The Flash Fiction Contest is an occasional & irregular feature of the Escape Artists's forum. While our forum is generally renowned for being one of the most welcoming discussion places on the Internet, the denizens periodically risk metaphorical blood and treasure in a battle for the honor of having their 300-500 word stories purchased, recorded, and aired in a special episode of their favorite podcast.
You can join the forum and read all previous contest entries at this link.
Flash Fiction Contest I
On 13 January 2007, Steve Eley announced in a forum post:
"With the aid of an anonymous donor, Escape Pod is presenting a contest for the best SF story of 300 words or less. There are no restrictions on theme, plot, or structure. The goal is simply to present a strong idea-based story in the minimum space possible...
The highest-rated story will receive an Escape Pod contract to run their story as flash fiction at a rate of $100. That’s five times our standard flash rate. "The second-highest rated story will receive a contract at a rate of $50. "The third-highest rated story will receive a standard flash contract, and so will any others that I, as EP’s editor, think are excellent choices for Escape Pod. "The stories will then be produced in audio and will go out on Escape Pod’s feed, and be made available for any other non-commercial use as specified in our Creative Commons license.
"The deadline is January 31, 2007."
In February, 319 stories entered the fray - 27 groups in the first round, 7 groups in the Semi-Finals, and 19 stories in the Final Round. The three winners were:
- 1st place: Mission to Dover, by Gideon Fostick; read by Lyle Merithew.
- 2nd place: Skyscrapers, by Rachel Swirsky, read by Ann Leckie
- 3rd place: Karakuri, by Gideon Fostick, read by Dave Leckie
- Honorable Mentions (aired as flash bonus episodes):
Flash Fiction Contest II
By 2010 all three podcasts were well-established, and each ran their own parallel contest. PodCastle went first, accepting submissions in April with voting beginning 1 May; Pseudopod followed, accepting submissions in May and voting in June; Escape Pod wound up the proceeding by accepting submissions in June and voting through July.
This time, entries could be up to 500 words, and the winners were run as full episodes:
- PodCastle PC132 Flash Fiction Contest Extravaganza:
- 1st: Fetch, by Nathaniel Lee
- 2nd: Bibliophages, by Ramona Gardea
- 3rd: The Water Sprite, by Alicia Caporaso
- Pseudopod PP220 Flash On the Borderlands VI:
- 1st: Escape, by Emily E. Smith
- 2nd: Little Monster, by LynnCee Faulk (tied for 2nd)
- 2nd: Mother's Milk, by Strahinja Acimovic (tied for 2nd)
- Escape Pod EP302 Flash Extravaganza:
- 1st: London Iron, by William R. Halliar
- 2nd: Light and Lies, by Gideon Fostick (tied for 2nd)
- 2nd: Wheels of Blue Stilton, by Nicholas J. Carter (tied for 2nd)
Flash Fiction Contest III
By 2013, everyone had recovered enough to try again. Same rules as the previous contest. And the results:
- Escape Pod EP426 Flash Fiction Special:
- 1st: Four Tickets, by Leslianne Wilder
- 2nd: Life Sentence, by Ben Hallert
- 3rd: The Future Is Set, by C. L. Perria
- PodCastle PC288 Flash Fiction Contest Strikes Back:
- 1st: Wuffle, by Chantal Beaulne
- 2nd: The Bear, by Taven Moore
- 3rd: Georgina and the Basilisk, by Leslianne Wilder
- Pseudopod PP367 Flash On the Borderlands XVIII:
Flash Fiction Contest IV
Pseudopod led the charge, and voting began 1 October 2015.
- Pseudopod PP471 Flash On the Borderlands XXX
Escape Pod ran their contest in March - and the winners were announced on 3 April (no foolin'):
- 1st: Disc Stutter, by Brian Trent
- 2nd (tie): Bona Fide, by Ben Hallert
- 2nd (tie): Shopping for the Perfect Battle Mount, by Laura Davy
Cast of Wonders ran their first contest, with these winners: