running contests around the globe, and the only contests of such size and esteem that don’t require an entrance fee. The vast number and variety of submissions empower the judges, enabling them to select what are truly the best short stories and artwork from up-and-coming talent.

It comes as no surprise that the Contests’ anthologies have received high praise, of which every person involved with the Contests is immensely appreciative. Publishers Weekly, an esteemed and influential news publication, said, “The 32nd installment of the Writers of the Future Contest … is an engaging mix of thought-provoking and inventive stories, accompanied by equally impressive illustrations.”

Not only is the anthology recognized by professional entities, but by everyday readers as well: Volume 32 hit #1 in Science Fiction on Amazon.com, and #1 on the Barnes & Noble’s Science Fiction and Fantasy list. It was also in the top 10 on Publishers Weekly’s national bestseller list.

Publications by Past Winners

With the continuing growth and accumulation of outstanding winners through the years, it has become increasingly difficult to record the publications that each individual has made, let alone include them all in each anthology. Still, we strive to keep past winners in our sights, savoring and celebrating every achievement made by any of them. Their successes bring honor to all past winners and smooth the path for future winners to follow.

This past year over ninety books were published by past winners, and far too many novellas, short stories, and articles, in both print and online publications, to include. Some titles are more recognizable than others, but all deserve equal attention based on the writers’ sheer perseverance alone.

The number of publications for our illustrators are of course even greater, with their work appearing on covers, in picture books, graphic novels, comics, websites, video games, movies, television shows, and more. Every image they create adds to the genre and enriches the world as a whole.

In addition, our current judge Brandon Sanderson recently signed a major motion picture deal for his Cosmere Universe with DMG Entertainment in what is described by Tor Books as a “massive” deal.

Award News for Past Winners and Judges

Each year, our writers and artists go on to garner more attention in their fields.

This year, past winner and now a judge, Nnedi Okorafor, won a Hugo Award for Best Novella and a Nebula Award for the same with her story Binti.

Paula R. Stiles co-edited an anthology, She Walks in Shadows, which follows women as they delve into Lovecraftian depths, and won a World Fantasy Award.

As for British SF Association Awards, Aliette de Bodard won two. One for her novel The House of Shattered Wings and another for her short story “Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight.”

Ken Liu won a Locus Award for best first novel, for The Grace of Kings.

Three of our past winners won Australia’s Aurealis Awards: current judge Sean Williams won for a short story, “All the Wrong Places.” In the fantasy novella category, Jason Fischer won for “Defy the Grey Kings,” while illustrator winner Shaun Tan won in the graphic novel category with The Singing Bones.

 The Seiun Award, given by the Japanese Science Fiction Federation, went this year to Ken Liu for his translated story “Good Hunting.”

Illustrator winners, Greg Opalinski and Omar Rayyan, appear in Spectrum 23 along with our own Contest judges Stefan Martiniere and Echo Chernik.

Four New Judges Added

We’re delighted to announce that we have added four new judges to our panels this year. Lazarus Chernik, Mike Perkins, and Ciruelo were added as judges to our illustrious panel for the Illustrators of the Future Contest.

Lazarus Chernik is a creative director, brand manager, and award-winning designer with over twenty years of experience in the corporate world, where he has worked for various major clients designing logos and web pages, while also teaching.

Mike Perkins is a long-time award-winning illustrator for Marvel Comics, having worked on Captain America, Thor, and The X-Men, and Stephen King’s The Stand. He counts being on the New York Times bestseller list and being exhibited in Munich, London, and Paris among his career achievements.

Ciruelo Cabral is an internationally renowned fantasy artist who has been commissioned by George Lucas, Wizards of the Coast, TSR, Tor, Warner, Ballantine, Heavy Metal magazine and many more.

For the Writers of the Future Contest, we’ve added Jody Lynn Nye, who over the past thirty years has published more than 40 novels and 120 short stories in fantasy and science fiction. In addition to writing, Jody frequently teaches writing workshops and helps mentor new writers. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband, the well-known and loved Bill Fawcett, who is also a writer, game designer, historian, and publisher.