2011/12 Short Fiction Contest

Eye in the sky
Image from Bernd Helfert

Latest Update

Winning stories from this contest are available in the second collection of OA stories. See this page for more details!

The Winners

Congratulations to our Short Story Contest Winners! Please send any additional inquiries to the OA board of directors via our contact page.

See Also

The 2011/2012 Cover Art Contest.


Each of the winners will receive a royalties contract to correspond with their publication in the second annual Orion’s Arm Universe Project book. Under this contract half of the revenue from sales will go to the OAUP, and the remainder will be divided among the authors.

Entry Rules
1) Contestants must be at least 18 years of age to participate.

2) The competition is open to manuscripts not greater than 17,500 words in length. Entries outside the word limitation will be disregarded. Type the word count on the first page of your entry along with your name, address, phone number and email address.

3) Entries must be in English, original, unpublished, and not submitted or accepted elsewhere at time of submission.

4) Entries must be set within the Orion's Arm universe. They must fully meet OA canon and match the contents of the Encyclopedia Galactica at the time of the final vote, though of course an author can include new ideas, worlds, or characters that do not contradict the existing material.

5) All entries are to be submitted via email sent to a representative of the OA Board as an MS Word document attachment with "Novella Contest Entry" as the subject line. Contact the OA Board via our contact page for details when you are ready. You will receive a confirmation email upon receipt of your submission. You will also be required to sign a copy of the Authors Contract and send it to the OAUP’s secretary.

6) All entries must be received by midnight, UTC, of the contest’s closing date.

7) All entries will be subject to a qualifying vote by the OAUP’s Tier II members (excepting the author of the piece, if the author is also a Tier II member) based on a viewing of the work in its entirety. Stories receiving a positive vote from more than 50% of Tier II members qualify for rating by the general OAUP membership.

8) Entries that pass the qualifying round may be included in our next OA book by a popular vote of the OAUP membership. The authors will each select an excerpt of their story, not to exceed 1,000 words, for presentation to the general membership. Stories will be ranked from highest to lowest rated by the members and will be and selected for publication based on this ranking. The story that takes the total length of the publication over 120,000 words will close the contest, although of course the remaining stories may qualify for entry in future OAUP publications.

Simple Suggestions to Improve Your Odds

Write. Successful entries will have original ideas, strong characterization, fidelity to the OA canon, and appeal to the sense of wonder. Stories must be clear and understandable.

Share. Post your developing story as it progresses at the Nexus for reviews and critiques by your peers. This really is a phenomenal tool that will allow those who use it to progress leaps and bounds beyond those that do not. Maybe that great text you have written works for you, but nobody else understands it. Maybe the science is faulty or you have misused features of the project. This is the place to work out those bugs.

Know your audience. Do your research and ask questions in the discussion groups. Don’t let yourself to be disqualified simply because your story is outside Canon. This is another reason to follow the "share" suggestion. If you’re new to the Orion’s Arm scenario we suggest starting with our introductory material found at the Welcome page in order to get up to speed.