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“Ink” – The Judge’s Choices

It’s time for the next round of announcements for our 2021 QSF spec fiction contest. First off, the five Judges’ Choices. These stories were not chosen as our top three winners, but were singled out by our judges and director for special recognition. Congrats to all!

Ink Judge's Choice

Judge: Angel Martinez

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Brenna Harvey

“The Ink-themed entries for this year’s flash fiction contest were surprisingly blood and death laden (surprising to me, at any rate), so the lighthearted stories really stood out for me. I found this particularly whimsical piece completely charming with a surprising amount of world building nestled in its economical details. I’ll admit I have a soft spot for future AI/human interaction, and this was done in such a warm and caring way that the reader understands how much the AI means to her human students through the interaction. Funny, inventive and a completely unique entry, it left me laughing and with an attack of the warm fuzzies.

Judge: B.A. Brock

Bryan Crystal-Thurston

“Every year, judging for the Queer Sci Fi Flash Fiction Anthology contest feels as if I’m coming back to old friends, and every year I’m delighted to make new ones. My new friend this year is the story Fluid, my judge’s pick, which coincidentally is also about friendship. The main character, a gender nonconforming amorphous monster, is maybe a touch too relatable to me: definitely awkward, a bit cranky, and possibly lonely. The endearing protagonist combined with the engaging dialog and the sweet Monsters Inc. vibe compelled me to elevate this story in our publication, and I’m deeply grateful for its representation. As always, it’s been a pleasure. See you next year.”

Judge: KA Masters

I Never Knew
Eytan Bernstein

“Despite the gut-wrenching sad tone of the submission, I adored “I Never Knew.” The bond between the siblings felt incredibly authentic, and the devastating consequences of suicide in the piece highlight the ongoing need to support our LGBTQIA+ youth.”

Judge: Devon Widmer

Faith and the Thorncutters
Die Booth

“The stories that impressed me the most were those that managed to use the sparse 300-word limit to offer a glimpse into a fully-developed speculative world. Only a few stories achieved this monumental feat, and “Faith and the Thorncutters” was without a doubt one of the most successful in that regard. This story truly makes every single word count, resulting in a rich narrative that feels so much more expansive than any 294 little words have any right to be. An all around excellent story that showcases just how much a skilled author can accomplish with only a few words!”

Judge: E.M. Hamill

Ziggy Schutz

This story had my attention from the first sentence, all the way to the end. The final line instills a sense of hope . Knowledge dispels fear.  It’s the only one I read out loud to someone else because I had to share some of the imagery. Well done!

Ink Director's Choice

Director: J. Scott Coatsworth

Rodello Santos

“There was stiff competition for my Director’s Choice this year. I started with ten stories, each of which had something I adored. It took a while, but in the end, Told’s combination of a writing theme, a plucky protagonist, and a truly lovely, lyrical storytelling style won me over. The beauty of the flowing text and the idea of the story dying to be told and made flesh proved too much for me to resist. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.”

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