Winners of the August 2013 Fiction Contest

The summer is over, but our love affair with speculative fiction lives on into the cold winter of our … where was I going with this? Oh, yeah, the demigods of decision have chosen the top stories from our August issue. Here are the winners:

The First Place award goes to Whispers in the Flame, by Steve Cotterill. This story caught us completely by surprise because it turned the whole city of London into a character. A creepy and seductive character, too. It’s the kind of character that pushes you to read faster because you want to know what she’s going to do, and at points it even felt like we were coming under her spell. That’s the hallmark of a fantastic story.

The Second Place Award goes to Memory Book, by Sean Monaghan. It was a breath of fresh air to see a dieselpunk story, and fun to read, but that’s not the reason it won an award. We loved the way that Sean was able to make an idyllic world that felt real and fully realized without needing to describe too much. And this story has a great protagonist that is remorseful about a past mistake and the rippling effect it has on her life. It’s a great example of layering a physical conflict on top of a mental/emotional conflict.

And the Third Place Award goes to Any Ending, by Alexandra Grunberg. We’re suckers for a good mystery train ride (who isn’t?), and a story of rebellion or self-awakening. This one had all of it, wrapped up in a dystopic candy shell. It’s short, lays out the necessary details, and lets the reader infer the rest. Normally we prefer a little more of a concrete ending, but Alexandra’s ending just felt right, especially given the topic.

Congratulations to the winner, and well done to the rest of the authors. This wasn’t an easy choice. We hope you enjoyed all the stories from August, and you can look forward to more greatness in September.



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