The annual Writer’s of the Future contest in writing and art culminates in that year’s anthology representing the 12 quarterly finalists in each of the categories. It also includes a few other inclusions from past winners and the anthology editor. The genres range from fantasy to sci-fi, urban fantasy to steampunk. And the winners are consistently very good.
My favorites of this year’s winners each rate at 5 out of 5 stars. Jon Lasser’s “The Star Tree” is an off-world, coming-of-age tale that sees a small family shattered and stitched back together as they navigate their lonely planet lost among the stars. Stephen Merlino’s “The Jack of Souls” is a fantasy rogue’s tale with gumption, cleverness and heart. Julie Frost’s “Cry Havoc” is a particularly moving urban fantasy tale that turns the monster hunter versus werewolf trope on its head.
My three 4-star honorable mentions are: Christoph Weber’s “Mobius” which explores the black market genetic modification research and policing of the near future, Sylvia Anna Hiven’s “A Glamour in the Black” which spins a uniquely dark view of magic and parasitic creatures, and J. W. Alden’s “The Sun Falls Apart” which depicts a coming-of-age tale for a desperate teen with unrealized, dangerous abilities.
The other winners, all rating 3-stars were:
Baker, Stewart C.–“Images Across the Shattered Sea”
Dovey, Matt–“Squalor and Sympathy”
Fullerton, H. L.–“Last Sunset for the World Weary”
Graves, R. M.–“Freebot”
Jones, Rachael K.–“Dinosaur Dreams in Infinite Measure”
Row, Ryan–“The Broad Sky Was Mine, And the Road”
The other tales included were:
Farland, David–“Hellfire on the High Frontier”–5 stars
Hubbard, L. Ron–“The Last Admiral”–3 stars
Julicher, K. D.–“Swords Like Lightning, Hooves Like Thunder”–2 stars
Williams, Sean–“The Jade Woman of the Luminous Star”–3 stars