This is very slightly late, but my sleep schedule has been very mucked up lately, for various reasons.
Before I continue though, I see we have a large number of new followers of late! Welcome one and all. So glad you could be here to join us on this great literary adventure.
So, today, we announce the prompt of the DFTBA Short Story Contest 2013. And that prompt is…
No, not drums, it’s -
“Applied 21st Century Research”
At this point, one or two of you may be scratching your heads slightly, and its true that this prompt is a little more elaborate than last year’s one so let me explain.
What I’m wanting you to write this year is a story about, or somehow involving, research or discoveries or inventions or developments that have happened in the last thirteen years. I want you to find an article about something that was discovered, or developed, or researched, or proposed, or invented in the 21st century, and write a story about it.
To give you some idea of what I mean, here are some examples.
A story about interstellar travel based on the warp drive proposed in the following Sci Show video.
A story about how it came to be that Richard III’s body was buried in what became a car park.
A story about people with artificial limbs being allowed to compete in the Olympics.
A story about the cure for AIDS being developed, and what that might mean.
A story about how the conquest of the Mexicans by the Aztec Empire changed them so radically.
A story about just how much you can learn about someone from their face and what that kind of thing could mean.
A story about the Higgs Boson and/or CERN, and how they both might do things in the future.
A story about travel in the Roman world that we can now better understand thanks to research.
A story that looks at immersive, collaborative gaming now, and sees where it could go.
I hope this gives you some idea of what we’re looking for this year. Basically, we want a story that takes something that was invented/discovered/proposed/developed/researched since 2000, and use it to make a fiction narrative.
Just one point of clarification, this does not necessarily mean stories about the research itself. The anthology isn’t looking to be filled with fictionalised accounts of research from this century. Its more looking for stories that take the subject matter of the research (or the applications of the technologies etc) and make stories out of that.
To be clear, this could be any field. Maybe a new interpretation of a particular event was published in this century. Maybe there was a survey that suggested something strange about the way society functions. Maybe there was some proposed political idea, or some way of regulating society that was proposed or researched in the last 13 years. There is a lot of scope here, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what people do with it.
The one rule that this prompt does bring into the equation is sourcing. To prove that your story is based on something that was actually developed/researched etc in this century, you’ll need to provide a source that shows and discusses the topic of your story. Also, Wikipedia does not count. It’s a great place as a hub to find such research, but its no good as an actual source in and of itself. Specifics will be discussed in detail later, but I’d like to think that most of our readers here can tell the difference between a credible and non-credible source.
What is being asked for here could be broadly described as “science fiction” since it is all fiction that is being inspired by new developments. But the crucial point is that those new developments arn’t being made only in the science field. There are all kinds of fields that had made all kinds of advancements in the twenty first century. Sociology, psychology, history, economics, art theory, literature… so many different fields have grown and changed that there is plenty to go out and inspire you. And crucially, you’re not limited to writing about the changes themselves. Those are an important starting point, and depending upon your choice of research, the discoveries themselves may be your principle focus. But equally, you could say “what did these theories mean if applied in X way in the future” or “how does what we see here interact with what we know already?” These, and many other questions, are very possible to discuss with this prompt.
Naturally, I expect some of you will have questions and ideas about what to do with this, so please feel free to ask. You can send me an ask, or you can drop me an email at
Although please make it clear if you send an email if you’re comfortable with me discussing the answer to your question on the tumblr.
Speaking of the email, I’d also like it if you could use it for other things too. We’re still looking for judges, we’ve had one or two people apply, but we’ll need more if we want to make this really work (At least one judge from last year is up for taking part again, so that’s good news)
Also, we’ll be starting the logo design contest soon. I’m attempting to get DesignersOfTumblr on board, and we are discussing the particularities of the deadline as we speak. The brief is as follows:
“A clear, bright and bold logo, incorporating the themes of Nerdfighteria (the hand sign, French Llama’s, etc), creative writing, and the specific prompt of this year - applied 21st century research (of any field). The words “DFTBA Short Story Contest 2013” must be included.”
If you want to submit logo designs right now, please email them to
and make it clear in the subject line that your submitting a logo. Also, remember, the winning designer will also need to be available to design a front cover for the anthology.
This links into another important point, and I need to say this in bold.
YOU CANNOT SUBMIT STORIES YET!
The reason for this is that since we don’t have a logo (because I couldn’t really ask for a logo without giving the prompt away), I didn’t want to be setting up the events and tickets without one, and so we haven’t got an eventbrite thing up yet, so you can’t buy a ticket, so you can’t submit yet. Rest assured though, when we’ve got a logo, very shortly afterwards you will be able to submit. I am just letting you know now, not to send them to me by e-mail. As some of our newer followers may not know, we raise money here not only through the sale of the anthology, but also through a very small entrance fee that is then donated to the foundation to decrease worldsuck. But while you can’t submit yet, you can definitely start work on your stories. So get writing!
One final piece of news, we are upping the word limit. You now have between 1000 and 5000 words to write your story. To be clear, you don’t have to reach that limit, but this way you have some extra space to really let your story fly!
Thank you all so much for being a part of this. I’m really looking forward to seeing what everyone submits this year.
God Bless, Best Wishes and DFTBA