It’s time to announce the first three of our Judge’s Picks – stories that did not win the contest, but that at least one of our judges absolutely loved.
Stranded at the Mouth of the Time-Tunnel, Gilchrist Loses a Lucky Penny
by Carey Ford Compton
Judge: S R Jones
“I loved this one because it was clever- not just with the use of the time tunnel, but also the introduction of the character’s pronouns and their feelings about them. It was also a story that did not rely on romance to show queerness, which made it stand out, and one where the theme was used well- both as the physical impact of the penny against the ship, but also how one’s own actions can have a huge impact on what happens in our lives, whether we intend them to or not.”
Judge: Carole Cummings
“So, the thing about this story that so impressed me—well, there were a few things, but the one that grabbed me first was the fact that the reader can’t be a passive observer to this. They have to follow. They have to imagine. They have to pay attention. They have to *think*. You built a full, vivid world in just 300 words, communicated its oppressiveness and questionable humanity, and compelled the reader to observe it, analyze it, and outwit it right along with Chenu. Speaking of—the characterization was pretty damned adept. You managed to show the reader that Chenu isn’t much for exhibiting feelings—indeed, that Chenu is best off not having any—and yet at the same time, exposed him in a brilliant subtle fashion as someone who *does* feel and deeply, who deserves better, and man oh man, I for one was so glad he was going for it. The story was engaging, intelligent, and written beautifully. And the hopeful note at the end was just… sublime. Altogether, this story is quite an accomplishment. I hope you know that, and I hope you take pride in it.”
Low Tech Impact
Judge: Siri Paulson
“This story makes me cry every time I read it. It’s straightforward, yet so effective. I’m always astounded when an author manages to use 300 words to span multiple years, making a tiny flash fiction piece into an epic tale. There’s a big relationship story here that’s just hinted at, but the hints are all that’s needed. I also liked that this isn’t an Issue Story: the queer relationship just is, no big deal. (Of course it’s important to tell those stories too, but not to the exclusion of all other queer stories.) And finally, like many of the best science fiction works, this piece filters science through characters to say something thoughtful about the world. Well done.”
Congrats to all of you! We’ll announce our other three picks tomorrow.