AE Micro Winners Revealed!
Shrink rays, microscopes, nanobots and scientific experiments gone awry! AE Micro closed to submissions on Monday, with 42 entries in total. We were thrilled with the overall quality of the submissions and the task of selecting the best was not an easy one. After careful consideration, we have a list of winners, all five of which will receive cash prizes and appear in the print and digital edition of AE Micro.
Best Canadian Story: "Denial of Service Attack" (#1) by J. J. DeBenedictis
This was the very first story submitted and it lay the foundation for the rest of the contest. And a sturdy foundation it turned out to be, indeed. This is a dense story that benefits from multiple readings. It has drama and tension, solid characters and good atmosphere. Not an easy task in just two hundred words.
Best International Story: "She Whispers" (#12) by Gabriel Schlesinger
Of all the stories submitted, this is the one that most fully engages the readers emotions. The sense of guilt and loss is tangible: "By the time I was cellular, she'd be atomic." It was one of several shrinking person stories (and not even the only one that will appear in AE Micro), but its approach and voice set it apart.
Runner-Up: "Tiny" (#23) by Richard Baldwin
"Tiny" is the second shrinking person story to be chosen as a winner. Arguably, of all the entries, this is the one that gives the most potent sense of scale. From the grand Himalayas to tiny pinprick stars, the story reminds us gracefully that size is always a matter of perspective. And the conclusion is pure poetry.
Runner-Up: "Detuned" (#24) by Shay D.
"Detuned" has the most relentless pace of all the entries. It reads sudden and violent like an action movie. We’re excited to include "Detuned" in AE Micro, though we’re a little concerned for the safety of the other stories.
Runner-Up: "Dear Jack:" (#40) by John Leavitt
Of all the stories submitted "Dear Jack:" delivers undeniably the most bang per word. It is a triumph of succinctness and, even at 38 words, it is layered and whimsical. It was refreshing to read a story that was not straining right up against the 200 word limit as though it were a prison cell.
Congratulations to all of the winners. If you are the author of one of these five stories, we will be in contact with you this weekend about your prizes.
If you submitted and your story was not among those chosen, know that our decision was not easy. There were several stories that it pained us to exclude from the final tally, particularly "Micro Management" by Damon Shaw, "μg" by A. Martyn and "Micro-World" by Kevin James Miller. We hope dearly that those authors (and, for that matter, all who participated) will consider submitting longer work to the first issue of AE proper.
At AE we believe that feedback is essential to the development of any skill, but particularly so with writing. Over the next week, we will be more than happy to provide critiques of any of the non-winning stories. If you would like to hear our thoughts on your story, please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org from the address you gave when submitting your entry. Any requested critiques will appear on Duff's blog.
You can expect the digital edition of AE Micro as well as the audio versions of the winning entries to be available as free downloads by Friday, May 7th. The physical edition will follow shortly thereafter. In the meantime, all the entries remain viewable at the original contest page.
Thanks again to everyone who participated and everyone who has been following along. We feel honoured to be at the center of such a great community and hope that you will keep spreading the word about our project!