Sunday, October 17, 2010

Writers of the Future

This blog generally focuses on promoting other authors' fiction, but today I hope you'll forgive me a bit of self-promotion.

My story "The Dualist" is a winner of the Writers of the Future contest!

The star-studded judging panel of Tim Powers, K.D. Wentworth, Jerry Pournelle, and Doug Beason picked my story as third-best of the Second Quarter 2010, out of the untold boxes of submissions they get. As one of the top three, "The Dualist" will be in Writers of the Future, Volume XXVII next year, and I will be invited to a week-long writing workshop with Powers, Wentworth, and others.

Appearing in a Writers of the Future anthology is rather a big deal. Past volumes have included early stories by such outstanding writers as Stephen M. Baxter, M. Shayne Bell, Tobias S. Buckell, Mark Budz, Jeff Carlson, Aliette de Bodard, Nicholas DiChario, J.R. Dunn, Nancy Farmer, Marina Fitch, Eric Flint, Karen Joy Fowler, Carl Frederick, Valerie J. Freireich, James Alan Gardner, Carolyn Ives Gilman, Howard V. Hendrix, Jim C. Hines, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Michael Jasper, Jay Lake, David D. Levine, Ian McHugh, Syne Mitchell, John Moore, Jamil Nasir, Scott Nicholson, Nnedi Okorafor, Michael H. Payne, Tony Pi, Ken Rand, Robert Reed, R. Garcia y Robertson, Bruce Holland Rogers, Patrick Rothfuss, Matthew Rotundo, Diana Rowland, Steven Savile, Ken Scholes, Dean Wesley Smith, Martha Soukup, Jason Stoddard, Eric James Stone, Sarah Totton, Mary Turzillo, K.D. Wentworth, Sean Williams, Dave Wolverton (aka David Farland), Stephen Woodworth, and David Zindell. The list goes on, but I think 50 names is enough to make my point. Of course, the list of former winners who did not go on to a noteworthy writing career is even longer, and I have no particular reason to expect to join the former list rather than the latter, but still . . .

To have something in common with all these amazing writers is a huge thrill. It's also strangely unsettling. I have the impression that many of the writers who enter the Writers of the Future contest are young, energetic people determined to become professional authors. I, on the other hand, am a middle-aged fellow who has never thought seriously of a career in fiction, because I never believed I had the talent. I've never even entered the WOTF contest before, figuring that none of my previous feeble efforts would have a chance.

I have always had an absurd hero-worship of professional authors, and so never dared to think that I could do what they do. But in the past couple years I've had the pleasure of meeting some of the local Colorado writers like Paolo Bacigalupi and Ed Bryant, and as much as I admire their work, they are actually not fifteen feet tall. They are very friendly and interesting people, but do not seem superhuman at all (but then, I haven't checked Paolo's closet for capes). I still don't imagine I have it in me to write quite like Paolo or Ed -- who does? -- but somehow it's feeling less ridiculous to think of at least publishing some stuff in the same field. I am looking forward to this workshop next year more than I can say.

Congratulations to my fellow winners for this quarter, Patty Jansen and Ben Mann (both Australian), and the winners for the first quarter, Brennan Harvey, David D'Amico, and Ryan Harvey (no relation). Good luck to everyone in the third and fourth quarters of the contest. Hope to see you next Spring!


Amy said...


Somehow I seriously doubt that your previous stories were truly that "feeble". You write too well for that.

Aaron Hughes said...

Thanks, Amy! That's kind of you to say, but you haven't read the most feeble ones.

I'll see you at MileHiCon!

Ben Mann said...

Ooh, I discovered your blog Aaron! Congrats again on winning Q2. With the similarity in writing background I'm quite looking forward to the opportunity to chat.

Aaron Hughes said...

Thanks for dropping by, Ben, and congratulations again to you! I'm looking forward to getting together as well.

By the way, this is not really my blog -- it's associated with Fantastic Reviews. I write much of the content, but my fellow Fantastic Reviewer Amy does all the hard work behind the curtain. Most of my posts are story recommendations or posts about old books. There's almost nothing about my own writing, but I couldn't restrain myself from boasting about the contest.

Unknown said...

Wow, good job! I've been following WoTF since the first book was printed. I've always enjoyed new writers as well as Hubbard's old sci fi and fantasy stuff from the 1940s. Have you reviewed the later books?

Aaron Hughes said...

Thanks, Jim, and thanks for dropping by.

I've never reviewed a Writers of the Future anthology, and I probably won't now since it would seem like tooting my own horn, but I reserve the right to do a Story Recommendation of the Week at this blog for any of my fellow winners in the future.

As for Hubbard, I occasionally do "Neglected Masters" reviews for Fantastic Reviews, and Hubbard is one of the writers I expect I'll get to some time. Some of his early science fiction and fantasy is quite good and was influential at the time, even if he is much better remembered now for Dianetics and Scientology.