Since 2007, Baen Books and The National Space Society have sponsored The Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award, to honor the legacy of Jim Baen and to promote the ideals of forward-thinking, positive science fiction.
Back in 2013, thanks to Martin Shoemaker, I discovered this contest. My little story placed third. And then, miracle, in 2014 my next story won. I was stunned and honored with the win. And I’m as honored now to have that story in this First Decade anthology. Among some remarkable company too (the estimable Martin Shoemaker among them).
Here gathered together for the first time are the best of the best of the first decade of the Jim Baen Memorial Award. Stories that dare imagine a bright future in which humankind has shaken off the shackles of gravity and moved into that limitless realm known as “outer space.”
Edited by Nebula Award winner William Ledbetter the book collects a variety of stories.
Set in plausible, near-future settings, these stories display variations as limitless as the imaginations of the array of authors represented. Stories that ask, “What if?” Stories that dare to say, “Why not?” Stories that continue the grand science fiction tradition, looking to the future with a positive outlook on humanity’s place in the universe. (Borrowed and paraphrased from the blurb).
The Jim Baen Memorial Award: The First Decade, is available at Amazon, and other retailers.
As a side note, my third placed story, from 2013, “Improvising at Branson Six” is available as a standalone ebook. Available from Amazon and Smashwords, and other ebook retailers. Coming soon in print.
Cover © by Abidal | Dreamstime.
My story “Low Arc”, which won the 2014 Jim Baen Memorial Award, will appear among other winning and place-getting stories in a new volume due this autumn.
The Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest is an annual award, run as an association between the National Space Society, and Baen Books. Winners attend the International Space Development Conference, including an awards dinner for the presentation.
The contest is administrated by Nebula Award Nominee William Ledbetter. He’s edited this volume. Thanks Bill.
The contest asks contestants to “write a short story of no more than 8,000 words, that shows the near future (no more than about 50-60 years out) of manned space exploration”. My own story is an adventure piece, set on the moon in the near future. One of the times where I’ve gone for hard sci-fi.
This is my first pro anthology appearance, and I’m honoured to be among such company.
“A Better Sense of Direction” by Mjke Wood
“Letting Go” by David Walton
“Cathedral” by Mike Barretta
“Space Hero” by Patrick Lundrigan
“That Undiscovered Country” by Nancy Fulda
“Taking the High Road” by R.P.L. Johnson
“The Lamplighter Legacy” by Patrick O’Sullivan
“Low Arc” by Sean Monaghan
“We Fly” by K.B. Rylander
“Dear Ammi” by Aimee Ogden
“Citizen-Astronaut” by David D. Levine
“Gemini XVII” by Brad R. Torgersen
“Scramble” by Martin L. Shoemaker
“Balance” by Marina J. Lostetter
“To Lose the Stars” by Jennifer Brozek
“Cylinders” by Ronald D Ferguson
The cover is by the esteemed Bob Eggleton. Bob published a thumbnail of the cover minus the text on facebook, which is kind of cool.
2014 has been kind to me. I’ve acheived a couple of lifelong goals: having a story published in Asimov’s Science Fiction, and winning a writing competition – The Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest.
I also wrote more than ever before. In 2012 I first took on measuring my output and writing every day. That year I managed around 507,000 words. 2013, still writing everyday, I hit 519,000. Last year I also made sure I only submitted stories to paying markets (that’s a long story for another time).
This year my current count is over 566,000 words and I might even hit 590,000. As well as the two pro “sales”, I sold numerous stories to semi-pro markets (some of these publishers have been very supportive as I’ve developed my writing: I have a soft-spot for them). The second half of the year has seen a slow-down on acceptances, but I keep writing new stories.
As well as numerous short stories and collections published indie, I managed to get out The Deluge, the sequel to The Tunnel in my Hidden Dome universe. Current writing plans have the third book The Eye out next year.
Speaking of next year: more focus on novels; more focus on getting things to publication; still writing every day; still learning about craft; more learning about business; less goofing off – I might have to give up a block of time to the new Tomb Raider game due out in 2015, but writing will still happen :-).
Overall a pretty good year (actually, an astoundingly good year). It’s given me a lot of energy to push on and feel confident I’m on the right course.
In 2012 I took on some new challenges with writing. One of them was to write every day. Not that before then I written lots, though I probably missed many days, just that on January 1st 2012 I started recording my writing. Last Saturday (if my math is correct) marked 1000 consecutive days of writing every day.
There have been some challenges. I crossed the International Date Line four times in that space (so gained a day going one way, and lost a day going the other – I wrote on the plane and in the terminals, so counted writing days). Some days I’ve had computer fritzes. Thank goodness I learned how to hand-write. Some days I wrote very few words (132 is the lowest I see on my chart), some days I wrote very many (1 day of 7928). Overall I’ve averaged around 1400 words a day – over 500,000 words in both of 2012 and 2013, and so far this year 394118.
I’ve published far fewer words, but have changed up a few things in the process from now so should be getting far more of those words out into the world. Fortunately some of those published words have realized some of my dreams – a story in Asimov’s, a competition win (and a couple of 3rd placings), a story in New Zealand’s premier literary magazine Landfall, among other things.
Inevitably life may throw something at me so the run of consecutive days will need resetting, but you know, that’s all right. At the moment I feel like my momentum is up and I’ll keep learning, practising and striving.
My short story “Low Arc” is now available at the Baen Books website. This is the story that won this year’s Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest, run by Baen Books and the National Space Society.
Colin Bertelli thought that he’d left the dangerous work behind him when he quit his job as an ice miner at the Lunar South Pole and joined NASA. But Bertelli is about to discover that, on the moon, even the most routine work can be perilous and life on the lunar surface demands heroes. The pulse-pounding winner of the Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest.
Also at the site is Marina J. Lostetter‘s wonderful second place story “Balance”.
My thanks to William Ledbetter, and Jim Minz and Tony Daniel at Baen for all their work with this.
Though some of you already know, I’m still thrilled to announce that my short story “Low Arc” has won the Grand Prize in the 2014 Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest.
The contest is sponsored by Baen books in conjunction with the National Space Society to celebrate the role science fiction plays in advancing science.
The brief is to write a short story that shows the near future (no more than about 50-60 years out) of manned space exploration. I stuck my guy on the moon, with an orbitting Orion capsule, and a busted up lander. And I got to use the very cool word “pericynthion” (which I learned during reading up and preparing the story).
So my next step is to get myself to L.A. in May to pick up the trophy, and, as part of the prize, attend the 2014 International Space Development Conference. Very excited.
I’m thrilled to be joining a group of esteemed writers as a finalist in the Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest 2014. Amazing to see my name on that list.
There are a few names I know there, and some dark horses. Some have been finalists in the Writers of the Future contest and others have been place getters in the Jim Baen contest previously (including myself in both of those categories). I do feel humbled being among such luminaries as Brad R. Torgersen (Writers of the Future winner, Hugo, Nebula and Campbell award nominee), Martin L. Shoemaker (stories in Analog and Galaxy’s Edge, and forthcoming in Gardner Dozios’s Year’s Best Science Fiction), Marina J. Lostetter (Writers of the Future winner [in the same quarter when I was a finalist, grrr], stories in Galaxy’s Edge, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show). Sheesh, I need to stop now, after all there are only three podium places.
Best of luck to everyone.