Announcing the Judges for the Gernsback Science Fiction Short Story Writing Contest

Beginning on July 1st, Amazing Stories will open for submissions for the Gernsback Science Fiction Story Writing Contest.

Named for the Father of Magazine Science Fiction – Hugo Gernsback – our writing contest will be judged by three Active SFWA members –

Cat Rambo, Dave Creek and our own Jack Clemons.


Amazing Stories thought it would be a good idea to bring some professionals on board for the judging, and we couldn’t have gotten a better crew.  All are long-time professionals and active in the science fiction community.

judge cat


Cat Rambo is completing a term as SFWA Vice President and was recently elected President of the writer’s organization.  On July 1st when our contest opens, she’ll be starting a two year term.  A little bit more about Cat –

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches by the shores of an eagle-haunted lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her 150+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov’s, Clarkesworld Magazine, and Her short story, “Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain,” from her story collection Near + Far (Hydra House Books), was a 2012 Nebula nominee. Her editorship of Fantasy Magazine earned her a World Fantasy Award nomination in 2012. For more about her, as well as links to her fiction, see, or check out her debut novel Beasts of Tabat.

judge dave


Dave Creek’s books include two short story collections — A GLIMPSE OF SPLENDOR and THE HUMAN EQUATIONS — and a novel, SOME DISTANT SHORE.  His most recent book is THE SILENT SENTINELS, a novella.

He’s also a regular contributor to ANALOG SCIENCE FICTION AND FACT, where many of his short stories first appeared.

Dave is also currently editing an anthology of original science fiction stories for Hydra Publications.

Find out more about Dave’s work at, on Facebook at Fans of Dave Creek, and on Twitter, @DaveCreek

In the “real world,” Dave is a retired television news producer.

Dave lives in Louisville with his wife Dana, son Andy, a floppy-eared Corgi named Peggy, and two sleepy cats — Hedwig and Hemingway.

judge jack


Jack Clemons has a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering. He has spent most of his professional career as an aerospace engineer, an air-and-space industry professional, and as an author.

During the Apollo Moon Program he was a lead engineer supporting operations at NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston Texas (now the Johnson Space Center). He developed procedures allowing astronauts to monitor and control the Apollo Command Module’s Onboard Guidance and Navigation Computer during atmospheric reentry. He provided real-time support during missions Apollo 9 through Apollo 14, including Mission Control Center backroom support during the extended 6-minute reentry blackout period on Apollo 13.

Following Apollo he was the overall program manager for the development of the onboard software for NASA’s Space Shuttle. Later in his career Jack was a Senior Vice President of Engineering at Lockheed Martin and led the organization that designed the modernization of the FAA’s nationwide Air Traffic Control computer systems, the United Kingdom’s London Area Air Traffic Control Centre, and Air Traffic Systems in Scotland, Eastern Europe, South America, and New Zealand.

Jack appeared as himself in the Command Module episode of the Discovery Science Channel six-part documentary Moon Machines. He has written and made numerous presentations about the space program, on the importance of systems engineering (for non-engineering audiences), and on why science matters.

He is also a published author and a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.  His non-fiction, short fiction and science fiction have appeared in numerous magazines, books and anthologies.  His short stories “Will Little Note, Nor Long Remember” and “Tool Dresser’s Law” first appeared in Amazing Stories Magazine.  “Will Little Note, Nor Long Remember” was reprinted here in Volume 0, Number 1 of the re-launch of Amazing Stories.  “Tool Dresser’s Law” is reprinted in Amazing Stories Magazine 88th Anniversary Special Edition, available for download from the Amazing Stories Store. He is currently writing a memoir about his time on NASA’s Apollo and Space Shuttle Programs.


Amazing Stories’ Gernsback Science Fiction Short Story Writing Contest (quite a mouthful, so we’ll refer to it as the Gernsback Contest from here on out) was created to re-emphasize the short story’s import to the science fiction genre as well as to provide a home for positively oriented science fiction.

The Gernsback Contest will be accepting submissions of up to 100 short stories (2,000 words or less) starting on July 1st, 2015.  (Submissions will close when 100 submissions have been received or on July 31st, whichever comes first.)

Each Gernsback Contest (this is only the first of many!) will feature a theme.  Our inaugural contest’s theme is:

What will the Solar System look like 250 years from now? 

Where will the current and on-going developments in private aerospace have taken us a quarter millennia from now?  Will we have colonized Mars?  Explored Europa?  Be exploiting the resources of Ceres?  Will the boundless resources of an entire solar system help build a society free from want?  Will we be able to see Luna City’s lights from Earth?  Will space elevators dot the globe?  Will there be used spaceship dealers?  Vacations to the Moon? New space-based sports?  Will there be rest homes for those who can no longer tolerate gravity?  Will we have eliminated discrimination?  Poverty?  Hunger?

Tell us a story. A positive one.  Show us a future that everyone would want to inhabit, one that we can’t wait to see arrive!

(Ed. Note:  We’re looking for SCIENCE FICTION short stories this time out.)

How It Will Work

Submissions will be accepted up to the deadline.  As submissions come in, they will have their author’s names redacted (to guard against unconscious bias) and they will be forwarded individually, on a rotational basis, to one of our ten readers/first round judges.  (All of whom are contributors to Amazing Stories, all with strong backgrounds in science fiction, reading, writing, editing and reviewing.)

Collectively, the readers will forward 20 of the submissions to our Final Round Judges, Cat, Dave and Jack.  The Final Round Judges will select ten of those twenty stories as finalists, and will rank them from 1 to 10.


The 1st, 2nd and 3rd place stories will each receive payment at 6 cents per word and will qualify for SFWA Active Membership.

All ten finalists will be published in Amazing Stories (here on site), and will received a certificate noting their achievement.

An anthology of the contest finalists will also be published.


Contest winners will be granting Amazing Stories the following rights:

First electronic publication rights

Non-exclusive electronic archival rights

Non-exclusive Anthology option (US English language)

The authors will also be granting Amazing Stories the right to use their name and the name of their story, as well as excerpts from their story, for promotional purposes.  (Such will be limited to and directly related to promotion of the contest and any publications that may derive from the contest.)

What To Do Next

We know you’re itching to get going, but stifle.  The contest doesn’t open until July 1st.  We’ll be using Submittable to gather in the submissions.  Details will be published here on Amazing Stories in an incessant and on-going effort to publicize and promote the contest.  We doubt very much you’ll be able to miss anything of importance.  (Which means, keep your eyes glued to Amazing Stories!  Hey – you might even think about registering, it’s free!)

Next contest post we’ll be revealing our readers.  In the meantime:

Don’t submit anything now.  Do Not Submit Anything Prior to the Opening of the Contest.  (Professional authors respect submission guidelines dontchyaknow.)

But do get to writing!

Please take a moment to support Amazing Stories with a one-time or recurring donation via Patreon. We rely on donations to keep the site going, and we need your financial support to continue quality coverage of the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres as well as supply free stories weekly for your reading pleasure.

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