Three winning entries in the Quantum Shorts 2019 flash fiction competition were announced June 10, chosen from 647 submissions — quantum short stories that are no longer than 1000 words and contained the phrase “things used to be so simple.”
The top three stories “explore the many worlds idea from quantum physics, in which every event is understood to have all possible outcomes, each happening in its own branch of the universe.” For example, “Shinichi’s Tricycle” hinges on the development of the atomic bomb.
The top two prize-winners were decided by a jury of eight expert scientists and writers reviewed ten stories earlier shortlisted from 647 submissions to the competition. A public vote decided the third prize. Each winning author gets a cash award and an engraved trophy, on top of their shortlist award and one-year digital subscription to Scientific American.
The shortlisting judges, drawn from the competition’s scientific partners, had high praise for this year’s stories. Andrew Hanson at the UK’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL): “They were a very welcome escape from a world that has suddenly become very sci-fi. It was warming how the authors used abstract, odd, perhaps even obscure building blocks to make something beautiful, coherent, witty and relevant.”