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       Writers of the Future Volume 27: The Best New Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, p.1

           L. Ron Hubbard
Writers of the Future Volume 27: The Best New Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year

  From the farthest reaches of the universe to the innermost workings of the human heart and mind . . . Let tomorrow’s masters of science fiction and fantasy take you on a journey that will capture your imagination:

  Scattered starfarers in the emptiness beyond the solar system try to stay connected and even find love in the greatest emptiness imaginable.

  A half-human spellcaster must compete against other witches for a grand championship, but her greatest challenge may be confronting herself.

  A washed-up reporter investigating a story on the Moon finds that the truth can be more dangerous than terrorism.

  A detective tries to solve a murder in a world where a godlike computer can reprogram reality itself, at will.

  In a dark, fantastic world, a scholar from a dying race takes an acolyte who holds secrets greater than the histories they study.

  Far from Earth, a human envoy finds himself caught in a bloody religious war between two alien cultures, neither of which he can understand.

  A hunter tracks addicts who have lost their souls inside a computer network and drags them back out, whether or not they are ready to face the real world.

  Missionaries on a hellish planet try to impose peace between warring alien races, even if it means destroying the world’s life cycle.

  Survivors aboard a damaged sky city must use all their wits and resources to keep from sinking into the depths of a gas giant.

  A veteran space-salvage worker must survive pirates, ruthless corporations, ghost ships . . . and a rookie partner.

  An embittered field medic in an interstellar war must save a thousand lives before he can go home.

  A young activist agrees to spread a terrible virus to save the world from a government conspiracy . . . but there may be more than one conspiracy, and she doesn’t know exactly which side she’s on.

  An ancient, immortal woman in the old South finds that she can put an end to her eternal curse, but only if she kills a Yankee soldier she has nursed back to health.

  These stories from the freshest, most talented new voices in science fiction and fantasy, are individually illustrated by the best new artists in the genre. You will definitely encounter these names again in the future—but you saw them first in L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume XXVII.

  What Has Been Said About the



  Writers of the Future


  What the critics have said about Writers of the Future:

  “Always a glimpse of tomorrow’s stars . . .”

  — Publishers Weekly starred review

  “Fortunately, for the past quarter century the aptly named Writers of the Future competition has been seeking out and recognizing rising science-fiction stars.”

  — Sci Fi magazine

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

  — Locus magazine

  “A first rate collection of stories and illustrations.”

  — Booklist magazine

  “This compilation shows why the series continues to produce some of the newest talent in the genre. The number of authors and artists who have come through this competition is staggering.”

  — Midwest Book Review

  From novice to professional: What Writers of the Future means to you as an aspiring writer, as relayed from some of our past winners.

  “This Contest serves as one of those first rungs that one must climb on the ladder to success.”

  — Dave Wolverton

  Writers of the Future Contest winner 1987 and Contest judge

  “The Writers of the Future Contest was definitely an accelerator to my writing development. I learned so much, and it came at just the right moment for me.”

  — Jo Beverley

  Writers of the Future Contest winner 1988

  “That phone call telling me I had won was the first time in my life that it seemed possible I would achieve my long-cherished dream of having a career as a writer.”

  — K. D. Wentworth

  Writers of the Future Contest winner 1989

  and Contest Coordinating Judge

  “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 Writers of the Future Contest has had a profound impact on my career, ever since I submitted my first story in 1989.”

  — Sean Williams

  Writers of the Future Contest winner 1993 and Contest judge

  “The Writers of the Future Contest played a critical role in the early stages of my career as a writer.”

  — Eric Flint

  Writers of the Future Contest winner 1993 and Contest judge

  “The Contest kept the spark and life of my science-fictional imagination going. I might have had little confidence before, but after the workshops, I received the great start that the Contest’s visionary founder always hoped and knew that it could provide.”

  — Amy Sterling Casil

  Writers of the Future Contest winner 1999

  “It’s hard to say enough about how unique and powerful this Contest can be for any writer who’s ready to take the next step.”

  — Jeff Carlson

  Writers of the Future Contest winner 2007

  “The Writers of the Future Contest sowed the seeds of my success. . . . So many people say a writing career is impossible, but WotF says, ‘Dreams are worth following.’”

  — Scott Nicholson

  Writers of the Future Contest winner 1999

  “You have to ask yourself, ‘Do I really have what it takes, or am I just fooling myself?’ That pat on the back from Writers of the Future told me not to give up. . . . All in all, the Contest was a fine finishing step from amateur to pro, and I’m grateful to all those involved.”

  — James Alan Gardner

  Writers of the Future Contest winner 1990

  “The Writers of the Future experience played a pivotal role during a most impressionable time in my writing career. Everyone was so welcoming. And afterwards, 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

  “When I first set out to become a professional writer (ah, hubris), one of my key ambitions was to place in the top tier of the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest. . . . Without Mr. Hubbard’s sponsorship, I wouldn’t have had that fabulous, high-profile launch.”

  — Jay Lake

  Writers of the Future Contest winner 2003

  “The generosity of the people involved with the Contest is amazing, and frankly humbling. It’s no exaggeration to say I wouldn’t be where I am today without it, and that means I wouldn’t be going where I am tomorrow, either. So, in a way Writers of the Future shaped my future, and continues to shape it.”

  — Steven Savile

  Writers of the Future Contest winner 2003

Knowing that such great authors as the WotF judges felt my stories were worth publishing encouraged me to write more and submit more.”

  — Eric James Stone

  Writers of the Future Contest winner 2005

  “I credit the Writers of the Future Contest as an important part of my career launch, and I highly recommend it to everyone who wants to establish themselves in the field of science fiction and fantasy.”

  — Ken Scholes

  Writers of the Future Contest winner 2005

  “The Writers of the Future Contest launched my career into several amazing trajectories, and I’m enjoying them all.”

  — David Sakmyster

  Writers of the Future Contest winner 2006

  A word from Illustrators of the Future judges:

  “The Illustrators of the Future Contest is one of the best opportunities a young artist will ever get. You have nothing to lose and a lot to win.”

  — Frank Frazetta, Artist

  Illustrators of the Future Contest judge

  “I only wish that there had been an Illustrators of the Future competition forty-five years ago. What a blessing it would have been to a young artist with a little bit of talent, a Dutch name and a heart full of desire.”

  — H. R. Van Dongen, Artist

  Illustrators of the Future Contest judge

  “The Contests are amazing competitions because really, you’ve nothing to lose and they provide good positive encouragement to anyone who wins. Judging the entries is always a lot of fun and inspiring. I wish I had something like this when I was getting started—very positive and cool.”

  — Bob Eggleton, Artist

  Illustrators of the Future Contest judge

  “The aspect I personally value most highly about the program is that of working with my fellow professionals, both artists and writers, to accomplish a worthwhile goal of giving tomorrow’s artists and writers recognition and advancement in the highly competitive field of imaginative endeavor—the only existing program that does this.”

  — Stephen Hickman, Artist

  Illustrators of the Future Contest judge

  “These Contests provide a wonderful safety net of professionals for young artists and writers. And it’s due to the fact that L. Ron Hubbard was willing to lend a hand.”

  — Judith Miller, Artist

  Illustrators of the Future Contest judge

  L. Ron Hubbard PRESENTS

  Writers of the Future


  L. Ron Hubbard PRESENTS

  Writers of the Future


  The year’s thirteen best tales from

  the Writers of the Future

  international writers’ program

  Illustrated by winners in

  the Illustrators of the Future

  international illustrators’ program

  With essays on writing & illustration by

  L. Ron Hubbard / Mike Resnick / Robert Castillo

  Edited by K. D. Wentworth


  © 2011 Galaxy Press, LLC. 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, LLC,

  7051 Hollywood Blvd., Suite 200, Hollywood, CA 90028.

  The Unreachable Voices of Ghosts: © 2011 Jeffrey Lyman

  Maddy Dune’s First and Only Spelling Bee: © 2011 Patrick O’Sullivan

  The Truth, from a Lie of Convenience: © 2011 Brennan Harvey

  How to View Art: © 1984 L. Ron Hubbard Library

  In Apprehension, How Like a God: © 2011 R. P. L. Johnson

  An Acolyte of Black Spires: © 2011 Ryan Harvey

  The Dualist: © 2011 Van Aaron Hughes

  Bonehouse: © 2011 Keffy R. M. Kehrli

  This Peaceful State of War: © 2011 Patty Jansen

  Sailing the Sky Sea: © 2011 Geir Lanesskog

  Unfamiliar Territory: © 2011 Ben Mann

  Medic!: © 2011 Adam Perin

  Vector Victoria: © 2011 D. A. D’Amico

  The Sundial: © 2011 John Arkwright

  Illustration on page 21: © 2011 Nico Photos

  Illustration on page 60: © 2011 Meghan Muriel

  Illustrations on pages 76 & 503: © 2011 Irvin Rodriguez

  Illustration on page 161: © 2011 Dustin D. Panzino

  Illustration on page 173: © 2011 Fred Jordan

  Illustration on page 245: © 2011 Frederick Edwards

  Illustration on page 283: © 2011 Vivian Friedel

  Illustration on page 314: © 2011 Scott Frederick Hargrave

  Illustration on page 354: © 2011 Joey Jordan

  Illustration on page 387: © 2011 Erik Jean Solem

  Illustration on page 437: © 2011 Gregory J. Gunther

  Illustration on page 460: © 2011 Ryan Downing

  Cover Artwork: Mission © 2011 Cliff Nielsen

  Interior Design: 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.

  ISBN-13 978-1-59212-926-3 ePub version

  ISBN-13 978-1-59212-870-9 print version

  Library of Congress Control Number: 2011926124

  First Edition Paperback

  Printed in the United States of America

  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.



  by K. D. Wentworth



  by Jeffrey Lyman

  Illustrated by Nico Photos



  by Patrick O’Sullivan

  Illustrated by Meghan Muriel



  by Brennan Harvey

  Illustrated by Irvin Rodriguez


  by L. Ron Hubbard



  by R. P. L. Johnson

  Illustrated by Dustin D. Panzino


  by Ryan Harvey

  Illustrated by Fred Jordan


  by Van Aaron Hughes

  Illustrated by Frederick Edwards


  by Mike Resnick


  by Keffy R. M. Kehrli

  Illustrated by Vivian Friedel


  by Patty Jansen

  Illustrated by Scott Frederick Hargrave


  by Geir Lanesskog

  Illustrated by Joey Jordan


  by Robert Castillo


  by Ben Mann

  Illustrated by Erik Jean Solem


  by Adam Perin

Illustrated by Gregory J. Gunther


  by D. A. D’Amico

  Illustrated by Ryan Downing


  by John Arkwright

  Illustrated by Irvin Rodriguez



  by K. D. Wentworth

  K. D. Wentworth has sold more than eighty pieces of short fiction to such markets as F&SF, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Realms of Fantasy, Weird Tales, Witch Way to the Mall and Return to the Twilight Zone. Four of her stories have been finalists for the Nebula Award for Short Fiction. Currently, she has eight novels in print, the most recent being The Crucible of Empire, written with Eric Flint and published by Baen. She has served as Coordinating Judge for the Writers of the Future Contest and has now taken on the additional responsibility as Editor for the Writers of the Future anthology. She lives in Tulsa with her husband and a combined total of one hundred and sixty pounds of dog (Akita + Siberian “Hussy”) and is working on another new novel with Flint.


  As Coordinating Judge for the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest, I have the best job in the world. It was created by L. Ron Hubbard in 1983 when he set up the Writers of the Future Contest and then first entrusted to founding Contest judge, the perceptive Algis Budrys. L. Ron Hubbard, a widely published and gifted writer himself, knew how hard it was for beginning writers to get their proverbial foot in the door. He understood what it was like to have talent and drive and stories that you were burning to tell. He wanted to give new writers a running start, launch their careers and then make us all richer with the stories that only they could tell.

  Coordinating Judge is certainly not an easy job. It requires me to sift through an enormous number of entries each quarter, looking for the eight best which will become Finalists. These eight go on to be judged again by a panel of four of our distinguished Contest Judges. They select the winning three stories, which will receive a monetary prize, publication in our anthology and a trip to the annual workshop. Currently our judges are: Tim Powers, Jerry Pournelle, Larry Niven, Anne McCaffrey, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Dean Wesley Smith, Eric Flint, Mike Resnick, Robert J. Sawyer, Robert Silverberg, Dave Wolverton, Dr. Yoji Kondo, Doug Beason, Kevin J. Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, Frederik Pohl, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Sean Williams, Gregory Benford, Orson Scott Card and Brian Herbert.

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