Roswell Award and Tomorrow Prize 2021 Finalists and Honorable Mentions

Omega Sci-Fi Awards has announced the 2021 finalists and honorable mentions for both The Roswell Award and The Tomorrow Prize. They also have revealed the winner of the Women Hold Up Half the Sky Award, their feminist themed prize, and the winner of the Green Feather Award, their eco-themed prize.

THE ROSWELL AWARD for original short science fiction from writers worldwide


  • “The Rite to Vote” by Matthew Cushing (Connecticut, USA)
  • “Imagine Dandelions” by Andrea Goyan (California, USA)
  • “Autonomous” by Ben Hennesy (USA/Tanzania)
  • “Run” by Tenzin Phillips (South Africa)
  • “Biomimicry” by Ven Pillay (South Africa)
  • “Realtiger” by Susan Wachowski (Illinois, USA)


  • “When The Books Were on Paper” by Evgeniy Bondarev (Russia)
  • “Logistics” by Christian Dark (United Kingdom)
  • “Buddy and I” by Bryan Leong Jing Ern (Malaysia)
  • “Opt-In” by Susan Harper (California, USA)
  • “Way Out” by Larry Herbst (California, USA)
  • “Starchild” by Mayor Prosper Ihechi (Nigeria)
  • “Eclosion” by Alice Laciny (Austria)
  • “Rate Me!” by Lexus Ndiwe (United Kingdom)
  • “Mittens Aurelius: Meowditations” by Mark Thomas (Canada)

THE WOMEN HOLD UP HALF THE SKY AWARD for original short feminist themed science fiction


  • “Never Turn Your Back on the Water” by Courtney Watson (Virginia, USA)


  • “Yes” by Marie Cartier (California, USA)
  • “Unfrozen” by Libby Marshall (Illinois, USA)
  • “Fish Hunting Fish” by Archie Nicholson (Canada)
  • “Virgintillion” by Anna O’Brien (Maryland, USA)
  • “The Shadows of the Baobabs Fall Long” by Bailey Sweatman (Texas, USA)

THE TOMORROW PRIZE for original short science fiction by Los Angeles County high school students


  • “EP-1M Contamination” by Britney Cruz (Susan Miller Dorsey High School)
  • “Äerd” by Tessa Kennedy (John Marshall High School)
  • “Star Sailor” by Gwendolyn Lopez (Pasadena High School)
  • “Returning Home” by Sofia Orduno (Mt. SAC Early College Academy)
  • “The Plague” by Flora White (Geffen Academy at UCLA)


  • “Cold Ashes” by Ethan Kim (Crescenta Valley High School)
  • “The Gorm” by Jakob Wedel (Wedel Academy Independent Homeschool)

THE GREEN FEATHER AWARD for original short eco-themed science fiction by Los Angeles County high school students


  • “Corn” by Sienna Koizumi (Culver City High School)


  • “The Great Forgotten” by Jonah Guardino (High Tech LA)

On May 22 and 23 there will be Virtual Celebrity Readings & Awards events hosted in partnership with actress and stunt person Patricia Tallman’s (Babylon 5, Star Trek) B5 Events.

These events are free to attend with registration. Registration and more info is available here.

  • Saturday, May 22 at 11am PDT: The Roswell Award and Women Hold Up Half the Sky Virtual Celebrity Readings and Awards. Register here.
  • Sunday, May 23 at 5pm PDT: The Tomorrow Prize and Green Feather Award Virtual Celebrity Readings and Awards. Register here.

The Roswell Award and Women Hold Up Half the Sky Virtual Celebrity Readings & Awards will honor the best emerging science fiction writers from across the United States and worldwide. The Women Hold Up Half the Sky Award, a special feminist-themed award, is co-presented by the feminist publication Artemis Journal and KPFK’s Feminist Magazine radio show. The first place winner will also be presented with a free online course from the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program.

Featured celebrity guests for The Roswell Award Virtual Celebrity Readings & Awards on May 22 include: LaMonica Garrett (Arrow, Dc’s Legends Of Tomorrow), Ruth Connell (SUPERNATURAL), Nana Visitor (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), Phil Lamarr (Samurai Jack, Futurama), Tiffany Lonsdale-Hands (Siren), Kari Wahlgren (Rick And Morty), and David Blue (Stargate Universe).

Finalist judges for The Roswell Award include: Author Steven Barnes (Lion’s Blood, The New Twilight Zone), paleontologist Alyssa Bell (Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Dinosaur Institute), author Wesley Chu (The Lives Of Tao, The Walking Dead: Typhoon), author and engineer S.B. Divya (Runtime, Escape Pod), author Rebecca Moesta (Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights, Star Wars: Junior Jedi Knights), writer and director Philippe Mora (Communion, Continuity), author Larry Niven (Ringworld, The Integral Trees).

The Tomorrow Prize and Green Feather Award Virtual Celebrity Readings & Awards is co-presented by L.A. Parent Magazine. These include five all-female Finalists for The Tomorrow Prize original short sci-fi competition, this year’s Honorable Mentions, and the Winner of the Green Feather Award, a special ecology-themed award co-presented by the Los Angeles Audubon Society.

Featured celebrity guests for The Tomorrow Prize Virtual Celebrity Readings & Awards on May 23 include: Joanna Cassidy (Blade Runner, Who Framed Roger Rabbit), Rico E. Anderson (The Orville), Kirsten Vangsness (Criminal Minds), Duane Henry (Captain Marvel), and more.

Finalist judges for The Tomorrow Prize include: volcanologist, explorer, and author Jess Phoenix (Ms. Adventure), and author Charles Yu (How To Live Safely In A Science Fictional Universe, Interior Chinatown), author Jennifer Brody (The 13th Continuum, 200), American Flight engineer Bobak Ferdowsi.

This will be Omega Sci-Fi Awards’ sixth year hosting celebrity guests to read finalists’ stories. Gary Phillips, sci-fi and mystery writer and Omega Sci-Fi Awards board member says, “I was thrilled to read the entries for this year’s awards and am looking forward to hearing the Finalists’ stories read aloud by this stellar line-up.”

Their 6th annual Virtual Celebrity Readings & Awards events, with dramatic readings of the finalists’ stories followed by the prize announcements, will be on:

The Omega Sci-Fi Awards is a nonprofit program founded in 2014 by Sci-Fest L.A. that aims to recognize and encourage emerging sci-fi writers, and Light Bringer Project, a Pasadena-based nonprofit arts and education organization. The awards ceremony is hosted in conjunction with LitFest Pasadena 2021, a series of literary panel discussions that will be held on May 15-16 from noon to 6:00 p.m. Pacific.

[Based on a press release.]

Tomorrow Prize for LA County Student SF Writers Now Accepting Submissions

The Tomorrow Prize sf writing contest is taking entries from students attending high school in Los Angeles County. The deadline to submit is February 1, 2021.

The Tomorrow Prize for short science fiction, by an L.A. County high school student, showcases the best in creative, critical thinking, as well as great storytelling, by students from throughout Los Angeles. The Tomorrow Prize is free for students to submit up to two original short stories of 1,500 words or less.


  • First place: $250.00 & L.A. Parent Magazine publication online (in full) and in print (excerpt).
  • Second place: $150.00
  • Third place: $100.00
  • The Green Feather Award presented by Los Angeles Audubon: $250.00 & online publication (see below)

The Green Feather Award, presented by the LA Audubon Society, is a special prize for the best environmental conservation themed story.

Students who wish to be considered for The Green Feather Award for best environmental themed story must indicate this in their cover email. Stories submitted for The Green Feather Award will be considered for the other prizes if they are not a Green Feather Award winner.

For more information and submission guidelines visit: here.

Interested educators and students can register for one of two free info Q&A sessions.

The sessions will be available for free on Zoom from 5pm-6pm PDT. This is your chance to learn tips for a great short sci-fi submission for The Tomorrow Prize and engage in a Q&A in with the competition organizers. For more information and to register for either session:

Sixth Annual Roswell Award Contest Taking Entries

The Roswell Award contest for short science fiction by ages 16 and older is accepting submissions through December 15.

Run by Sci-Fest L.A. and the Light Bringer Project, the Roswell Award was created in 2014 to foster emerging science fiction writing talent worldwide.

For more information and submission guidelines visit here.

The “Women Hold Up Half the Sky Award” for feminist sci-fi is co-presented by Artemis literary journal and will also be presented to a distinct winner.

  • Selected finalists will be chosen to have their stories read in their honor by celebrity guests during a special performance. 
  • First, Second, and Third place Roswell Award winners will receive $500, $250, and $100 USD cash prizes.
  • The First place Roswell Award winner will receive access to the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program sponsored 11-week or shorter online course.
  • The Women Hold Up Half the Sky Award is an additional special prize category for a feminist themed sci-fi story. The winner will be published by Artemis literary journal with more prizes to be announced.

Women Hold Up Half the Sky Award

This award recognizes a science fiction story that embraces feminist themes and has a female protagonist. Top entries will exemplify excellence in feminist storytelling, while capturing the complexities of their characters. The winner will receive print publication in Artemis Journal. Artemis Journal is an award-winning non-profit feminist art and creative writing journal. Its purpose is to foster art and literary excellence in the Blue Ridge mountain region of Southwest Virginia and beyond. Learn more here.

Stories are only eligible for one prize. Stories not chosen for the Women Hold Up Half the Sky Award will be considered for the other Roswell Award prizes.

Have questions about The Roswell Award writing competition and want to hear from the source? Register for one of two free online Q&A sessions available on Zoom. This is your chance to learn tips for a great short sci-fi submission for The Roswell Award and engage in a Q&A in with the competition organizers. For more information and to register for either session:

  • October 19, 2020 from 7pm – 8pm PDT: Eventbrite
  • October 20, 2020 from 10am – 11am PDT: Eventbrite

2018 Roswell Award Contest Taking Entries

The 2018 Roswell Award for short science fiction by adults (18+) is accepting entries through January 29, 2018.

The Roswell Award was created in 2014 to identify, encourage and promote up-and-coming science fiction writing talent among adults worldwide. Last year’s winner was Richard Larson’s story “Fifteen Minutes Hate”.

Entries must be original science fiction short stories no longer than 1500 words, by a writer over the age of 18.

Sci-Fest L.A. and Light Bringer Project seek to identify and nurture new science fiction writing talent in all corners of the globe. Science fiction writing provides a unique opportunity for writers to develop the ideas and narratives that will shape the future of humanity from how we address pressing scientific, social, philosophical, and environmental issues to inspiring us to develop new technologies and explore outer space. And of course we’re excited to see stories that entertain. We are proud to be taking a leadership role in developing the next generation of science fiction writers.

Four to six finalists will be chosen and their stories read dramatically by celebrity guests in a special performance at LitFest Pasadena on Saturday, May 19, 2018 followed by an awards presentation.

First, second, and third place winners will be chosen from the finalists. Special prizes will also be presented by partnering organizations.

  • First Place: $500 USD
  • Second Place: $250 USD
  • Third Place: $100 USD
  • Special Prize — The “Women Hold Up Half the Sky Award” presented by Artemis Journal and the Hollywood Chapter of the National Organization for Women (Hollywood NOW): Special publication in Artemis Journal and on the Hollywood NOW site and $100 USD.

[The “Women Hold Up Half the Sky Award”] recognizes a science fiction story that embraces feminist themes and has a strong female protagonist. Top entries will exemplify excellence in feminist storytelling, while capturing the complexities of their characters.

Applicants who wish to be considered for the Women Hold Up Half the Sky Award must indicate this on their cover page / their submission email. Stories submitted for this award will be considered for other prizes if they are not a Women Hold Up Half the Sky winner. Stories are eligible for only one prize.

Rules and submission guidelines are on the The Lightbringer Project’s Tomorrow Prize/Roswell Award information page.

Pixel Scroll 5/16/17 Will No One Pixel Me This Troublesome Scroll?

(1) CLOSE THE GAP. David Dean Bottrell, Producer, Sci-Fest LA, is asking people to help support The Tomorrow Prize, due to be presented this weekend:

Although Sci-Fest LA has been temporarily side-lined our amazing short story competitions continue!! Unfortunately, a grant we were depending on, has fallen through at the last second, and the awards are this coming weekend! We need your help to make up a $500.00 gap IMMEDIATELY needed to award the prizes to our winners!

Donate at:

You can make a donation via our new non-profit sponsor, LIGHTBRINGER PROJECT. Please add a note during the payment process for what the donation’s for — You can mention Sci-Fest, Tomorrow Prize or Roswell Award.

(2) INDIGENOUS VOICES. Silvia Moreno-Garcia has posted an update about her efforts to fund and launch an Emerging Indigenous Voices Award. (This would not be an sff award, but was prompted by the Canadian literary controversy reported here last week.)

I’ve gathered $4355 in pledges from people who wish to make this a reality. I’ve also e-mailed Robin Parker, who has also obtained pledges for a similar drive. We could be talking about more than $7,000 if we pool those resources together.

I have sent an e-mail to folks at the UBC Longhouse asking for some guidance.

I feel that if an award does become a reality, it must be managed by an Indigenous organization. I aim merely to help funnel money to them.

It may take some time to sort things out. I am putting together documentation tracking who pledged, how much, etc.

In the meantime, you can fund or support local organizations which represent Indigenous people in your community.

We should not turn to Indigenous and marginalized groups only when bad stuff happens and there are ways to support them that don’t involve donations. Read and review Indigenous literature. Suggest Indigenous artists as guests of honor at conventions. If you have access to a platform, invite them to write op-eds, guest posts, etc….

(3) ESCHEW CHRONOLOGICAL SNOBBERY. L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright raised her voice in defense of Anne McCaffrey at Superversive SF — “When New Is (Not) Best–The Degradation of Grand Master Anne McCaffrey”.

People talk about strong female characters today. Sometimes they mean kickbutt fighters. But when the term first got started, it meant females who held their own, who acted and achieved and accomplished, female characters who were smart.

Lessa was all that. To me, she was the sole female character in SF who really had the qualities I wanted to have. I adored her.

Recently, I was in a store and I picked up a copy of Dragonflight, the original Pern book. I remember thinking, Huh, it probably wasn’t that good. I’ve just glamorized it. Let me see… After all, some of her later books were a bit fluffy. Maybe this early book was just fluff, too, and I had just not noticed. I started flipping through it.

I read an astonishing amount of it before I realized I was standing in a bookstore and embarrassedly put it down.

It was still that good.

(4) THEY KNOW WHEN YOU’RE AWAKE. An author tells about eavesdropping on fan sites in “The Big Idea: Megan Whalen Turner” at Whatever.

As a newbie author, I was self-Googling like mad and just before The King of Attolia was published. I found a livejournal site dedicated to my books. I lurked. I did tell them I was lurking, but I knew right from the start that having authors around is a great, wonderful, exciting thing—right up until they make it impossible to have an honest conversation about their books, so I was careful not too lurk too often. In return, I got to watch these smart, funny people pick through everything I’d written and I became more and more convinced that they didn’t need my input, anyway. Everything in my books that I hoped they’d see, they were pointing out to one another. Watching them, I decided I should probably probably keep my mouth shut and leave readers to figure things out for themselves. That’s why when they got around to sending me a community fan letter, I’m afraid that my answer to most of their questions was, “I’m not telling.” Over the years, it’s hardened into a pretty firm policy.

(5) SPACE OPERA WEEK. has declared: It’s Space Opera Week on!

Alan Brown has a handle on the history of the term: “Explore the Cosmos in 10 Classic Space Opera Universes”.

During the Golden Age of Science Fiction, there was a lot of concern about the amount of apparent dross being mixed in with the gold. The term “space opera” was originally coined to describe some of the more formulaic stories, a term used in the same derisive manner as “soap opera” or “horse opera.” But, like many other negative terms over the years, the term space opera has gradually taken on more positive qualities. Now, it is used to describe stories that deal with huge cosmic mysteries, grand adventure, the long sweep of history, and giant battles. If stories have a large scope and a boundless sense of wonder, along with setting adventure front and center, they now proudly wear the space opera name.

Ellen Cheeseman-Meyer discusses why she embarked on her Vorkosigan Saga reread series for in Space Opera and the Underrated Importance of Ordinary, Everyday Life

The Vorkosigan series is space opera in the really classic style. There are big ships that fight each other with weapons so massive and powerful that they don’t even have to be explained. The most dramatic conflicts take place across huge distances, and involve moving people, ideas, and technology through wormholes that span the Galactic Nexus, and watching how that changes everything. So it’s also about incredibly ordinary things—falling in love, raising children, finding peace, facing death.

And Cheeseman-Meyer’s latest entry “Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Borders of Infinity covers a lot of ground, but I must applaud this comment in particular —

At this point, I suddenly realize how little time we really get to spend with the Dendarii Mercenaries, who have now appeared as a fighting force in only two of the seven books in the reread.

Liz Bourke, in “Sleeps With Monsters: Space Opera and the Politics of Domesticity”, reminds readers that relationships are the web that connect the infinite spaces of this subgenre.

Let’s look at three potential examples of this genre of… let’s call it domestic space opera? Or perhaps intimate space opera is a better term. I’m thinking here of C.J. Cherryh’s Foreigner series, now up to twenty volumes, which are (in large part) set on a planet shared by the (native) atevi and the (alien, incoming) humans, and which focus on the personal and political relationships of Bren Cameron, who is the link between these very different cultures; of Aliette de Bodard’s pair of novellas in her Xuya continuity, On A Red Station, Drifting and Citadel of Weeping Pearls, which each in their separate ways focus on politics, and relationships, and family, and family relationships; and Becky Chambers’ (slightly) more traditionally shaped The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and A Closed and Common Orbit, which each concentrate in their own ways on found families, built families, communities, and the importance of compassion, empathy, and respect for other people’s autonomy and choices in moving through the world.

But lest we forget the reason exists, Renay Williams plugs the franchise in “A Plethora of Space Operas: Where to Start With the Work of John Scalzi”.

101: Beginner Scalzi

If you’re brand-new to Scalzi’s work, there a few possible starting places. If you want a comedic space opera adventure, you’ll want to start with Old Man’s War and its companion and sequel novels, The Ghost Brigades and The Last Colony. If you’re in the mood for straight up comedy SF, then Agent to the Stars is your entry point. And if you want some comedy but also kind of want to watch a political thriller in your underwear while eating snack food and don’t know what book could possibly meet all those qualifications at once, there’s The Android’s Dream, which is the funniest/darkest book about sheep I’ve ever read.

(6) AMEN CORNER. The celebration also includes a reminder from Judith Tarr: “From Dark to Dark: Yes, Women Have Always Written Space Opera”.

Every year or two, someone writes another article about a genre that women have just now entered, which used to be the province of male writers. Usually it’s some form of science fiction. Lately it’s been fantasy, especially epic fantasy (which strikes me with fierce irony, because I remember when fantasy was pink and squishy and comfy and for girls). And in keeping with this week’s theme, space opera gets its regular turn in the barrel.

Women have always written space opera.

Ever heard of Leigh Brackett? C.L. Moore? Andre Norton, surely?

So why doesn’t everyone remember them?

Because that second X chromosome carries magical powers of invisibility.

And having read that, who would you be looking to for an “Amen!” Would you believe, Jeffro Johnson at the Castalia House Blog? Not from any feminist impulse, but because it fits his own narrative about the Pulp Revolution — “The Truth About Women and Science Fiction”:

…Yes, the “Hard SF” revolution did turn the field into something of a boy’s club. The critical frame that emerged from it has unfairly excluded the work of a great many top tier creators that happened to be female. And much as it pains me to admit it, feminist critics do have a point when they complained about women being arbitrarily excluded.

However… when they treat the Campbellian Revolution as the de facto dawn of science fiction, they are perpetuating and reinforcing the real problem. If you want creators like Leigh Brackett and C. L. Moore to get the sort of attention they deserve, you have to recover not only the true history of fantasy and science fiction. You have to revive and defend the sort of classical virtues that are the root cause of why they have been snubbed in the first place.


Sea Monkey Day

The history of sea monkeys starts, oddly enough, with ant farms. Milton Levine had popularized the idea of Ant-farm kits in 1956 and, presumably inspired by the success of his idea, Harold von Braunhut invented the aquatic equivalent with brine-shrimp. It was really ingenious looking back on it, and ultimately he had to work with a marine biologist to really bring it all together. With just a small packet of minerals and an aquarium you’d suddenly have a place rich with everything your brine-shrimp needed to survive. So why sea monkeys? Because who was going to buy brine-shrimp? It was all a good bit of marketing, though the name didn’t come about for nearly 5 years. They were originally called “instant life”, referencing their ‘just add water’ nature. But when the resemblance of their tails to monkeys tails was noted by fans, he changed it to ‘Sea-Monkeys’ and so it’s been ever since! The marketing was amazing too! 3.2 million pages of comic book advertising a year, and the money just flowed in the door. So what are Sea Monkeys exactly? They’re clever mad science really. Sea Monkeys don’t (or didn’t) exist in nature before they were created in a lab by hybridization. They’re known as Artemia NYOS (New York Ocean Science) and go through anhydrobiosis, or hibernation when they are dried out. Then, with the right mixture of water and nutrients they can spring right back into life! Amazing!

Wait a minute, that sounds a lot like Trisolarians!


(9) COMIC SECTION. Daniel Dern recommends today’s Candorville: “We already knew the creator’s a Star Trek geek, clearly he’s also a (DC) comic book fan…”

(10) DOCTOROW. This is the book Cory Doctorow was promoting at Vromans Bookstore when Tarpinian and I attended his joint appearance with John Scalzi a couple weeks ago. Carl Slaughter prepared a summary:

Cory Doctorow
April 25, 2017

Hubert was too old to be at that Communist party.

But after watching the breakdown of modern society, he really has no where left to be?except amongst the dregs of disaffected youth who party all night and heap scorn on the sheep they see on the morning commute. After falling in with Natalie, an ultra-rich heiress trying to escape the clutches of her repressive father, the two decide to give up fully on formal society?and walk away.

After all, now that anyone can design and print the basic necessities of life?food, clothing, shelter?from a computer, there seems to be little reason to toil within the system.

It’s still a dangerous world out there, the empty lands wrecked by climate change, dead cities hollowed out by industrial flight, shadows hiding predators animal and human alike. Still, when the initial pioneer walkaways flourish, more people join them. Then the walkaways discover the one thing the ultra-rich have never been able to buy: how to beat death. Now it’s war – a war that will turn the world upside down.

Fascinating, moving, and darkly humorous, Walkaway is a multi-generation SF thriller about the wrenching changes of the next hundred years…and the very human people who will live their consequences.


  • “Thrilling and unexpected….A truly visionary techno-thriller that not only depicts how we might live tomorrow, but asks why we don’t already.” Kirkus
  • “Doctorow has envisioned a fascinating world…This intriguing take on a future that might be right around the corner is bound to please.” ?Library Journal
  • “Memorable and engaging. …Ultimately suffused with hope.” ?Booklist
  • “The darker the hour, the better the moment for a rigorously-imagined utopian fiction. Walkaway is now the best contemporary example I know of, its utopia glimpsed after fascinatingly-extrapolated revolutionary struggle. A wonderful novel: everything we’ve come to expect from Cory Doctorow and more.”?William Gibson
  • “Cory Doctorow is one of our most important science fiction writers, because he’s also a public intellectual in the old style: he brings the news and explains it, making clearer the confusions of our wild current moment. His fiction is always the heart of his work, and this is his best book yet, describing vividly the revolutionary beginnings of a new way of being. In a world full of easy dystopias, he writes the hard utopia, and what do you know, his utopia is both more thought-provoking and more fun.”?Kim Stanley Robinson
  • “Is Doctorow’s fictional utopia bravely idealistic or bitterly ironic? The answer is in our own hands. A dystopian future is in no way inevitable; Walkaway reminds us that the world we choose to build is the one we’ll inhabit. Technology empowers both the powerful and the powerless, and if we want a world with more liberty and less control, we’re going to have to fight for it.”?Edward Snowden

(11) LITFEST PASADENA. In addition to the Roswell Award  and Tomorrow Award readings, this weekend’s LitFest Pasadena includes these items of genre interest:


Famed afro-futurist writer Nalo Hopkinson (The Chaos) joins the Shades & Shadows Reading Series for an evening of dark fiction from noir mystery to sci-fi.


Popular comic book and TV writer Brandon Easton (Agent Carter), joins fellow comic book writers to discuss “Manga Influences on American Culture.”

(12) SPEAKING PARTS. Pornokitsch shows why someone could argue “Middle Earth Has Fewer Women Than Space”.

This research is from April 2016. The folks at The Pudding analysed thousands of screenplays and did a word count of male and female dialogue.

Unsurprisingly: Hollywood skews heavily in favour of dudes talking.

Naturally, I looked for all the nerdiest films I could find. This was a lot of fun, although the results were… pretty bleak. …..

There follows a whole chart about genre films.

2001 is literally a film about two dudes floating in space, and it has a higher percentage of female dialogue than two of the Lord of the Rings films.

(13) IOU. Jon Del Arroz thinks I should be paying him when I put him in the news. Now there’s an innovative marketing mind at work.

(14) PANTHER UNPLUGGED. Ernie Estrella at Blastr demands — “So why did Marvel pull the plug on Black Panther & The Crew after just two issues?”

How long should a comic book aimed at reaching a more socially aware audience be given latitude before it’s canceled? According to Marvel Comics, just two. Marvel is canceling one of two monthly titles that Ta-Nehisi Coates writes, Black Panther & The Crew. After two issues have underperformed in sales, the title has been abruptly put on notice. Marvel had seen enough and was not satisfied by the early numbers to stick with a title while it finds its audience. Coates told Verge that issue #6 will be the series’ finale, wrapping up the storyline that was introduced in the debut issue, which came out in this past March.

Coates co-writes the series with Yona Harvey, and together they crafted a story starring Black Panther, Storm, Misty Knight and Luke Cage investigating the murder of a civil rights activist who died while in police custody, Ezra Keith. Relevant to America’s current societal problems facing inherent racism, Coates and Harvey’s story also dives into the main four heroes and tries to look deeper at their varied experiences as black people in the Marvel Universe….

(15) NEW GRRM ADAPTATION. George R.R. Martin gives fans the background on developments they’ve been reading about in the Hollywood trade papers — “Here’s the Scoop on NIGHTFLYERS”.

In 1984 I sold the film and television rights to “Nightflyers” to a writer/ producer named Robert Jaffe and his father Herb….

This new NIGHTFLYERS television series — actually, it is just a pilot script at present, still several steps short of going on-air, but I am told that SyFy likes the script a lot — was developed based on the 1987 movie, and the television rights conveyed in that old 1984 contract. Robert Jaffe is one of the producers, I see, but the pilot script is by Jeff Buhler. I haven’t had the chance to meet him yet, but hope to do so in the near future.

Since I have an overall deal that makes me exclusive to HBO, I can’t provide any writing or producing series to NIGHTFLYERS should it go to series… but of course, I wish Jaffe and Buhler and their team the best of luck. “Nightflyers” was one of my best SF stories, I always felt, and I’d love to see it succeed as a TV series (fingers crossed that it looks as good as THE EXPANSE).

[Thanks to Greg Hullender, Carl Slaughter, John King Tarpinian, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Ingvar, with an assist from Camestros Felapton.]

2017 Tomorrow Prize Finalists

On Sunday, May 21 at 2 p.m., Sci-Fest LA will partner with LitFest Pasadena for dramatic readings of the Finalists’ stories for The Tomorrow Prize for short science fiction by L.A. County teens. The readings will happen in the Sculpture Plaza across from the Pasadena Playhouse – free admission, seating limited. Six finalists’ stories will be read by sci-fi celebrities, followed by an awards presentation.

The Tomorrow Prize for short science fiction was created by Sci-Fest LA in 2014 “to identify and encourage the next generation of science fiction writing talent.”

The 2017 finalists are:

  • Samuel Fischbach, “Another Reality”
  • Leslie Le, “The Dead Light”
  • Richard Magdaluyo, “EARTH II”
  • Jonathan Herbst, “A Helping Hand”
  • Joseph Springer, “The Most Satisfying Sound”
  • Ekaterina Zhosan, “The Multiverse Theory”

Honorable Mentions: Cira Davis, Zachariah Nash, Angelica Pico, Allison Pleitez, Vianni Valle, and Paula Wang.

Actors Union Rules Change Forces Sci-Fest LA Into Hiatus

Sci-Fest LA, which has brought science fiction to the Los Angeles stage for the past three years, has been forced to skip 2017. Founding Producers Micheal Blaha, Lee Costello, and David Dean Bottrell announced on Facebook:

As some of you may know, in 2015, Actors Equity Association (the union for professional stage actors) took the unprecedented step of discontinuing the Los Angeles 99-Seat Theatre Plan — an agreement that had been in place for over 30 years. The plan had allowed LA-based Equity members to perform for free in small, 99-seat theatres in order to showcase their talents. Although the local Los Angeles membership of Equity waged a very strong campaign to reverse the decision, the national council of Equity overruled them. A lawsuit was subsequently brought against the union by a group of well-known actors including Emmy-winner, Ed Asner, but a few weeks ago, the suit was dismissed by federal judge in Los Angeles. As a result, the 99-Seat plan officially comes to an end as of today, December 15, 2016.

This means no professional stage actor in Los Angeles can appear in a 99-Seat theatre without being paid minimum wage for every hour of work, including rehearsals, tech rehearsals, and performances. Under the former 99-Seat plan, Sci-Fest LA (which uses 45-60 actors each year) paid each actor a small “per-show” stipend. The producers say they say they are unable to meet the new demands.

Consequently, Sci-Fest LA: The Los Angeles Science Fiction One-Act Play Festival will be going on hiatus for 2017.

There remains a possibility that Sci-Fest LA may co-produce a full-length Sci-Fi themed stage play in conjunction with a well-established, “membership” theatre company in LA that is currently exempt from the Equity salary requirements.

In the meantime, Sci-Fest LA will continue presenting its two sf writing contests, the Roswell Award and the Tomorrow Award.

2016 Roswell Prize Shortlist

The finalists for the Roswell Award short story writing contest for adults will have their stories read aloud at Sci-Fest during an awards ceremony on Sunday, May 22, 2016.

The finalists are:

  • “Constant Change” by Diana M.
  • “In the hammock of his ribs” by Tom Aschmann
  • “First Encounter” by Larry Herbst
  • “Humans ‘N’ Hot Dogs” by Melissa Yuan-Innes
  • “Tribbulations” by Liam Hogan
  • “Savepoint” by Tom O’Brien

Roswell reading

The judges for the award are Nicholas Meyer (screenwriter for The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, and director of three Star Trek movies), Jordan Roberts (writer and director of Around the Bend), Mike Werb (writer of The Mask, Face/Off and Lara Croft, Tomb Raider), Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides (co-creator of Yuri’s Night, The World Space Party), and Maryelizabeth Yturralde (co-founder of Mysterious Galaxy bookstore).

The author of the winning entry will receive a cash prize of $1,000.00. Complete details here.

2016 Tomorrow Prize Winner

The winner of Sci-Fest LA’s Tomorrow Prize for the best sci-fi story written by a Los Angeles high school student was won by Matilda Berke for “Rock Star.” She won a $1,000 scholarship from US Bank.

The award was presented at a ceremony on May 14 during which celebrities read all the finalists aloud to an audience.

Tomorrow Prize

The other finalists were:

  • “Requiem” by Sam Dulys (Grover Cleveland High School Magnet Program)
  •  “The Missing Memory” by Hazel Carias (Fairfax Senior High School)
  • “Details” by Sam Clark (Polytechnic School)
  • “To Steal a Star” by Joseph Springer (Granada Hills Charter High School)

The contest judges were Gary Phillips (co-editor of the bestselling anthology Black Pulp), Jennifer Bosworth, (author of YA novels Struck and The Killing Jar), Joshua Dysart (multiple Eisner Award nominee, Glyph award-winning, New York Times Bestselling comic book writer and graphic novelist), Julia Mary Gibson (author of Copper Magic), Rosalind Helfand (a writer and organizer in LA’s literary community), Lissa Price (author of the Starters series), and Geoffrey Wood Patterson II (comic store owner).

Sci-Fest LA Asks Donations for SFX

The third annual Sci-Fest LA Science Fiction One-Act Play Fest runs May 5-29 at the ACME Theatre in Hollywood. Four days remain in Sci-Fest LA’s Indiegogo appeal to crowdfund the special effects.

All we want is to do justice to do justice to these incredible stories of alien abductions, distant war-torn galaxies, deadly pandemics, inter-dimensional travel, malevolent machines and demonic soul hunters.   Some of these projects were personally handed to us by literary icons Neil Gaiman and Clive Barker!

In order to create these desolate planets, invading space ships, slithering aliens, and creepy creatures under the dock, we’ll need to give our extraordinary team of “A-List” designers all the things they need including:  SFX lighting, 3D projection mapping, a transformative stage set, all kinds of crazy props, special effects rigging, SFX costume creation, facial prosthetics mechanics, plus lots of slime, goo and other things to make you jump out of your seat!

At this writing, $13,409 has been pledged towards the $20,000 goal.

Ten new one-act plays will be performed, including one based on Janis Ian’s story “Prayerville.”

Those who donate $100 to help produce “Prayerville” will be billed in the program as one of the show’s “Executive Producers,” receive a copy of the Sci-Fest LA show poster signed by the cast, plus a special CD of Janis Ian’s music and two tickets to the evening program on May 21.

The titles and playwrights of the 10 plays in the 2016 festival lineup are —


by Michael J. Himstedt

A divorced man’s attempt to share Christmas with his estranged son is thwarted by terrifying, otherworldly forces.


by Spencer Green

Stranded for decades between dimensions, a desperately lonely astronaut suddenly has a surprise guest.


by Cody Daigle

Three troubled teenagers have very different accounts of the night their friend disappeared.


by Nathan Wellman

A young couple find it tough to mend their damaged relationship under the constant, watchful eye of “Alpha.”


by Janis Ian

Adapted by Lisa Beth Kovetz

A futuristic tale of love, honor and unwanted duty played out in a distant, war-torn galaxy.  Based on the short story by the iconic singer-composer of “At Seventeen.”


by Chuck Armstrong & Charlie Stockman

A trio of quirky aliens fiercely interrogate a captive astronaut, determined to get answers to their questions about humanity.


by Neil Gaiman

Adapted by Michael Bernard

A naïve American student stumbles onto a creepy, uncharted seaside village that hides a horrible secret.  Literary legend Neil Gaiman’s chilling homage to the work of Lovecraft.


by Rob Hollocks

The love between two married scientists is put to the ultimate test when they are trapped in a deadly race against time.


by Clive Barker; Adapted by Matt. Murray.

Despite his best demonic efforts, a “Yattering” dispatched from Hell cannot seem to break the spirit of his designated victim.  Based on the classic short story by one of Sci-Fi and Fantasy’s grandmasters.


by John P. Dowgin

A seemingly chance encounter between two strangers unleashes unexpected calamity.