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Innovation Judges’ Choices

Innovation Badge - Judge's Choice

It’s that time again (well, technically it was time yesterday, but life got in the way). Every year, each of our judges chooses a story that didn’t make the final three, but that touched them in some way. Scott also chooses a story as the contest director.

Here are this year’s choices, and what the judges had to say about them:

“Are My High-Speed Underwater Sperm Darts Normal?” And Other Teen Questions.
by Brenna Harvey

It has been my immense pleasure to judge the Queer Sci Fi Flash Fiction Anthology every year, and each year I’ve gravitated toward visceral stories with compelling worldbuilding. This year is no exception. Are My High-Speed Underwater Sperm Darts Normal? was a delightful sci fi humor tale about what happens on a galactic level when you try to enforce abstinence and abstinence-only education. Love will find a way… with the help from science and lots of pamphlets, of course.  ~Ben

Cuttles and Chthonic Curry
by Ginger Streusel

Amid all of the stories of innovations writ large – life-changing, society changing, sometimes deadly – this story stuck with me. Innovation here is small and personal, cooking innovations, and the scene is written with warmth and humor. The alien couple is adorable, from the wild culinary explorations to the color-changing according to her mood cuttlefish alien. This is such a cozy, bright nest of a story at a time when we all need more cuttles, er, cuddles. ~Angel

A New Line of Communication
by Jamie Lackey

Religion is usually so rooted in its orthodoxies that changes are volcanic. The change depicted in this story is not the stuff of “Chosen One” divine narratives, but is still a significant shift that isn’t schismatic or rooted in the asexuality of its protagonist. Instead it’s in the way that the gods communicate directly with their worshipers. More importantly, because the gods acknowledge and enable the change, nothing is forced or upended. For a significant religious event, it’s quite graceful. I find that refreshing. ~Hank

An Original Use of Magic
by C.L. McCartney

I will freely admit that the first selling point for this story is dragons, as they are a favourite creature of mine and I especially enjoy when they are not the “bad guys” in the fiction they appear in! Dragons aside, I chose this story because it was a pleasurable read for me—I forgot I was reading to judge it!  I also wanted the story to continue, which is impressive to do in 300 words. Which is why I had marked the story as one of my favorites in the first place. Now if we could just get a follow up on how things work out for the assignment and the dragons… ~Diane

by Cassidy Frazee

I found this one sweet and a bit mischievous. Body swaps can be fun, especially when they are used as device of fun humor instead of a tool for learning, sexual gratification, or punishment. ~Ryane

Innovation Director's Choice badge

The Choice
by David Gerrold

I loved this quiet little story. It made me wish my own coming out had been so easy and so early in life, instead of a nerve-wracking two-week event. And there was something about the father’s implicit acceptance that warmed my little gay heart. Well done, David. :) ~Scott

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