Uncharted Magazine Sci-Fi/Fantasy Short Story Award - Uncharted

Uncharted Magazine Sci-Fi/Fantasy Short Story Award

By Uncharted

1st Place: “Bees Wings” by Matthew Goldberg

“This delicate sketch of our powerful tendency to humanize the universe—to make it bearable—walks a knife’s edge of tonal balance. Too much, either way, would have ruined it. Ultimately, I read in it a celebration of the absolute beauty of every moment of life, no matter where it occurs in our linear experience of it.” Ken Liu

2nd Place: “The Organic Host” by Anne Ramallo

“The best tales featuring technology are not *about* technology but show us how technology both empowers and disempowers us, makes us both more and less human. This story accomplishes that task wonderfully.” Ken Liu

3rd Place: “Green Thumb” by Jill Baguchinsky

“I’m no good at keeping plants alive; perhaps that’s why I’m so fascinated by stories featuring plants and the people who connect with them. I love the premise here and the world spun from it.” Ken Liu

Short List:

“Green Glass” by Julie Le Blanc

“Coreopsis” by Kris Faatz

“Mooncake” by John-Paul Franks

“Blaze Trails Unlimited” by Mathew Lebowitz

“In-between” by Haley Kennedy

“running…” by Celeste Chen

“May You Live in Interesting Times” by Kathy Chao

“Words of Advice at the End of the World” by Aleksandra Hill

“The Arch of the Eyebrow” by Mike McClelland

Thank you to everyone who submitted this year!

Guest judge Ken Liu will choose three winning stories from a shortlist. We’re excited to offer the winner of this prize $3000 and publication, while the 2nd and 3rd place winners will receive publication and $300 and $200, respectively along with publication.

Ken Liu (http://kenliu.name) is an American author of speculative fiction. A winner of the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy awards, he wrote the Dandelion Dynasty, a silkpunk epic fantasy series (starting with The Grace of Kings), as well as short story collections The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories and The Hidden Girl and Other Stories. He also authored the Star Wars novel The Legends of Luke Skywalker.

Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Liu worked as a software engineer, corporate lawyer, and litigation consultant. Liu frequently speaks at conferences and universities on a variety of topics, including futurism, cryptocurrency, history of technology, bookmaking, narrative futures, and the mathematics of origami.

Uncharted Magazine publishes Science Fiction/Fantasy Short Stories from fiction writers of any background or experience. We want stories that richly imagine the future of technology and science, that explore our world through a speculative lens. We want stories of fantasy that make us hunger for new worlds, new biomes, new places we can explore through thrilling sensual details and human empathy. We want stories that thrill us, that make us feel alive, that awaken our desires to explore and go on adventures.


  • The deadline for entry is September 30, 2021. We will announce the shortlist within 8-10 weeks of the contest’s close. All writers will be notified when results are in.
  • Your $20 reading fee allows 1 story of 1,001-5,000 words or fewer each per entry.
  • We allow multiple submissions—new story should have a separate submission accompanied by a reading fee.
  • Short Stories only—5,000 word count maximum.
  • We only consider unpublished work for contests—we do not review reprints, including self-published work.
  • Simultaneous submissions are okay—please notify us and withdraw your entry if you find another home for your writing.
  • All entries will also be considered for publication in Uncharted Magazine.
  • Double-space your submission and use Times New Roman 12 pt font.
  • Please include a brief cover letter with your publication history (if applicable). Please mention any content warnings as necessary to protect our readers!
  • We only read work in English.
  • We do not read blind. The judge will read anonymously from the shortlist.


You may choose to receive editorial feedback on your piece. We will provide a global letter discussing the strengths of the writing and the recommended focus for revision. Our aim is to make our comments actionable and encouraging. These letters are written by editors and staff readers of Uncharted Magazine. A significant portion of the editorial letter fees go to our feedback editor, according to the rates established by the EFA. Should your story win, no feedback will be offered and your fee will be refunded.