The ten finalists in the Quantum Shorts 2021 flash fiction competition were announced March 7.
The shortlist was chosen from over 400 total submissions, quantum short stories that are no longer than 1000 words and contained the phrase “it’s a lot to think about”.
The shortlisted stories take inspiration from topics in quantum physics including quantum computing, the many-worlds interpretation and the observer effect, to spin tales about demons, coronaviruses, cats, and terrifying quantum games.
The ten shortlisted stories are, in alphabetical order:
- A Tale of Two Viruses – Written by Connie Chen, in an eerily familiar world, Evan’s search for a coronavirus vaccine has unintended consequences.
- A World Apart – Colm O’Shea explores the thought processes of a quantum processor.
- Better, Faster, Stronger, Lonelier – The classical-quantum debate is reframed in chat messages between a classical computer and a quantum computer by Álvaro Buendía.
- Demons Hunt in Darkness – S.G. Phillips tells a fantastical story about a demon-haunted world and a girl’s quest for a new way to live.
- Helping Hands – Cora Valderas’s story is a spooky warning to always be careful when handling quantum machinery.
- Lost and Found – Ana mysteriously finds children’s socks on her bed after moving into her new home in this story by Giancarla Aritao.
- Possible Cats – Michael Haiden confronts the issues that arrive with a dangerous and expensive new technology.
- Powers of Observation – With a speculative eye on the future, Charmaine Smith creates a powerful job that carries a cost.
- Quantum et Circenses – In this tale by Sabrina Patsch, participants in a race about strategy, courage and luck also have to contend with quantum effects.
- Quantum Luck – Through the adventures of Captain Brinks, Brian Wells tells a story about quantum tunnelling, with a twist.
They have won a USD $100 shortlist award and a one-year digital subscription to Scientific American and may win more awards as their stories head into the final judging.
The contest judges will decide the prize winners.
- First Prize: USD 1500 & an engraved trophy
- Runner Up: USD 1000 & an engraved trophy
The public is invited to vote for their favorite story, too. The People’s Choice Prize winner receives USD 500 and an engraved trophy. Voting is open and continues until 11:59 p.m. GMT on Monday, March 21.