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Winners of the Quantum-Steampunk Brief-Story Contest


Through the previous seven months, I’ve steamed throughout the Atlantic, sailed in a flying fortress, teleported throughout the globe, and shuttled ahead and backward in time. Literarily, not actually—the Quantum-Steampunk Brief-Story Contest started welcoming submissions in October 2022. We challenged everyone aged 13 and over to put in writing a steampunk narrative that includes an actual or imagined quantum know-how. 100 sixty-seven entries arrived from 29 nations. Skilled writers submitted tales, as did 13-year-olds. Tenured physics professors, librarians, English and math lecturers, undergraduates, physicians, graduate college students, and a United States Senate staffer entered. Due to their creativity, I now have a folder filled with different worlds.

I’m over the moon (in a steam-powered ship) to announce the winners. David Wakeham acquired the $1,500 grand prize for the story The Creature of Ashen Home. First runner-up Gerard McCaul received $1,000 for Physician Up and Mister Down, and second runner-up Paulo Barreto received $500 for Eikonal. The Individuals’s Alternative Award ($500) went to Cristina Legarda for Pursuit, additionally nominated by two judges for a “Please Flip This right into a Novel” award. Due to the 261 of you who voted within the Individuals’s Alternative competitors!

Along with conventional awards, we created 4 idiosyncratic ones, every entailing $250. We acknowledged Jeff Provine’s Stealing Buttons for its badass steampunk heroine; Matt King’s Three Imperiled Scientists for its wit and (relatedly) its portrayal of academia; Rick Searle’s The Recurrence Machine for its steampunk environment; and Claudia Clarke’s Trying Ahead, Trying Again, for its heart-capturing automaton. You’ll be able to learn all of the finalist tales right here.

Quantum-steampunk graphic by contest entrant Kayla Phan, who used YouChat Think about

Sending our judges the finalists in March, I felt not solely exhilaration (and reduction, as whittling down 167 entries entails no little hand wringing), but additionally anxiousness. Would the tales measure up? So I should have glowed when the primary choose submitted his evaluations: Speculative-fiction creator Ken Liu enthused, “The entries had been so enjoyable to learn.” Comparable reactions adopted from throughout the panel, which featured consultants in arithmetic, philosophy, inventive writing, experimental quantum physics, and historical past: “I had an excellent time studying these tales,” one other panelist wrote. “This was enjoyable and a few wonderful spring break airplane (no dirigibles, I’m afraid) studying,” stated one other. Many due to our judges and short-listing committee for his or her enter. College of Maryland undergraduates Hannah Cho and Jade Leschack led the group of scholars who narrowed down the candidates. I couldn’t resist treating the committee to a Victorian-inspired thank-you upon asserting the winners.

Thank-yous baked by Panera, not me

Though this 12 months’s contest has ended, quantum-steampunk literature has simply shipped out from its berth. Two contest entrants have posted their tales on their very own on-line domains: You’ll be able to learn the thriller by Duke physics professor Ken Brown right here and the journey by quantum-algorithm designer Brian Siegelwax right here. All different entrants, please be happy to submit your tales and to submit them to different literary contests. Drop me a line, and go away a hyperlink within the chat under, when your story is printed. I’d love to listen to how your journey continues.

Additionally, keep tuned for v2.0 of the Quantum-Steampunk Brief-Story Contest. A corporation has expressed curiosity in a reboot throughout the 2024–2025 educational 12 months. AI-collaboration class, anybody? Bonus factors for those who use a quantum neural community. Please e mail me for those who’d wish to help the trouble!

Quantum-steampunk graphic by contest entrant Necklace Devkota

The chance to helm this contest has been a privilege and a dream. Many due to our writers, readers, funder (the John Templeton Basis), workers (particularly webmaster Anıl Zenginoğlu), judges, and shortlisting committee. Hold writing, and hold experimenting.



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