The 2016 Canopus Award for Interstellar Writing, established last year by 100 Year Starship, is open for nominations or submissions in seven categories through August 30, including two new categories for college work.
This year’s theme, “Near Steps to Interstellar,” explores what steps can or must be accomplished in the next five to 10 years to ensure successful human travel beyond our solar system to another star. Achieving the capabilities for a human interstellar journey by 2021 will demand discontinuous, radical advances. It also will require incremental progress be made in our knowledge of engineering, economics, social structures, biological systems, sustainability and commitment. Finally, the reality is that the vast majority of people and their descendants will remain on Earth. So, all along the way, how will the advances we make to get to the stars be exploited and impact life on Earth, our home planet?
The Award categories are:
PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED WORKS
- Long-form Fiction (Novel length – over 40,000 words – previously professionally published)
- Short-form Fiction (Short Story, Flash Fiction – 1,000 to 40,000 words – previously professionally published)
- Popular Non-Fiction (1,000 to 40,000 words – previously professionally published)
- Original Short-form Fiction (1,000 to 6,000 words – must be original and NOT previously published – on the theme “Near Steps to Interstellar”)
- Original Short-form Nonfiction (1,000 to 6,000 words – must be original and NOT previously published – on the theme “Near Steps to Interstellar”)
- Original College Short-form Fiction (1,000 to 5,000 words – must be original and NOT previously published – on the theme “Near Steps to Interstellar”)
- Original College Short-form Nonfiction (1,000 to 5,000 words – must be original and NOT previously published – on the theme “Near Steps to Interstellar”)
Award selection in the Previously Published Fiction and Non-fiction categories has two stages:
- Open nomination. The public can nominate works here at canopus.100yss.org. The open period for nominations is June 27 through August 30, 2016.
- Final judging. A judging panel selected of scientists, writers, cultural influencers, and experts will vote on the final winner in each of the two categories.
The Original and College Original Fiction and Non-fiction entries go through these two stages:
- Open submission. The public can submit works via their website here at canopus.100yss.org. The open period for submissions is June 27 through August 30, 2016.
- Review and finalists determination. The 100 Year Starship staff will review all submissions and a list of the best five in each of the two categories (short fiction and short non-fiction). Final judging. A judging panel selected of scientists, writers, cultural influencers, and experts will vote on the final winner in each of the two original submission categories.
Nominations for the Previously Professionally Published categories can be made here.
For the Previously Published categories, identification of a “distinguished publication” focuses on:
- Excellence of execution
- Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures;
- Excellence of presentation of the concept of interstellar exploration or travel
Original work can be submitted here.
Submit original college work here.
The Original and College Original category works must be original, meet established standards of quality writing, and have a significant component of interstellar exploration, research, and/or travel with a focus on pushing radical leaps in knowledge and technology while pioneering and transforming breakthrough applications that enhance the quality of life for all on Earth.
The Original and College Original category work are also encouraged to focus on the pillars of 100 Year Starship’s mission: Audacious, Resilience, Inclusion, Enhancing Quality of Life, Discipline, Energy, and Knowledge.
100 Year Starship, led by former astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison, is an independent initiative to ensure the capabilities for human interstellar travel exist within the next 100 years.
“Storytelling is essential to communicating and concretizing a vision. A story well told—fictional or non-fictional—pushes us to consider how, where, who and why we advance, stagnate or regress,” said Dr. Jemison. “The Canopus Award invites writers and journalists to join the adventure.”
Five finalists will be selected from each of the seven award categories and will be announced in September. Canopus judges will then select one winner from each list of finalists. Winners will be announced and honored during a special award ceremony at 100YSS’ annual public event.
Prizes include a crystal award, cash, publication, sponsorship to 100YSS special events and programs.
Hmm. Let’s just say that while I find the 100 Year Starship foundation an admirable endeavor, and I enjoyed attending the Symposium last year, I would be . . . cautious about submitting original work to this competition.
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