Heinlein Centennial Story Winners

The Heinlein Society has named the winners of the Robert A. Heinlein Centennial Short Story Contest originally announced during celebrations of the author’s 100th birthday:

  • 1st Place, and $5,000 award — “Under the Shouting Sky,” by Karl Bunker
  • 2nd Place, and $2,000 award — “In the Shadows,” by Charlie Allery
  • 3rd Place, and $1,000 award — “Salvage Sputnik,” by Sam S. Kepfield

Don’t anyone go yonmei before reading the press release: one of the prize winners is a woman.

The full press release appears after the jump. (Or is that on the bounce?)

[Thanks to Keith Kato for the story.]


Sep 1, 2009 01:14:41 PM

[email protected] wrote:

For Immediate Release

Heinlein Society Announces Winners of Robert A. Heinlein Centennial Short Story Contest

September 1, 2009 — The Heinlein Society (http://www.heinleinsociety.org/ ) announced today the three winners of the Robert A. Heinlein Centennial Short Story Contest. The contest was originally announced at celebrations of the 100th anniversary of famed American author and first Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Grand Master Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988). The stories were judged on general literary quality and reflection of the spirit, ideas and philosophies contained in the works of Robert A. Heinlein. A panel of professional authors and editors made the final selection of the three winners. The contest was administered by The Heinlein Society, with a prize fund donated by an admirer of Heinlein’s works who wishes to remain anonymous.

1st Place, and $5,000 award — “Under the Shouting Sky,” by Karl Bunker. Karl Bunker is a software engineer living in Boston, Massachusetts. Relatively new as a science fiction writer, his love of SF began at an early age. “The very first book I read that wasn’t a children’s book was a 1950s paperback anthology of science fiction stories,” Karl says. “I didn’t set out to write a ‘Heinlein-esque’ story with ‘Under the Shouting Sky’, but when it was finished I saw that it included some of my favorite aspects of Heinlein’s works. Most notable of these is the nature of the central character. Someone whom no one–including himself–expects to be a hero, but who becomes heroic by doing what he knows he must do, acting on an unspoken sense of something greater than himself.” Of “Under the Shouting Sky”, THS president David Silver notes, “Bunker’s story perfectly captures the quintessential Heinlein story of quiet heroism and duty fulfilled whatever the personal price.” 

2nd Place, and $2,000 award — “In the Shadows,” by Charlie Allery. Ms Allery reports, “I’m English and live in Somerset in the United Kingdom. I have a BSc in Marine Biology, an HGV Class 2 lorry driving license, I’m a graduate of Clarion West (2003), and Heinlein has been my favorite author since I was 8 when I found ‘Farmer in the Sky’ and ‘Red Planet’ in the local library. Finding no more Heinleins in the children’s section, my father introduced me to the adult shelves and the further delights of Clarke, Asimov, Blish, Aldiss et al. I currently have too many tools and not enough cats but am hoping for a solution to one of these issues in the not too distant future. I also placed 3rd in the 2008 Jim Baen memorial short story contest.” Silver observes of “In the Shadows”, that “It is a beautifully crafted pastiche of Heinlein themes and styles, and achieves the lyrical voice that Heinlein chose to employ in only the finest of his stories.” 

3rd Place, and $1,000 award — “Salvage Sputnik,” by Sam S. Kepfield. Kepfield reports that he was raised in western Kansas, graduated from Kansas State University in 1986, and received his juris doctor from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 1989. He passed the Kansas bar exam that year, earned an M.A. in History from the University of Nebraska in 1994, and a Ph.D./abd in history from the University of Oklahoma. He currently lives in Hutchinson, Kansas, where he is a solo practitioner of criminal defense law. He is married, has two children, and in finest Heinleinian tradition, “a lot of cats”. Of his writing, he observes, “I began writing part-time in 2004. I early on discovered science fiction as a way to escape from the small town where I grew up. I bought a copy of Robert Heinlein’s ‘The Past Through Tomorrow’ in high school, devoured it in a couple of days, and stories like ‘Life-Line’ and ‘The Long Watch’ stuck with me through the years.” Of “Salvage Sputnik”, one of the contest administrators, Geo Rule, has this to say, “Kepfield’s story harkens to Golden Age Heinlein –part sense of wonder, part puzzle to solve, part private enterprise commercialization of space, and all good fun getting to the end.”

The three winning stories will appear, for a limited time, at the Society’s website at http://www.heinleinsociety.org/ over the coming months.

The Heinlein Society congratulates all three winners and confidently wishes them continued success in their writing careers. The Society also thanks the hundreds of authors who submitted entries to the Robert A. Heinlein Centennial Short Story Contest in celebration of the life and works of Robert A. Heinlein. The large number of excellent entries made judging a particular challenge and pleasure.


David M. Silver
President and Chairman of the Board
The Heinlein Society
PO Box 1254
Venice, California 90294-1254

“The Lieutenant expects your names to shine!”
–Robert Anson Heinlein, USNA ’29 (1907-88)

Lt. (jg) USN, Ret’d

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2 thoughts on “Heinlein Centennial Story Winners

  1. Pingback: Things | The Crotchety Old Fan

  2. I knew Sam during a time it seems he’d like to forget. 😉 I fondly remember great discussions about sci-fi, politics and many other things. That said, I’m glad to see Sam winning such a great reward!

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