Monday, 4 May 2015

Writers of the Future Volume 31 - Review



Writers of the Future is a competition established by L Ron Hubbard (yes the Scientology founder) which chooses twelve writers and twelve illustrators every year who win large cash prizes. The stories, all of them anonymous, are read by a blue-ribbon panel of judges that include some of the greatest luminaries in science fiction and fantasy. Art pieces by the illustrator entrants are similarly judged by powerhouse artists in the field. And out of thousands of submissions, the judges each quarter choose the top three, the very best.

All of the quarterly winners are invited to attend an intensive, five-day master-class workshop where they are taught the skills and techniques to become professionals.


Their winning stories, along with accompanying illustrations, are published in an annual anthology. This anthology also has stories by (as you can see from the picture) Orson Scott Card, Larry Niven and other luminaries. (Although I do take issue with OSC I didn't know he was involved when I agreed to review this book).

This is, as you'd expect, an eclectic mix of styles and voices. Some very good, some fairly average, none bad. However this variety is the strength of the book, it will pretty much have something for every fan of SF.

I really liked the opening story Switch by Steve Pantazis which was about experimental drugs and a whole "to catch a thief" feel. Other stories of note were A Revolutionary ’s Guide to Practical Conjuration by Auston Habershaw A coming of age in a city at war with an almost Steampunk style and great worldbuilding, also had my favourite of the illustrations, by Shuangjian Liu and Twelve minutes to Vinh Quang by Tim Napper with gangsters, refugees a believable female protagonist and a look forward in time to the future of Southeast Asia.

Some of the names in this book will only become more familiar with time I expect.

Overall - Great mix of SF stories

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