The Robert A. Heinlein
Centennial Short Story Contest
Three prizes will be given for the best original
reflecting the spirit, ideas, and philosophies of
$5,000 first prize
$2,000 second prize
$1,000 third prize
For Immediate Release
Heinlein Society Announces Winners of
Robert A. Heinlein Centennial Short Story Contest
September 1, 2009 --The Heinlein Society (www.heinleinsociety.org)
announced today the three winners of the Robert A. Heinlein
Centennial Short Story Contest. The contest was originally announced
at celebrations of the 100th anniversary of famed American author and
first Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Grand Master Robert
A. Heinlein (1907-1988). The stories were judged on general literary
quality and reflection of the spirit, ideas and philosophies contained
in the works of Robert A. Heinlein. A panel of professional authors and
editors made the final selection of the three winners. The contest was
administered by The Heinlein Society, with a prize fund donated by an
admirer of Heinlein's works who wishes to remain anonymous.
1st Place, and $5,000 award
--"Under the Shouting Sky," by Karl Bunker. Karl Bunker is a
software engineer living in Boston, Massachusetts. Relatively new as
a science fiction writer, his love of SF began at an early age. "The
very first book I read that wasn't a children's book was a 1950s
paperback anthology of science fiction stories," Karl says. "I
didn't set out to write a 'Heinlein-esque' story with 'Under the
Shouting Sky', but when it was finished I saw that it included some
of my favorite aspects of Heinlein's works. Most notable of these is
the nature of the central character. Someone whom no one--including
himself--expects to be a hero, but who becomes heroic by doing what
he knows he must do, acting on an unspoken sense of something
greater than himself." Of "Under the Shouting Sky", THS president
David Silver notes, "Bunker's story perfectly captures the
quintessential Heinlein story of quiet heroism and duty fulfilled
whatever the personal price."
2nd Place, and $2,000 award--
"In the Shadows," by Charlie Allery. Ms Allery reports, "I'm English
and live in Somerset in the United Kingdom. I have a BSc in Marine
Biology, an HGV Class 2 lorry driving license, I'm a graduate of
Clarion West (2003), and Heinlein has been my favorite author since
I was 8 when I found 'Farmer in the Sky' and 'Red Planet' in the
local library. Finding no more Heinleins in the children's section,
my father introduced me to the adult shelves and the further
delights of Clarke, Asimov, Blish, Aldiss et al. I currently have
too many tools and not enough cats but am hoping for a solution to
one of these issues in the not too distant future. I also placed 3rd
in the 2008 Jim Baen memorial short story contest." Silver observes
of "In the Shadows", that "It is a beautifully crafted pastiche of
Heinlein themes and styles, and achieves the lyrical voice that
Heinlein chose to employ in only the finest of his stories."
3rd Place, and $1,000 award
-- "Salvage Sputnik," by Sam S. Kepfield. Kepfield reports that he
was raised in western Kansas, graduated from Kansas State University
in 1986, and received his juris doctor from the University of
Nebraska College of Law in 1989. He passed the Kansas bar exam that
year, earned an M.A. in History from the University of Nebraska in
1994, and a Ph.D./abd in history from the University of Oklahoma. He
currently lives in Hutchinson, Kansas, where he is a solo
practitioner of criminal defense law. He is married, has two
children, and in finest Heinleinian tradition, "a lot of cats". Of
his writing, he observes, "I began writing part-time in 2004. I
early on discovered science fiction as a way to escape from the
small town where I grew up. I bought a copy of Robert Heinleinís
'The Past Through Tomorrow' in high school, devoured it in a couple
of days, and stories like 'Life-Line' and 'The Long Watch' stuck
with me through the years." Of "Salvage Sputnik", one of the contest
administrators, Geo Rule, has this to say, "Kepfield's story harkens
to Golden Age Heinlein --part sense of wonder, part puzzle to solve,
part private enterprise commercialization of space, and all good fun
getting to the end."
The three winning stories will appear, for a limited
time, at the Society's website at www.heinleinsociety.org over the
The Heinlein Society congratulates all three winners and
confidently wishes them continued success in their writing careers. The
Society also thanks the hundreds of authors who submitted entries to the
Robert A. Heinlein Centennial Short Story Contest in celebration
of the life and works of Robert A. Heinlein. The large number of
excellent entries made judging a particular challenge and pleasure.
8/2/2009 -- President Silver announced in
the current newsletter that the Society
anticipates being in a position to announce contest winners in August.
3/31/2009 -- Judging continues, and the
prize fund is fully funded and will be paid out at the end of the
contest. Thank you for your patience.
Entries are now closed. The judges are
beginning their work and entrants will be notified of the results in due
The winning entries will be short
stories (not to exceed 15,000 words) judged best in terms of
All entries must be in English.
All entries must use an original
(i.e. not Heinleinís nor any other author's) universe of characters and
Plagiarism will result in
Entries shall not include stories
that have been previously commercially published. Simultaneous submissions to commercial publishers or other
contests are not allowed.
first publication for entered stories and the right to use contestant's name and image for
publicity purposes shall be granted to The Heinlein Society for duration of one year following the contest, i.e.,
until July 7, 2009.
entry will be judged so that the identity of the author is anonymous to the judges.
will be judged by professional authors and editors. The decisions of the judges are entirely
their own, and are final.
All stories submitted for the contest may be
considered for publication in an anthology.
If an anthology is published:
The First, Second, and Third prize
winning entries shall be included.
All authors to be published will be
required to sign a publishing contract.
Non-prize winning entries may be
selected in any order, at the sole discretion of the Heinlein Society or its agents.
Authors shall be compensated at
standard SFWA professional rates.
published or unpublished is eligible except individuals involved in judging the entries, members
of the Society's committee concerned with this contest,
board members of The Heinlein Society, and their immediate families.
fee is required.
entering, all entrants expressly agree to be bound by all the terms of the Contest Rules.
Time frame for contest
All entries must be received before 12:01 AM Pacific
Daylight Time on June 1, 2008.
Submitting your entry
Entries must be submitted as an attachment to an
email sent to the email address
entry so attached must be in .txt, .rtf, .pdf, or .doc format.
Entries shall be acknowledged by return email.
Each entry file must begin with the following
header. Header information must only appear one time, and at
the beginning of the file. Do not repeat on each "page".
This contest is void where prohibited by law. Any
taxes due on contest winnings, levied by any taxing agency or jurisdiction are the sole responsibility of the prize winners.