Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 27, 2019

NO FEE: Aftermath Short Story Contest

Our 2019 short story contest is now open for entries. Please read the following article carefully, it can seriously improve your chances.

The End of Our World 2.0

Entry free
1st prize $1,000
2nd $300
3rd $100
Anyone anywhere can enter
Closes 31 October 2019

The good response to our first contest has prompted us to repeat it in 2019. Not only because the unabated destruction of our environment has made an early end of our civilization likelier than ever, but also because many story-telling opportunities were left unused in the previous contest.

The whole point of this magazine is to raise awareness of the harm that we are doing to our planet and the dire consequences this will have. Our fact sheet (link) lists many of the threats facing our environment and society. We are heading for multiple apocalyptic disasters, not in the distant future but in a matter of decades, if we are lucky, or years, if we are not.

All prior calamities will pale into insignificance when the house of cards that we call our civilization collapses. We have little to fall back on, no plan B, just a depleted planet that can feed only a fraction of humanity when all our excessive and unsustainable attainments fail.

Climate change alone will have a devastating effect. We know that rising temperatures are going to cause ever greater natural disasters. Extreme weather will make large parts of the world uninhabitable for humans. This will mean mass migrations, on a scale never seen before. These people will be truly desperate, with nothing to lose, nothing to go back to, making them unstoppable.

The world economy, largely based on debt as it is, will not survive these natural and social disasters. It will implode, aggravating all other problems.

The notion that in the end, like in the movies, we shall solve all these problems because we are so clever is flatly contradicted by the fact that we created these problems in the first place. A truly clever species would never have let that happen. Now it’s too late. Several apocalyptic events cannot be prevented anymore, even if we wanted to try, which we obviously don’t, because it will cost money. The only question now is how we are going to emerge from these disasters: with some remnants of civilization or as cave men and cave women.

These facts should offer the creative writer a wealth of inspiration. All the ingredients for high drama are here: floods, fires, droughts, famines, violent migrations, wars of survival, cannibalism, et cetera.

This is the setting for the short stories that we want to publish. The stories from the first contest in this magazine are excellent examples of what we are looking for. See:

The top ten
The twenty runners-up

What we don’t like to see are stories that ignore the human causes of our downfall and simply embark on wild post-apocalyptic fantasies. They have no cautionary value. And that is ultimately what all this is about. An attempt to bring humans to their senses, by conceiving the inconceivable, showing them what they are doing and what this is going to do to them and their loved ones.

Sadly, the majority of the stories we received for our previous contest and also as submissions to the magazine did not do that. They focused on the end of the end. A number of people in a hopeless post-apocalyptic setting. Some were quite good, but they were very much alike. This alone reduces your chances of a high ranking.

Being a non-profit organization we don’t have lots of money to throw around. Nevertheless we offer US$1,000 for the winner, US$300 for the runner-up and US$100 for number 3. There may also be some hideous trophies and a little fame, but most of all the satisfaction of making a contribution to the welfare of our planet and all its inhabitants.

The rules are as follows:
This writing contest (or writing competition) will open for entries on 1 September 2019 and will close on 31 October 2019 at 23:59 Coordinated Universal Time (check local time differences).
This is a free contest again. We had planned to ask an entry fee, but have thought the better of it.
It is open to anyone, from any country, of any age.
Winners will be announced in late 2019/early 2020.
The story should be in digital form, Microsoft Word or PDF. This is important! Files that cannot be opened may be disqualified.
Each contestant may enter only one story.
Formatting in accordance with common practice; see the internet, for instance:
William Shunn
Scribophile

Preferred word count between 1500 and 5000 words. The better the story, the greater the margin may be, within reason.
The winners will be published in the next annual contest issue of this magazine, planned for January 2020.
Stories outside the top 3 may still be published for the usual flat fee of US$25 paid by us.
We buy non-exclusive, one-time rights for online publication during a period of 6 months, with an option to repeat this for the same payment of US$25.

Payments will be made via PayPal or be mailed. Other forms of payment are too cumbersome and expensive.
Simultaneous submissions are fine.
Publications elsewhere are not a problem either.
Stories are to be uploaded by filling out the form that will appear below as soon as the entry period opens.

P.S.
As a special courtesy to any talented Dutch writers we offer them the possibility of submitting their stories in Dutch. If they end up in the short-list, we shall have them translated, free of charge. (Nederlandse schrijvers kunnen hun verhalen in hun moedertaal inzenden. Als ze de “short-list” halen, zorgen wij voor de vertaling, gratis. Dit deden we in 2018 voor het verhaal “Summer in Friesland” van Janna van der Meer. )

We are having some problems with the form. Please enter your story by sending it as an attachment with an email to: entries@aftermathmag.org

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


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