A new contest for fantasy short stories, the Baen Fantasy Awards

They just put up information about the new Baen Fantasy Awards.

This is a short story contest. All of the details are at this link: http://www.baen.com/baenfantasyaward.asp

I am one of the judges. No. Don’t try to suck up. I won’t see any of the writer’s names. πŸ™‚

What we want to see: Adventure fantasy with heroes you want to root for. Warriors either modern or medieval, who solve problems with their wits or with their sword–and we have nothing against dragons, elves, dwarves, castles under siege, urban fantasy, damsels in distress, or damsels who can’t be bothered to be distressed.

What we don’t want to see: Political drama with no action, angst-ridden teens pining over vampire lovers, religious allegory, novel segments, your gaming adventure transcript, anything set in any universe not your own, β€œit was all a dream” endings, or screenplays.

The winners will be honored at GenCon.

John Brown spills the beans on the International Lord of Hate!
And now the Hugo Controversy makes the Washingon Post

113 thoughts on “A new contest for fantasy short stories, the Baen Fantasy Awards”

      1. Ironically if the WOT author did compress it from that huge never ending series, to a 3 book trilogy, it would have been a much better book. I never bought a sci fi series before where it took so many books to provide so little permanent advancement in the charachters or the plot.

  1. So, two months to write something. Far from impossible. Didn’t have it on my radar, so I might not have appropriate ideas ready to go, but those are the easy part. I shall see.

    Best of luck and hard work to all entrants.

  2. Well, according to the Usual Suspects on Twitter (Walter, Leckie, Hurley) who attempting to mock the awards with the BaenAwardStory hashtag, Baen Books promotes:

    1.) Anti-vaccineism.
    2.) Polygamy.
    3.) Religous genocide.

    I don’t think they’ve actually read anything from Baen, have they?

    Me, I’m preparing my story.

    1. Hines is suddenly worried about “good people are getting smeared by association.”

      That’s what your witchburning Stalinist buddies do, Jim, and you’ve been egging them on. It’s too late now. If you try to back down you’ll be the next one they eat alive.

      1. With the exception of Hines, most of these folks seem to be hovering around the 1 million sales rank on Amazon. One is sitting at a blazing 135,000, though.

      2. Hines doesn’t mind promoting the smear of 200 million Americans using demonization theories like “white privilege,” which is a theory specifically refined and promoted by morons who don’t like white heterosexual men. It’s the moral version of the Bell Curve, and surprisingly, whites, men, and heterosexuals don’t fare well when it comes to a moral I.Q. Imagine dat coincidence.

        If Hines and his weird cis-normative science dried up and blew away, the SFF community would be all the better for it, as his blog tends to be a central clearing house of gripe and hokum from a pack of hounds with very weird issues and probably more than their share of psychotropic meds.

        Say anything about it and they drag out straw men about white men feeling oppressed. I don’t feel oppressed. I just don’t like bigots who profile me negatively who don’t even know I exist other than by my skin and sex. The difference between them and I is they are on an aggressive offensive against tens of millions of people with no names. I am defending myself from specific individuals with specific names. What’s lost on these morons is that you can’t prosecute people based on your group defamation of them unless you go back to Nazi Germany. But outside first amendment America, you can prosecute people for group defamation. No light bulbs go off there, cuz the PC are unfair witchhunting idiot racists with the brains of stick insects.

        However, even outside of law, you can obviously ban people for group defamation based on cultural custom and practice. Fine. I can think of a lot of people in SFF who should be treated just like Clippers owner David Sterling for the exact same reasons. Ditch the witchhunting morons and it’ll be about SFF again, not NOW, GLAAD, the U.N. and the NAACP. The fact the PC don’t see how weird it is to constantly drag that stuff into SFF and are too stupid to recognize their own smell doesn’t faze me one bit. The PC don’t have a principle to stand on because they have no principles. They literally use photos to decide right from wrong, good literature from bad.

        Excuse me if I don’t feel sorry for the Inquisition and their empty photos of WorldCon chairs with too many whites AKA a Klan rally AKA “serious problems” in SFF. Too many blacks in boxing? Nope. What does that tell you what this is really about and where it originated?

        Also, what can you say about the paranoia that stipulates a white supremacy led by a black President and the highest law enforcement officer in the country also being black? Don’t worry, the PC take their meds and have excuses for that – trust me – I’ve read them.

    2. There also seems to be some intention of trolling the contest with their idea of what Baen might want. The place of honor for The Eye of Argon may soon be challenged.

      Also, alphabetizing Marion Zimmer Bradley under β€œZ” is bad, even worse than putting Patrick or Teresa Nielsen Hayden under β€œH”.

      1. We should encourage Andrew Marston to enter the contest. It couldn’t been worse than Naked Came I.

        1. The al-Ghardian calumnist (not a typo) whom Larry fisked two weeks ago is already on the case.

          If you really want Andrew to enter, have Vox promote the contest.

  3. Dammit, this is going to throw my production schedule off. No help for it, though, I’ll just have to make the time for it.

  4. This sounds awesome. I’ll have to try and see if I can get something out of there. Not surprised that we’re already hearing about people bashing them.

  5. I am so there. Not that I have a story ready to go because everything I have of the proper length is out looking for a home right now. But I’m sure that something will either come back (unless they don’t–haha), or I can write something new tailor-made for this.

  6. I was joking about the gaming transcript… not joking now, though. It’s been years and years since I’ve submitted anything and I’ve never done an electronic submission so I just want to check if “standard manuscript format” is the same as ever or if it has changed? What is an RTF attachment? Is it something different than just opening your mail program and attaching a Word file?

    Anyhow, the last time I mailed paper “manuscript format” was:
    1) double spaced
    2) 12 point Courier New (or other non-proportional font)
    3) one inch margins
    4) “title/last name/page number” in a header, upper right every page
    5) contact info, Title and Author, and word count on the title page.

    If that’s close enough for horseshoes it’s easy enough to take the contact info off the title page and author name out of the header.

      1. Rich Text Format. A file type *.rtf
        It’s more compact than *.doc files, keeps formatting, and doesn’t allow macros (which can be a major virus vulnerability).
        It has some advantages over most other common document formats for marking up text.
        It was developed by MicroSoft, so if you’re using a Word or Works variant, it should automatically be a “save as” option.

    1. RTF is the default WordPad file. Lucky me, I’ve already switched to that for writing shorts. Thank you for the information on manuscript format.

      Questions: What kind of font is Arial?

      I take it that the stuff on the title page is centered?

      1. Caution! I don’t know if what I know about manuscript format is *current*… which is why I was asking. So hopefully someone else will confirm.

        1. I’m just reading the stories to see if they are awesome or not. You’re asking the wrong guy. πŸ™‚

      2. Proportional means that the letter spacing is adjusted according to the characters (for instance, the letter ‘i’ will take up less space than an ‘m’ in a proportional font).

        In non-proportional fonts (also called monospaced), each letter is the same width.

        Serif and sans serif refer to those little decorative flourishes that are added to ends of the letter strokes. Serif has ’em, sans serif doesn’t.

        Arial is a proportional font sans-serif font. Courier New is a monospaced (non-proportional) serif font.

        Mac and Windows both come with Courier New, so why not give them what they ask for? It can’t hurt your chances to do that, while giving them something else might.

      3. SBP, Baen is asking for “standard manuscript format,” which likely means they want Courier or Courier New. Synova’s info deals with the basics of the rest. Google Brad Torgersen and “standard manuscript format.” He has posts about it that also links to other stuff.

    2. Baen’s manuscript guidelines can be found at:

      Near the bottom, the following can be found:

      [quote]Hardcopy Submissions: (for those who cannot submit electronically)

      Standard manuscript format only: double-spaced, one side of the page only, 1 1/2″ margins on all four sides of the page. We will consider photocopies if they are dark and clear.

      Font must be readable, or we won’t read it. This means seriphed or at least semi-seriphed, 12-point or greater. Publisher likes CG Omega and Lucida Bright. Typesetter likes any standard bookface, Times Roman or Courier. [/quote]

      I would guess that similar guidance would apply to the contest.

    1. I think so, but once again, asking the wrong guy. I’m just reading them to see if they’re good or not. πŸ™‚

  7. “I love that the lucky prize is that you get published. and get paid to be published. that’s…yeah I have no comment on that.”

    I’m honestly at a loss as to why this is seen as somehow ‘unworthy.’ What would you rather have:

    A) A plaque that says ‘Winner’ with your name and the date

    B)your work published on a major publisher’s website and a check?

    Seems like a no-brainer to me.

    1. They are probably realizing that winning the grand prize might not count as one of the three qualifying works for joining the SFWA.

      The poor winner would be so disappointed. =)

    2. Heh, according to the contest page you get ‘all of the above’ in a way:

      The author will also receive an handsome engraved award

      I kinda got more excited about the fact it’s a contest anyone could join. Then I got excited because I got a story plot soon after. I didn’t realize till much later you got more than just being honored at the GenCon Writer’s Symposium.

      The second and third prize winners get awesome stuff too. BOOKS!

  8. “no one’s non-cis protag will be treated fairly judging by LC’s treatment of ADM (Alex Binary MacFarlane) by misgendering.” – criticism of Baen contest and Correia as a judge by one of the mad hatters of PC.

    So watch your gender “P’s” and “Q’s” or whatever. Who can figure out that rat’s nest of rules?

    1. My heroine is a lesbian. I mean, there’s no way to tell that she’s *not* a lesbian, so she may as well be one.

      Sort of like Dumbledore.

  9. OT, but funny. The impoverished heroes of the proletariat over at Making Light have taken a break from the hellish Solzhenitsynesque struggle that is their daily life (hey, Solzhenitsyn totally had a nice office in Manhattan and a Twitter account, right?) to swap arugula recipes.


  10. The criticism is so bizarre.

    legionseagle ‏@legionseagle 4h
    @jimchines “Heroes you want to root for” vs “damsels in distress”. None of your female protags with agency, no siree! @mme_hardy

    God forbid they read the next bit, “damsels who can’t be bothered to be distressed.” Like with the 2A, these folks have always had problems with commas.

    Amal El-Mohtar ‏@tithenai 12h

    Does anyone else think it’s hilarious that they alphabetised MZB’s name under Z so that Correia’s would be first? http://www.baen.com/baenfantasyaward.asp …

    There is no winning with that. Zimmer was her maiden name, Bradley was her married name. Her middle name is Eleanor. You alphabetize it by her married name, you are supporting the patriarchy. You alphabetize it by her maiden name, you are putting the International Lord of Hate first on the list, which is unforgiveable.

    1. El-Mohtar is another one who never ceases recommending books by people who are non-white or women, while acting like she lives in a culture where a white patriarchy does the same thing, which it doesn’t.

      Top of her Twitter feed is joking that typically stupid white racists mistake her for Saladin Ahmed, flogging the pitiful table of contents for the Women Destroy Science Fiction Kickstarter, celebrating stunning A. C. Clarke win no one expected of gender-bending Ann Leckie novel Ancillary Justice, flogging 7th century bi-sexual non-SFF novel Hild, and transgender Matrix director Lana Wachowski “incredibly moving speech.”

      These people never disappoint – never.

      Reading one Twitter feed of these PC folks is like reading them all. It’s like the droning of an insect. Please don’t wonder any longer why Ancillary Justice in being nominated. The idea these folks are simply nominating work using anything other than photos is laughable. The PC say “diversity” doesn’t lower the quality of work, but the way they stack the deck, that’s exactly what it does. They have as much of a dispassionate interest in art as a donkey does. Attach these people to the idea of creating something like a Constitution and realize they have zero ability or interest in creating or maintaining a thing like that. And QUILTBAG intersectional? Natch.

      1. Every year, I nominate stuff based on my opinion of the quality of the writing, and I don’t look at any photos of the authors beforehand. And that includes ‘Ancillary Justice’. The reason I looked at it in the first place was “oh, that sounds like a really cool idea”, and the quality of the writing convinced me that it was worth a nomination.

        Am I laughable?

        re el-Mohtar — uh, am I missing something? Are recommendations zero sum? When she recommends a leftist book, does that take a recommendation away from a better, right-wing book?

        Oh, and on a completely irrelevant point, something I found on a random swim through Wikipedia:

        the coat of arms of the House of Correia features a bloody severed head (that of Muqrin ibn Zamil, who Correia defeated in battle).

  11. If Baen starts a SF award, let me be the first to recommend Larry Niven and Greg Benford for Shipstar. Throbbing, rock-hard science, a Ringworld-level civilization in its prime solving problems and chasing opportunities, a space battle or two, a tastily Tuckerized Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Greg Benford’s friend Freeman Dyson giving help, enough strange alien races to provoke speciesism, mineralphages looking down on vegans for their cruelty to plants, wise old dinosaur villains in touch with their subconscious souls. And his sentences are short.

  12. “You know, one of the most telling things about the Baen contest is that it IS a contest. nothing more.” What ‘more’ are they expecting, exactly?

    There are also a lot of smug and knowing comments abut the ‘timing’ of the contest. Apparently that serves as proof of…something or other, I don’t know.

    1. If any other publisher announced this, they wouldn’t have even noticed. Only Baen gets treated like this.

  13. Thanks for the pointer!

    It’s amazing to me that the SJW are having a snit-fit over this. Sadly, I can’t say I’m surprised. But you kind of have to feel sorry for the hate-withered souls. They’re choosing to make themselves miserable.
    Maybe one day, they’ll outgrow their self-loathing, and stop projecting it onto the rest of us.

  14. Question about the rules?

    If I have published a story only on the internet, and given it away as a free sample of my work, can I still submit it, or does that count as a ‘reprint’?

    1. John C Wright is thinking of entering?

      Damnit, means i gotta dust of the A game to have a shot…

      Was hopping to slum my way with a B-


  15. It seems I have a story to write. Since I may be competing with the majestic and incomparable John Wright, I’ll spend the next month in seclusion at a Cistercian monastery in the Alps, there to meditate deeply upon the art and song of God, the craft of angels and skalds, before finally taking up a pen carved from the bone of a saint to ink my story from the well of my heart’s blood.

    I recommend wearing gloves while you read it.

  16. I actually lean more towards stories with anti-heroes like Joe Abercrombie writes. I also like stories with more ‘regular’ people type. Daniel Abraham got me interested in these kinds of characters.
    Most of us are regular people. We are interesting too. Daniel Abraham is a small time author. I highly recommend him. He makes regular guys like most of us interesting. You may know his pen name from his Expanse Sci-Fi series (James SA Corey).

    I have read alot of SF/F over the years and like many long time readers, I can quickly tell if I have seen something like this before. My tastes are generally more towards edgier characters with issues. I find them more interesting than the generic Aragorn hero type. Give me a bi-polar guy with anger issues who has bed wetting issues over this archetype. Its more interesting.

    Short Stories are interesting and different from novels because good short stories writers do a lot of weird stuff that doesn’t work in a long form novel. These kinds of things are interesting in small chunks, but its not really interesting over 500 pages.

    as an fyi… my tastes in reading are totally separate from any political bent. Like many people, dude I have seen enough goblins.

    1. I’m reading an Abercrombie book now (Blade Itself). He’s an excellent writer. I’ve heard nothing but good about Abraham’s stuff but haven’t read it yet. The guys over at EBR think they both walk on water.

      My attempt at an anti-hero character is Lorenzo from Dead Six and Swords of Exodus. He’s such a jerk. I love writing that guy. πŸ™‚

      1. I have not read that one by you yet. I’m going to check it out. The ending to the 3rd Abercrombie book has the best battle scene I ever read.

        The James SA Corey Corey Expanse books by Abraham and Ty Franck (George RR Martins assistant) got picked up as a TV series by SyFy. I hope its good. There TV shows have not been that good lately.

      2. Best Served Cold is the single most badass fantasy novel of all time. Abercrombie gets better with each book… and he seems like a pretty cool guy too.

        Also, I wouldn’t call Abraham small time… He does have TV deal with Fox.

  17. Larry, I can’t wait to submit my message fic about a transgendered outcast trying to come to terms with his/her sexuality in a patriarchal hegemonic society. I think you will really love the secondary plot of the hero trying to save a rain forest from evil cisgendered industrialists trying to exploit mother earth for their own greed. Oh, and there are swords, but not too many because arms control or something. And elves (the environmentalists of course).

    I’m sure you can’t wait to read it.

    1. Jim Butcher taught a fantasy class. He told his student that ideas are cheap, the execution of the idea is what matters. He told th em that a good author can take any idea and make it a quality novel. So the student told him to write a novel about the roman empire and pokemon. This became his best seller series called the Codex Allera.

      Jason the story you listed about could be done very well and be very entertaining. All ideas can be developed well. All good ideas can be developed poorly.

  18. I’m going to write about my D&D adventure where my angsty teenager character fell in love with a vampire she couldn’t be with because they’re politicians on different sides of a hotly debated bill that’s really an allegory for the Parable of the three servants in the World of Warcraft verse but then my character wakes up at the end and realizes it was all just a dream.

    But really, I actually have an idea for this one! I will start writing today!

    1. Hey now, if it ends with a zombie Iceman Kulinski killing said character it might not be that bad.

  19. “Since I may be competing with the majestic and incomparable John Wright”

    Wow! That sounds like a great guy. And with the same first and last name as me! Please introduce me to him. The only John Wright I know is an overweight goof with an outrageous white beard like a silent explosion of frightened hair, who wears a black hat and a trenchcoat like some comic opera villain, and carries a swordcane, and he grimaces and sneers and hollers at Yankees and scalawags and fawns on his wife. Think of Brian Blessed, but louder.

    1. That doesn’t sound majestic and incomparable’ but he still sounds like a pretty alright kinda guy. I’ve been wearing a trenchcoat myself lately because St. Paul has replaced never ending snow with never ending rain.

      1. Do you mean St Paul the city or St Paul the saint? Is he the patron saint in charge of sending never ending rain? I thought that was St Barbara. St Paul is the patron of tentmakers.

      1. Ah, my friend, I think you are confusing ‘pompous’ with ‘cool’. Cool is something our friend the Doctor has in copious amounts. Pompous is something I have. It is not a good thing, but it makes small children laugh.

        (So let me add up my character sheet. Negative 350 points for general wrightishness, another negative 50 not being able to add, another 20 for being a lawyer, 100 for being a jackass atheist, another 100 for being a jackass Catholic, minus 10 more for having two mutually exclusive and contradictory dis-ads, plus 4 for having Aunt May as a dependent NPC, with the excess body hair advantage …. and now 10 cool points from Dave for the hat and swordstick … I think I have enough to buy the amazing power of putting people to sleep with lectures about economics and Thomism..)

        Dave — do I get any points for losing a Nebula award to Joe Haldeman? I mean, he is JOE FREAKING HALDEMAN ferpeteesake! Not everyone can boast about losing an award to him! (actually, let me check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nebula_Award_for_Best_Novel) In fact the only people who can boast about losing to Joe Haldeman are Susanna Clarke, Jack McDevitt, Terry Pratchett, Geoff Ryman, and Me!

        Oh, and also Catherine Asaro, Jack McDevitt (twice), Harry Turtledove, Martha Wells, Connie Willis, Arthur Byron Cover, Tanith Lee, Alfred Bester, Samuel R. Delany, Roger Zelazny, Ian Watson.

        Gee, never mind. More people lose the Nebula Award to Joe Haldeman than any to other writer but one: than Ursula K LeGuin.

      1. Excellent! If they are cowed, and flee from the contest with eccentric jerks of their elbows and knees, whimpering, my chances of victory increase by a microscopic but real percentage!

  20. I think he keeps a blog. . .the URL is something like syfywright.com. I believe he also sports a beard (the coincidences mount!) which makes my clean-shaven chin prickle with envy.

  21. Aww… I was going to own this contest. I forget that there are ‘people’ with ‘talent’ and ‘skill’ who are going to ‘pwn’ me.

    Oh well. If I can muscle my way up to third place, I can maybe score the other two Grimnoire novels…

    1. Keep in mind that the consolation prize for ‘almost, but not quite, good enough to win’ is that Toni(Long May She Publish!) just took notice of you.

  22. Plot: PoC Little Rainbow Riding Hood with goggles and a limp who also suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome scouring the Straight White Forest with a giant sentient sword named “Privilege” and a steampunk flamethrower looking for colonialist wolf puppies in their dens like the Marines on Iwo Jima.

    “My, what a big cave you have – need a light motherf**kers? Woooossh!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!! Historically inaccurate retro/preemptive payback’s a bitch with goggles and her faithful non-cishet sword ‘Privilege’!” declares Little Rainbow Riding Hood who then mounts her sword and after two hours they leave and ride into town for some unsweetened organic apple cider, lactose-free yak cheese from culturally appropriated far-off Nepal and wolf embryos baked into a pie. “Come, Privilege – we have other wolves to fry. Hahahahaha.”

    I declare this a winner. No smelling salts accompanies this TRIGGER WARNING for violence, guns, knives, razors, guts, blood, embryos, white men, men, whites, cis-people, fire, destruction, gender binaries, bits of brain, sword sex, normal sex, married men and women, normal people, law, crackas, sour dough-faces, less-safer-spaces, lamentations of feminists, lemonade stands, happy people, sunny days, shoot-outs, chopping, intestines, pre-psychotropic prescription Europe, panic attacks, ableisms, retards, donkeys, Xanix, hunchbacked monkeys, dirt, filth, flying buttresses, reality, vampirism, blimps, migraine headaches, blurred vision, burnt witch sandwiches, glitter pies, pre-teen girl geniuses, Western Civilization, insufficient diversity and hideous dwarves allergic to peanuts.

    1. argh! You said “Normal” in your trigger warning! I needed a trigger warning for that word! you should have said “Cis”.

      Oh, but Cis MEANS Normal, I think I need a trigger warning for that too before I melt into a puddle of emotionally-harmed human wreckage.

      1. Yeah. Cue Mr. Standlee. The fact that guy and his clownish views about Cis-King Kong was once associated with the Hugos tells you why the Hugos have taken a self-dump into trigger warning-city.

        NOoooooooo!!! Not a television comedian!!! Stand back – back I say!! Ohhhhhhhhh why-oh-why-oh-why. I thought I was safe and that people liked my enormous cis-carcass and bi-cis-bi-cis-normative fiction about cis-blimps and morlock cis peeeoooople. Hisssssssssssssss!!!!

  23. This is going to be an awesome contest. Can’t wait to read the winners.

    The way the guidelines look, it just has to be adventure, heroism, and fantasy (of course, also has to be a good story). So anti-heroes work, non-human heroes are fine, whatever tells a good story.

    Bonus points if it makes the reader want to get up our of his chair and cheer. Triple bonus points if he actually does it when he reads it the first time in public and gets all sorts of weird looks for saying “F*ck yeah!” in some random place.

    I’d read the hell out a story like that. Hope this becomes a reoccurring thing.

  24. In addition to the other things you specified you did not want, you also should have mentioned not wanting something that could have been a Halequin Romance if you take out the swords and the elves.

    1. You also might want to ban stories supporting the glories of socialism and central planning.

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