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Short Story Contest

There is never a fee to enter the Parsec Short Story contest thanks to the donations from our members and supporters . . . people like you! Thank you for your support!
If you would like to help support the annual contest, please make a donation here.
Your donation ensures the continuation of this writing contest.

The 28th annual Parsec Short Story Contest will open on January 1st and close on March 31st, 2024.

The 2024 Contest theme is “AI mythology”

We ask that authors try and incorporate both concepts into their speculative work. This can be conveyed in the setting, plot, characters, dialogue; the only limit is your imagination. The theme must be integral to the story in some way and not just mentioned in passing.

Please note: Even though the theme is AI, we do not wish to see stories written by AI!
We trust those of you who choose to submit stories to honor this request!

Dates and Deadlines: Contest opens on January 1st and closes on March 31st at 11:59:59pm EST.
Winners will be notified in July. All winners will be announced during the Confluence Conference.

Word count for all entries: No minimum, no more than 3500 words.

Requirements: The winning story will be the one that most effectively uses the contest theme as a key element.  

Number: A maximum of one submission per person is allowed. If your story is rejected before the submission end date, you may submit a second story.

Eligibility: The contest is open to non-professional writers who have not met the eligibility requirements for SFWA Full Membership. Writers meeting the SFWA Associate level of membership are eligible to submit to the contest.
Previous first-place winners and current year contest coordinators, readers and judges are ineligible to enter.

Publication status: Submitted stories must be original, previously unpublished, and unsold to any other market.

Manuscript submissions should be in modern or classic proper manuscript format; double-spaced, and either Courier or Times New Roman font. Acceptable MS formats include .doc, .docx, and .rtf.

Submitting to the contest implies consent for printing in the Confluence program book. The first place story will be printed in the Confluence program book. All rights revert to the author upon publication.
Coordinators and first readers screen the entries and the ten best submissions are then read by the judges. Decisions of the judges and coordinators are final.

Still have questions? Please see our FAQ’s page before contacting the contest coordinator.

How to Submit:
Electronic submissions will be accepted through Submittable starting January 1st
If this is your first time using Submittable, you will need to create a FREE account with them. Instructions for this will appear after you hit the submit link. It’s easy and quick.

First-place receives $200 and publication in the Confluence program book.*
Second-place receives $100
Third-place receives $50

Coordinator: AJ Smith


Brandon Ketchum

Todd Sanders

Elyse Russell

Open submission period: Jan 1st – March 31st annually

Contact the contest coordinator with questions.

Do NOT use this form for submissions!

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Thank you to our 2024 contest sponsors: Timmons Esaias, Bernadette Harris, Mary Soon Lee, Heidi Miller, Sarah-Wade Smith, John Frochio, Michael Taylor, Heidi Pilewski & Catherine Cole
Your donation made this contest possible!