2022 • Volume 38

On the evening of Friday, 8 April 2022, Hollywood once again returned to its resplendent glamour and elegance with the 38th Annual L. Ron Hubbard Achievement Awards Gala for Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contests in the genres of science fiction and fantasy held at the Taglyan Cultural Complex.

The mammoth-themed evening was inspired by Bob Eggleton’s cover art for L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 38.

The cover artwork entitled, “The Mammoth Leaders,” was created by Founding Illustrators of the Future Contest Judge, Bob Eggleton. The art also inspired the story “A Word of Power,” from David Farland, our late Writers of the Future Contest Coordinating Judge and book editor.

The Grand Prize Winners

Desmond Astaire from Marquette Heights, IL, was named the 2022 Grand Prize Writer Winner and Zaine Lodhi from Lakewood, FL, was named the 2022 Grand Prize Illustrator Winner.

A capacity crowd of 320 people attended the black-tie gala. Presented by Author Services, Inc. and Galaxy Press, the theme for the two-and-half-hour awards show was the merging of pre-historic and futuristic worlds with magic.

Newly named Writers’ Contest Coordinating Judge, Jody Lynn Nye, and keynote speaker, Lt. General John F. “J.T.” Thompson (Ret.), announced writer Desmond Astaire as the 2022 the Golden Pen Award winner presenting him a trophy and a $5,000 check for his story, “Gallows.”

Coordinating Illustrators’ Contest Judge Echo Chernik and actress Nancy Cartwright announced illustrator Zaine Lodhi as the 2022 Golden Brush Award winner presenting him a trophy and a check for $5,000. Zaine Ladhi illustrated Azure Arthur’s story, “Agatha’s Monster,” in Writers of the Future Volume 38.

The awards show was held in the visually opulent grand ballroom of the Taglyan Cultural Complex nestled in the heart of Hollywood. Catered by Divine Food, the gala began with tray-passed hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, followed by a delectable three-course meal. The awards show was followed by a book signing and reception in the plush foyer of the Taglyan.

The awards show kicked off with singer Jesse L. Stevenson’s rousing rendition of L. Ron Hubbard’s poem, “Men of Reason,” followed by a moving tribute to the late David Farland, a longtime Writers of the Future Contest judge and book editor who passed away suddenly earlier this year, and a filmed message from the late legendary fantasy artist, Frank Frazetta.

Keynote speaker, John F. “J.T.” Thompson, recently retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant General and former Commander of the U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, said in his keynote address, “Everyone has doubts, everyone gets knocked down, everyone fails … the true measure of success, and perhaps the true nature of your character, is how you get back up! The mere fact that you’re here, that you’re presenting your work, means you’re representing your character well. You are light, and darkness cannot overcome you! Congrats to all of you!”

Snapshot from 2022

Year in the Contests

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, “The only constant in life is change.” Here at Writers of the Future, most of our change comes in the form of growth.


The number of entries to both the writing and illustration Contests rose to the highest ever, and this volume features winners from ten countries: Australia, China, England, India, Iran, Jamaica, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, and United States.

Entries this year continued to rise in overall quality. In part, this might be because, in 2020, we introduced an online workshop for anyone who would like to become a better writer. The course takes the author through the journey of writing a story: from formulating the idea to a finished draft. Over 6,000 students have enrolled in the course. It is free to enter, and access to the information is unlimited.

The Writers of the Future Podcast has also exploded in popularity. Hosted by the publishers of this anthology, the podcast features interviews with author and illustrator judges, past winners, editors, and other industry professionals. The podcast became syndicated this year, and many episodes have been listened to more than a million times.

Despite the pandemic, when deemed safe, the publishers of Writers of the Future continue to promote the Contest by traveling around the US or holding online events, inviting judges and past winners as guests. This year we appeared at 20Booksto50K in Las Vegas; Life, the Universe & Everything in Utah; Dragon Con in Atlanta; FanX in Utah; and at other popular venues.


The anthologies continue to grow in popularity, too. Last year’s anthology, volume 37, hit #1 on Amazon’s bestseller list in the US in seven categories and even appeared for a time with volume 36—so we had two bestselling anthologies at once. It also topped bestseller lists in Australia and the UK.

Reviews have been excellent for volume 37. The Midwest Book Review hailed it as the latest in a “trend setting series” and noted that the Contest has “contributed more talent than any other source to the genre,” while Tangent magazine offered a thoughtful analysis of each story and praised several authors.

The anthologies continue to amass awards. Volume 36 was a Foreword Indies 2020 Silver Winner in Science Fiction and a Finalist in Anthologies. The Critters Readers’ Poll awarded the Writers of the Future Forum as the Best Writers’ Discussion Forum.


Right before press time, and after this book was finalized, David Farland tragically left us. One of his last acts was to make this book the best it could be, and honor the writers in these pages. He also wrote his last story for this volume to accompany the cover by Bob Eggleton. Dave will be missed in all ways going forward, from his selfless help to young writers in his editing and teaching, to his amazing ability to drive the Contest forward into a bright future. Thank you, Dave.

We were sad to lose two illustrator judges. Gary Meyer passed away in February 2021, a renowned illustrator of such iconic art as the Jaws movie poster, Star Wars, album covers, and classic aerial art. He’d been a judge since 2012.

Ron Lindahn passed away in May; he’d been a judge since 1989. He succeeded Frank Kelly Freas as the Illustrators’ Contest Coordinating Judge. He had an impact on many young artists.


We proudly welcome two new illustrator judges: past winner Brittany Jackson, who is best known for her children’s book illustrations, and fantasy artist Tom Wood, whose creations of dragons and medieval, death-defying warriors have become iconic images of fantasy culture across the globe.

We also added a fine new writer judge, popular science fiction author S. M. Stirling, who has published over forty novels and is a wonderful addition to our writing workshop instructors.


So many of our authors and illustrators have good news, new books and stories to offer that we can’t discuss them all, but here are highlights from the year:

Contest judges Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson celebrated a hugely successful Dune movie release. International box-office numbers are well over $390 million (as of December 2021) and still climbing.

Brittany Jackson, grand prize illustrator for volume 24, had her second New York Times bestseller with her cover art for the LeBron James’s middle-grade novel We Are Family.

Aliya Chen, grand prize illustrator for volume 35, is now a concept artist at Netflix.

Jason Fischer (Vol. 26) from Australia released a novel in all formats, Papa Lucy & the Boneman.

Dutch winner Floris Kleijne (Vol. 20) released a thriller entitled KlaverBlad. It won the Schaduwprijs (Shadow Award) for the best debut thriller of the year, a significant thriller genre award in the Dutch language.

Michael Michera, grand prize illustrator for volume 33, is now working for Paramount Pictures as a concept artist.

The summer 2021 edition of DreamForge Magazine featured Wulf Moon (Vol. 35).

Past winner (Vol. 18) and judge Nnedi Okorafor released her new novel Remote Control.

Irvin Rodriguez, grand prize illustrator from volume 27, opened a gallery show in Pennsylvania.

At our Awards Ceremony in Hollywood, keynote speaker Toni Weisskopf from Baen Books, one of the largest speculative fiction publishers in the US, mentioned she has now published over fifty Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contest judges and winners.


We’re very proud of our Contest judges and winners who were honored with prestigious awards in the past year. Here are some highlights:

Analog Analytical Laboratory (AnLab) Readers’ Poll

Finalist: Best Fact Article—Coauthors Contest judges Gregory Benford and Larry Niven “Big Smart Objects”

Finalist: Best Fact Article—Contest judge Gregory Benford “Veiling the Earth”

Finalist: Best Cover Artist—Eldar Zakirov (Vol. 22)

Asimov’s Readers’ Poll

Finalist: Best Novella—Contest judge Nancy Kress “Semper Augustus”

Finalist: Best Novella—Contest judge Kristine Kathryn Rusch “Maelstrom”

Finalist: Best Novelette—Contest judge Kevin J. Anderson “The Hind”

Finalist: Best Cover Artist—Eldar Zakirov (Vol. 22)

Aurealis Awards

Winner: Best Science Fiction Novella—T. R. Napper (Vol. 31)
for “The Weight of the Air, The Weight of the World”

Finalist: Best Science Fiction Short Story—T. R. Napper (Vol. 31) for “Jack’s Fine Dining”

Finalist: Best Horror Novella—Michael Gardner (Vol. 36) for “Foundations” appearing in Writers of the Future Volume 36!

Finalist: Best Children’s Fiction—Contest judge Sean Williams for Her Perilous Mansion

Finalist: Best Collection—Cat Sparks (Vol. 21) for Dark

Aurora Awards

Finalist: Best Novel—Contest judge Robert J. Sawyer for The Oppenheimer Alternative

Baen Awards

Winner: Fantasy Adventure Award—M. Elizabeth Ticknor
(Vol. 38) for “Echoes of Meridian”

Grand Prize: Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award—G. Scott Huggins (Vol. 15) for “Salvage Judgment”

First Runner-up: Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award— C. Stuart Hardwick (Vol. 30) for “Reaction Time”

Chesley Awards

Finalist: Best Cover Illustration—Madolyn Locke (Vol. 37) for Valian Styrke: Knight of Fate

Finalist: Best Color Work: Unpublished—Bruce Brenneise (Vol. 34) for “Garden of Solitude”

Ditmar Awards

Winner: Best Collected Work—Cat Sparks (Vol. 21) for Dark Harvest

Finalist: Best Collected Work—T. R. Napper (Vol. 31) for Neon Leviathan

Finalist: Best Novelette—T. R. Napper (Vol. 31) for “The Weight of the Air, The Weight of the World”

Hugo Awards

Finalist: Best Novelette—Aliette de Bodard (Vol. 23) for “The Inaccessibility of Heaven”

Finalist: Best Related Work—Vida Cruz (Vol. 34) for FIYAHCON

Locus Awards

Winner: Collection—Ken Liu (Vol. 19) for The Hidden Girl and Other Stories

Finalist: Novella—Aliette de Bodard (Vol. 23) for Of Dragons, Feasts and Murders and Seven of Infinities

Finalist: Best Novelette—Aliette de Bodard (Vol. 23) for “The Inaccessibility of Heaven”

Finalist: Best Novelette—Ken Liu (Vol. 19) for “A Whisper of Blue”

Finalist: Short Story—Aliette de Bodard (Vol. 23) for “In the Lands of the Spills”

Finalist: Short Story—Ken Liu (Vol. 19) for “50 Things Every AI Working with Humans Should Know”

Finalist: Artist—Contest judges Shaun Tan (Vol. 8) and Bob Eggleton

Finalist: Illustrated and Art Book—Fantastic Paintings of Frazetta art by Contest judge Frank Frazetta

Mike Resnick Memorial Award

Winner: Best Unpublished Science Fiction Short Story— Z. T. Bright (Vol. 38) for “The Measure of a Mother’s Love”

Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award

Finalist—Ken Liu (Vol. 19) for “50 Things Every AI Working with Humans Should Know”

Of course, with so many winners, we’re at a point where we can’t list everything here, but dozens of published short stories and novels can be found listed on the Contests’ blog.

That’s it for this year. Looking forward to next year and a spectacular future!