2018 • Volume 34

Twenty-four writers and artists have converged on Hollywood, from all points of the globe, for the 34th Annual Writers & Illustrators of the Future Awards Celebration.

The awards celebration was held in the Elks Hall of The MacArthur, a historic Los Angeles landmark conceived in a visually opulent Gothic Revival architectural style with cathedral-like ceilings. The book signing and reception, which followed the awards event, was held in the equally well-appointed Grand Ballroom.

The keynote speaker was Ruben Padilla, a magician and founder of Narrative Strategies. In his address, Ruben delivered a heart-felt presentation to the winners and guests and stated, “The entire purpose of tonight is to celebrate, in all its fantastical forms, the creation of words and illustrations. Something magical happens to you when you write something down.”

Artist and Illustrators of the Future Judge Larry Elmore was presented with the L. Ron Hubbard Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Arts.

An “In Memoriam” tribute was performed by actress Judy Norton for two of our exceptionally creative and brilliant minds who we are very grateful to have had on our panel of blue-ribbon judges—Dr. Jerry Pournelle and Dr. Yoji Kondo—missed forever, but forgotten, never.

Snapshot from 2018

Year in the Contests

Last Year’s Anthology

Each year we as judges and administrators strive to bring together an anthology that is of the highest quality that we can create, mixing articles and stories from judges, fantastic new illustrations from great new artists, and of course the stories that come from the best new writers that we can glean from around the world. So we hope each year that our efforts are well received, and last year we got some great reviews.

First of all, the anthology met with critical success, eliciting praise from Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and this nice review from Omni Magazine: “Outside of easily being the best gateway competition for new and upcoming genre fiction writers, WotF also puts together a fantastic anthology book every year containing high-caliber stories that longtime fans and newcomers will enjoy.… The artwork is top-notch.”

Just as importantly, last year’s anthology, Writers of the Future Volume 33, hit #1 on the bestseller list for science fiction on Amazon, hit #1 on Barnes and Noble, hit #6 on the UK’s Daily News, and hit in the top ten on sixty-nine other bestseller lists.

Contest Growth

The L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contests are some of the largest and longest-running contests in the world—and they are still growing by leaps and bounds.

In 2017, we celebrated the highest number of entrants ever for both the Writers of the Future and the Illustrators of the Future Contests. For example, the fourth quarter saw a 33% increase of entries making it our largest single quarter ever. We love seeing this level of competition. It means that each quarter, we have a better chance of discovering great new talent.

Judges Who Passed in 2017

This past year we were saddened to lose two of our writing judges.

Dr. Jerry Pournelle passed away in September. He, of course, was famous for his megahit novels, such as Lucifer’s Hammer and The Mote in God’s Eye. He had also been a judge for the Writers of the Future Contest since 1986, so he helped mentor writers in the Contest for thirty-two years, always attending the awards ceremonies and speaking personally to the new winners during the writing seminars.

We also lost Dr. Yoji Kondo, a distinguished astrophysicist working with NASA since 1965. He wrote science fiction under the name of Eric Kotani. He was also an accomplished aikido instructor. Yoji passed away in October. He attended the Writers of the Future Awards ceremony each year with his wife and took great delight in encouraging our new writers.

Publications by Past Winners

Each year, we go to great lengths to try to discover what our past Writers and Illustrators of the Future winners have been up to, but given the proliferation of online books and magazines, any numbers we give out would probably not reflect everything that has been released. For example, we counted over 100 novels by our writer winners this past year, but that doesn’t include the hundreds of short stories they published. The same is true for our illustrators, who continue to publish dozens of book covers, illustrated books, graphic novels, comics, and so on. And, of course, much of the artwork done by our illustrators goes into products like video games, movie and television designs, etc., and that art is only seen once the work hits the screen. Rather than attempt to list everything, we give the highlights in our awards section below.

Awards Won in 2017 by Our Past Winners and Judges

World Fantasy Awards: Rachael K. Jones was a finalist for a World Fantasy Award in the short fiction category for “The Fall Shall Further the Flight in Me,” which was published in the anthology Clockwork Phoenix. Karen Joy Fowler was a finalist for best anthology, The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016, which she edited along with John Joseph Adams. And Ken Liu was a finalist for his collection, The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories.

Washington Science Fiction Association’s Small Press Award: Brad R. Torgersen was a finalist with his “Jupiter or Bust” (Intergalactic Medicine Show, Mar/Apr 2016). Aliette de Bodard was also a finalist for “A Salvaging of Ghosts” (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Mar 2016).

Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic: James Alan Gardner was a finalist for his story “The Dog and the Sleepwalker,” which was published in the anthology Strangers Among Us.

Aurora Awards: Writers Contest judge Robert J. Sawyer won Canada’s Aurora Award for best novel for Quantum Night. He also won the Aurora Award for best novel of the decade for The Neanderthal Parallax.

Hugo Awards: Ken Liu was a finalist for best novel as translator for Death’s End, written by Cixin Liu. Also, Carolyn Ives Gilman was a finalist with her novelette “Touring with the Alien,” (Clarkesworld, Apr 2016).

The David Gemmell Awards for Fantasy: The Morningstar Award for best fantasy debut went to Megan E. O’Keefe for her novel Steal the Sky. Writers Contest judge Brandon Sanderson was a finalist for the best fantasy novel with The Bands of Mourning.

Locus Awards: Ken Liu was a finalist for best fantasy novel for The Wall of Storm. David D. Levine was a finalist for best first novel for Arabella of Mars. Aliette de Bodard placed as a finalist for her novelette “Pearl” published in the anthology The Starlit Wood. In the short story category Aliette de Bodard scored another finalist for “A Salvaging of Ghosts” (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Mar 2016), Ken Liu for “Seven Birthdays” from the anthology Bridging Infinity; and past winner and current judge Nnedi Okorafor for “Afrofuturist 419” (Clarkesworld, Nov 2016).

The award for best collection went to Ken Liu for The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories. Ken Liu was also nominated for Invisible Planets: An Anthology of Contemporary Chinese SF in Translation.

The Locus Award honored past winner and current Illustrator Contest judge Shaun Tan for his book The Singing Bones.

Shaun Tan and Illustrators of the Future judge Bob Eggleton were finalists for best artist.

Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award: Carolyn Ives Gilman won second place for her story “Touring with the Alien” (Clarkesworld, Apr 2016).

Ditmar Awards: Jason Fischer was a finalist for his novelette “By the Laws of Crab and Woman” (Review of Australian Fiction Volume 17, Issue 6). Also, Cat Sparks won for best short story with “No Fat Chicks” published in the anthology In Your Face. Tim Napper was a finalist in the short story category with “Flame Trees,” which he wrote while in our writing workshop (Asimov’s Science Fiction, Apr/May 2016). Tim was also a finalist for best new writer. For the best art Ditmar Award, WotF contest winner, Shauna O’Meara won for her illustrations in Lackington’s Issue #12.

James Tiptree Jr. Literary Award: Rachael K. Jones was on the honor list for “The Night Bazaar for Women Becoming Reptiles” (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Jul 2016).

Compton Crook Award: David D. Levine was a finalist for his novel Arabella of Mars.

Nebula Awards: William Ledbetter won the Nebula Award for Best Novelette with “The Long Fall Up” (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May/Jun 2016).

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Novel in Science Fiction and Fantasy: David D. Levine won for Arabella of Mars.

Analog Award: C. Stuart Hardwick was a finalist for his novelette “Dreams of the Rocket Men.” The award for best short story went to Frank Wu for “In the Absence of Instructions to the Contrary” (Nov 2016). The best cover award went to Illustrator Contest judge Vincent Di Fate (Dec 2016). Other finalists included Eldar Zakirov (Mar 2016), and judge Bob Eggleton (Jun and Apr).

Asimov’s Readers’ Awards: James Alan Gardner won in the short story category with “The Mutants Men Don’t See” (Aug 2016).

Aurealis Awards: Nick T. Chan won for best science fiction novella with “Salto Mortal” (Lightspeed, Jun 2016). The winner for best science fiction short story was Samantha Murray for “Of Sight, of Mind, of Heart,” (Clarkesworld, Nov 2016), and a finalist for best science fiction short story went to Ian McHugh for “The Baby Eaters” (Asimov’s Science Fiction, Jan 2016).

In the category of best fantasy novella, Jason Fischer was a finalist for “By the Laws of Crab and Woman.”

T.R. Napper won best horror short story with “Flame Trees” while another finalist was R.P.L. Johnson for “Non-Zero Sum” published in SNAFU: Hunters. Shauna O’Meara was a finalist for best young adult short story with “No One Here Is Going to Save You” from the anthology In Your Face.

And in the category of best children’s fiction, Lee Battersby was a finalist with Magrit.

Colorado Independent Publishers Association Book Awards: Gabriel F. W. Koch won third place for his novel Paradox Effect.

Gaughan Award: Illustrator winner Kirbi Fagan is the 2017 recipient.

The Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Award went to our writing judge Robert J. Sawyer.

Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Past Illustrator judge Jack Kirby was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.

This is the news from 2017, and we are looking forward to another stellar year!