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       L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future 34, p.1
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           L. Ron Hubbard
L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future 34


  Wondrous and powerful tales from some of the world’s best new writers—

  Djinn are famous for twisting your words so they don’t really grant your wish, but two can play that game. —Turnabout

  Deacon is a government official, and he’s afraid he’ll stay that way if he can’t break his conditioning. —A Smokeless and Scorching Fire

  It’s easy making sales when you can send images of despair into the hearts of your clients. —The Howler on the Sales Floor

  Alder seeks the secrets of the Windcallers’ magic, but his curiosity may destroy the people he loves. —The Minarets of An-Zabat

  Jim Bellamy tries to save the life of a girl who died in the wreckage of a train ten years ago. —The Death Flyer

  A tree giant takes in a housekeeper, but she has more secrets than either of them can handle. —Odd and Ugly

  An ancient myth might provide the key to curing a disease that threatens all of humanity. —Mara’s Shadow

  A lesson on philosophy in action turns into a deadly encounter. —The Lesson

  A powerful sorcerer has so disgraced himself, he is afraid of what his family will think should he ever die and meet them on the other side. —What Lies Beneath

  Cara discovers a floating farm parked over her land, blocking the sunlight, and must confront the driver. —The Face in the Box

  In a world controlled by dragons and their henchmen, rock singer Josephine really only wants “death to all collaborators.” —Flee, My Pretty One

  Even a court wizard will struggle to fight off armies if his weapons pack no actual punch. —Illusion

  You can put an end to something wondrous, but only at a cost. —A Bitter Thing

  Lily’s ability to shift shapes into a bear offers some strange challenges. —Miss Smokey

  On a far world, a nameless man meets a woman of ancient genetic stock, and when trouble follows in his wake, he must choose: her life or his humanity? —All Light and Darkness

  Read on, and let the adventure begin!

  What has been said about the

  L. RON HUBBARD

  Presents

  Writers of the Future

  Anthologies

  * * *

  “Not only is the writing excellent … it is also extremely varied. There’s a lot of hot new talent in it.”

  —Locus magazine

  “Always a glimpse of tomorrow’s stars.”

  —Publishers Weekly starred review

  “Where can an aspiring sci-fi artist go to get discovered? … Fortunately, there’s one opportunity—the Illustrators of the Future Contest—that offers up-and-coming artists an honest-to-goodness shot at science fiction stardom.”

  —Sci-Fi magazine

  “I really can’t say enough good things about Writers of the Future.… It’s fair to say that without Writers of the Future, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

  —Patrick Rothfuss

  Writers of the Future Contest winner 2002

  “The book you are holding in your hands is our first sight of the next generation of science fiction and fantasy writers.”

  —Orson Scott Card

  Writers of the Future Contest judge

  “This is an opportunity of a lifetime.”

  —Larry Elmore

  Illustrators of the Future Contest judge

  “The road to creating art and getting it published is long, hard and trying. It’s amazing to have a group, such as Illustrators of the Future, there to help in this process—creating an outlet where the work can be seen and artists can be heard from all over the globe.”

  —Rob Prior

  Illustrators of the Future Contest judge

  “The Writers of the Future experience played a pivotal role during a most impressionable time in my writing career. And afterward, the WotF folks were always around when I had questions or needed help. It was all far more than a mere writing contest.”

  —Nnedi Okorafor

  Writers of the Future Contest published finalist 2002

  “If you want a glimpse of the future—the future of science fiction—look at these first publications of tomorrow’s masters.”

  —Kevin J. Anderson

  Writers of the Future Contest judge

  “Speculative fiction fans will welcome this showcase of new talent .…Winners of the simultaneous Illustrators of the Future Contest are featured with work as varied and as exciting as the authors.”

  —Library Journal starred review

  “The Writers of the Future Contest is a valuable outlet for writers early in their careers. Finalists and winners get a unique spotlight that says ‘this is the way to good writing.’ ”

  —Jody Lynn Nye

  Writers of the Future Contest judge

  “The Contests are amazing competitions. I wish I had something like this when I was getting started—very positive and cool.”

  —Bob Eggleton

  Illustrators of the Future Contest judge

  L. Ron Hubbard PRESENTS

  Writers of the Future

  VOLUME 34

  * * *

  The year’s twelve best tales from the Writers of the Future international writers’ program

  Illustrated by winners in the Illustrators of the Future international illustrators’ program

  Three short stories from authors L. Ron Hubbard / Brandon Sanderson / Jody Lynn Nye

  With essays on writing and illustration by L. Ron Hubbard / Orson Scott Card / Ciruelo / Jerry Pournelle

  * * *

  Edited by David Farland / Illustrations Art Directed by Echo Chernik

  GALAXY PRESS, INC.

  © 2018 Galaxy Press, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

  Any unauthorized copying, translation, duplication, importation or distribution, in whole or in part, by any means, including electronic copying, storage or transmission, is a violation of applicable laws.

  No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

  For information, contact Galaxy Press, Inc. at 7051 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, California, 90028.

  “Turnabout”: © 2018 Erik Bundy

  “A Smokeless and Scorching Fire”: © 2018 Erin Cairns

  “The Howler on the Sales Floor”: © 2018 Jonathan Ficke

  “The Minarets of An-Zabat”: © 2018 Jeremy TeGrotenhuis

  “Suspense”: © 2011 L. Ron Hubbard

  “The Death Flyer”: © 2008 L. Ron Hubbard

  “Odd and Ugly”: © 2018 Vida Cruz

  “Mara’s Shadow”: © 2018 Darci Stone

  “The Lesson”: © 2010 Dragonsteel Entertainment, LLC

  “What Lies Beneath”: © 2018 Cole Hehr

  “The Face in the Box”: © 2018 Janey Bell

  “Flee, My Pretty One”: © 2018 Eneasz Brodski

  “Illusion”: © 2018 Jody Lynn Nye

  “A Bitter Thing”: © 2018 N.R.M. Roshak

  “Miss Smokey”: © 2018 Diana Hart

  “All Light and Darkness”: © 2018 Amy Henrie Gillett

  Illustration for “Turnabout” © 2018 Adar Darnov

  Illustration for “A Smokeless and Scorching Fire” © 2018 Kyna Tek

  Illustration for “The Howler on the Sales Floor” © 2018 Sidney Lugo

  Illustration for “The Minarets of An-Zabat” © 2018 Brenda R
odriguez

  Illustration for “The Death Flyer” © 2018 Ven Locklear

  Illustration for “Odd and Ugly” © 2018 Reyna Rochin

  Illustration for “Mara’s Shadow” © 2018 Quintin Gleim

  Illustration for “The Lesson” © 2018 Brittany Jackson

  Illustration for “What Lies Beneath” © 2018 Maksym Polishchuk

  Illustration for “The Face in the Box” © 2018 Bruce Brenneise

  Illustration for “Flee, My Pretty One” © 2018 Alana Fletcher

  Illustration for “A Bitter Thing” © 2018 Jazmen Richardson

  Illustration for “Miss Smokey” © 2018 Anthony Moravian

  Illustration for “All Light and Darkness” © 2018 Duncan Halleck

  Cover Artwork Dragon Caller and illustration for “Illusion” © 2007 Ciruelo

  Interior Design by Jerry Kelly

  This anthology contains works of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the authors’ imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. Opinions expressed by nonfiction essayists are their own.

  ePub ISBN 978-1-61986-572-3

  BATTLEFIELD EARTH is a registered trademark owned by Author Services, Inc., and is used with its permission. WRITERS OF THE FUTURE (word and medallion) and ILLUSTRATORS OF THE FUTURE and its logo are trademarks owned by the L. Ron Hubbard Library and are used with permission.

  Contents

  * * *

  Introduction

  by David Farland

  Illustrators of the Future

  by Echo Chernik

  Turnabout

  by Erik Bundy

  Illustrated by Adar Darnov

  A Smokeless and Scorching Fire

  by Erin Cairns

  Illustrated by Kyna Tek

  The Howler on the Sales Floor

  by Jonathan Ficke

  Illustrated by Sidney Lugo

  The Minarets of An-Zabat

  by Jeremy TeGrotenhuis

  Illustrated by Brenda Rodriguez

  Suspense

  by L. Ron Hubbard

  The Death Flyer

  by L. Ron Hubbard

  Illustrated by Ven Locklear

  Odd and Ugly

  by Vida Cruz

  Illustrated by Reyna Rochin

  Mara’s Shadow

  by Darci Stone

  Illustrated by Quintin Gleim

  Theme

  by Orson Scott Card

  The Lesson

  by Brandon Sanderson

  Illustrated by Bea Jackson

  Paying it Forward

  by Jerry Pournelle

  What Lies Beneath

  by Cole Hehr

  Illustrated by Maksym Polishchuk

  The Face in the Box

  by Janey Bell

  Illustrated by Bruce Brenneise

  Flee, My Pretty One

  by Eneasz Brodski

  Illustrated by Alana Fletcher

  Passion and Profession

  by Ciruelo

  Illusion

  by Jody Lynn Nye

  Inspired by Ciruelo’s Dragon Caller

  A Bitter Thing

  by N.R.M. Roshak

  Illustrated by Jazmen Richardson

  Miss Smokey

  by Diana Hart

  Illustrated by Anthony Moravian

  All Light and Darkness

  by Amy Henrie Gillett

  Illustrated by Duncan Halleck

  The Year in the Contests

  Introduction

  by David Farland

  * * *

  David Farland is a New York Times bestselling author with more than fifty novels and anthologies to his credit. He has won numerous awards, including the L. Ron Hubbard Gold Award in 1987, and has served as Coordinating Judge of the Writers of the Future for more than a dozen years.

  He has helped mentor hundreds of new writers, including such #1 bestselling authors as Brandon Sanderson (The Way of Kings), Stephenie Meyer (Twilight), Brandon Mull (Fablehaven), James Dashner (The Maze Runner), and others. While writing Star Wars novels in 1998, he was asked to help choose a book to push big for Scholastic, and selected Harry Potter, then helped develop a bestseller strategy.

  In addition to his novels and short stories, Dave has also assisted with video game design and worked as a greenlighting analyst for movies in Hollywood. Dave continues to help mentor writers through the Writers of the Future program, where he acts as first reader, editor of the anthology, and teaches workshops to our winning authors. He also teaches online classes and live workshops.

  Welcome to L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers and Illustrators of the Future, Volume 34.

  Introduction

  As you may know, the Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contests are the world’s largest talent hunt for new authors and illustrators. We receive thousands of submissions of short stories and artwork each quarter from all over the globe, and our judges handpick the very best works which are collected and published in this volume. Every year the Contests continue to grow, and this year they were larger than ever.

  You’ve seen competitions like this in other fields: The Voice for singers, or The World of Dance for dancers. Both of those shows lend themselves well to television. But this global talent hunt is showcased here in these pages. You can read our winning stories in the anthology or see the gorgeous art for each story on the art plates that follow this article.

  As the first reader for the writers Contest, I get to look at thousands of stories each year in search of the best new writers of speculative fiction in the world, and I think we have a tremendous lineup this year.

  A lot of authors are curious about the selection process, and I thought I would talk about it just a bit.

  When I look for stories, I don’t get to see the authors’ names. I don’t know where the story was sent from, and I have no idea of the gender or age or color of the writer. Frankly, I don’t care. I get to judge the stories on quality alone.

  So I search for science fiction, fantasy, and speculative horror stories that fit our guidelines. The short stories can’t be too long—no more than about seventy pages—nor can they be too short. It would be difficult to write a story that was very short and still have it be powerful and convincingly brilliant, so most of our stories here fall between 5,000 and 17,000 words long.

  As a writer, I’ve written a lot of science fiction and fantasy, so I don’t care which genre of stories you enter, so long as they are speculative fiction. Nor do I care what sex or nationality the characters are.

  I do, however, look for commercial fiction—stories that could be sold in an anthology that goes in some cases to elementary schools. For that reason, extreme violence, sexual content, and profanity can be problematic.

  I base my judgment of the story on three elements.

  First, I look for a fresh and original concept. I want to see ideas in the story that I haven’t seen done a thousand times. I love seeing concepts that are new, or that are at least twisted into some new form that I haven’t read before.

  Second, I study the storytelling skill of the author. I’m looking for intriguing characters that I care about deeply. I ask myself, does the author plot well? Does he or she put in intriguing twists and turns? Are the scenes developed well, and does the climax and the ending of the story work?

  Third, I’m looking for stories that show strong writing skills on a verbal level, where the prose is electric and stylistically elegant.

  When I find a story that scores high in all three of these categories, I know that I have a potential winner.

&n
bsp; But I won’t know what my lineup is until I see all of the stories. It’s a process of elimination. So I read through the stories and make multiple passes, searching for the best each quarter. Some stories get rejected pretty quickly. Either the idea has been overdone or the content of the story is offensive or perhaps stylistically the writer just doesn’t intrigue me.

  But if everything looks great, then I put the stories into my “hold” file, for deeper study. This often means that I have to read the whole story to see if the plot holds together and it reaches a great conclusion.

  Normally, I will find three or four dozen stories that I like, and then I have to consider each one again, deciding which of those tales will be categorized with finalists, semi-finalists, silver honorable mentions, and honorable mentions.

  A lot of authors ask, “What does it take to win an honorable mention?” Here is what it means: Very often I will see a story where the author shows some promise. Sometimes the author has a great style, or an excellent concept, or maybe crafts scenes well. In short, if you win an honorable mention, I see something that I like in your work, and I want you to keep writing. But I have to admit that some of the honorable mentions are exceptionally well done and are just a hair’s breadth from being finalists.

  A silver honorable mention is usually a very good story that is pretty much publishable, though it might be that the author needs to go through and do a final pass or a bit of rewriting.

  With semi-finalist stories, I offer critiques so that the author can find out what needs to be done to be publishable.

  And, of course, there are the finalists—the eight stories that go on to our blue-ribbon panel of judges each quarter, so that they can select our first, second, and third place winners.

  As I’m judging the stories, our Illustrators of the Future Contest Coordinating Judge, Echo Chernik, looks at the art submissions each quarter and then sends her finalist selections on to the illustrator judges so that they can pick the three winners.

  Those art Contest winners are each assigned a prize-winning story to illustrate, so that we get a great artist matched with each writing Contest winner. You can see these commissioned pieces in this book.

 
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