What’s that in the sky, leaping over plot points with a single bound? Is it a flock of fairies? Is it a confusion of UFOs? No! It’s the winners of our September 2013 Fiction Contest. You may recognize their mild-mannered alter egos that appeared on our site last month.
We had an interesting competition in September, not only because the writing was strong, but because several stories weren’t easily categorized into a particular genre. We love fiction that keeps us on our toes. That’s right, these stories are like literary high-heels. Wait, that doesn’t sound as prestigious as I hoped it would. Well, regardless, these three are the best of the bunch.
The First Place award goes to Miye’s In, by Joanna Maciejewska. It is so easy to let epic fantasy go off the rails, especially when it occurs in an alternate world filled with new words and concepts. But this story keeps you on track and focused on the characters (where the focus should ALWAYS be). The setting and world-building flows seamlessly in the background so that it gives a sense of culture and atmosphere without being cloying or distracting from the narrative.
The Second Place Award goes to Time to Sell, by J. Rohr. This is another story that lives in another world, but feels so familiar. We loved the concept of mixing an old profession (sales) with a radical twist. This story had just the right amount of wonder, speculation, and characterization to pull it off.
Third Place goes to The Second British Empire, by Alastair Keith. Mixing history with the future makes for moving stories, and this one walks a fine line, avoiding falling into didacticism on one side or triteness on the other. This story makes us think about how we treat other people regardless of the time and setting.
Well done to our winners, and thanks to all our authors. Every single story had amazing elements, and we’re glad it’s such a hard decision to pick a winner. Stay tuned for the Reader’s Choice Poll, which goes live later today. And check out the September stories in ebook format: Kindle version, Smashwords Version.