You’ve got to speculate to accumulate

Small publishers and self-publishers more or less own the speculative literature genre, having seized the initiative particularly in science fiction from traditional publishers who somehow couldn’t see that SF, fantasy, etc was wildly popular with a massive readership that was not getting enough books.

If you’re a writer who’s into science fiction, fantasy, horror, or anything in-between or even unclassifiable, then you could be in a with a chance of winning $1,300 (£800) in the Albedo Aeon Short Fiction Contest that’s open for another couple of months.

Albedo One is an Irish magazine published in print and online which publishes mainly science fiction, fantasy and horror, and the Aeon prize has been running annually since 2004. There is no entry restriction on nationality or location.

The grand prize is €1,000 and publication in Albedo One, while second and third place  prizes are €200 and €100 as well as publication in Albedo One. The contest is open to entries until November 30.

There is a stellar panel of three judges, comprising:

  • Highly regarded SF author Ian Watson, author of many books, including one of my favorites, The Jonah Kit, and also screenwriter on AI (Artificial Intelligence).

  • Todd McCaffrey, who has co-written the Dragonriders of Pern fantasy series with his mother, Anne McCaffrey.

  • Michael Carroll, author of the Quantum Prophecy (New Heroes) superhero books.

Your story should be science fiction, fantasy, horror, or other speculative genre, with a maximum length of 10,000 words and not previously published.

You don’t need to mess around with attaching files as you simply paste your story into the body of an email with your contact details and send it to with “Aeon Award Submission” as the subject of the email.

I don’t usually mention writing contests that charge an entry fee, although I understand why many organisations make a charge and how it can help worthy publications keep operating, but the Albedo entry fee is only €7.50, which works out at around $10 or £6, whereas many contests can charge a hefty $30 or $40 (£25). Albedo say they’ve kept the entry fee as low as they feasibly can, somebody’s got to read the entries after all, and it is a great judging panel. You can pay the fee by Paypal, so it should be quick and easy.

Stories shortlisted for the Aeon Award in previous years have picked up a lot of attention and some have been reprinted in Year’s Best anthologies by top editors in the genres of science fiction, fantasy and horror.

You can get more details on the contest at Albedo One, pay the entry fee at Albedo One and you can buy the current issue of the excellent magazine or back issues at the Albedo One Shop for a very reasonable €4.

Albedo, by the way, is a measure of the reflectivity of the earth’s surface, in case you were wondering.