Canopus Award for Interstellar Writing

Often, the stories of science fiction began with the simple question, "What if?" Science fiction challenges us to look beyond the world in front of us, to imagine what could be, and envision distant worlds and removed realities. These tales have inspired both scientists and engineers towards discovery, invention, and exploration, and in so doing, transformed our very world.

The 100YSS Canopus Award is awarded annually to the writers of the most distinguished publication with a primary component of interstellar exploration or travel in each of the key categories. We will be honoring previously professionally published works in these two categories: novel (long-form) and short fiction writing. We will also be holding a contest and honoring original, unpublished, themed works in these two categories: short fiction and short non-fiction on the Symposium's theme (the 2015 theme is "Finding Earth 2.0"). The Canopus Awards are given to authors for outstanding inspirational and education contributions in order to promote the dream and goal of interstellar exploration. Our purpose is to encourage the artistic expression of the interstellar exploration via literature and graphic arts, including fiction, non-fiction, and ultimately, visual storytelling, and interactive storytelling. As well, the inaugural award will be presented at the 100 Year Starship Public Symposium 2015 held in Santa Clara, California.

100 Year Starship exists to make the capability of human travel beyond our solar system a reality within the next 100 years. We are dedicated to identifying and pushing the radical leaps in knowledge and technology to achieve interstellar flight, while pioneering and transforming breakthrough applications that enhance the quality of life for all on Earth. We actively seek to include the broadest swath of people and human experience in understanding, shaping and implementing this global aspiration. The 100YSS Canopus Award is given to celebrate non-fiction and fiction which explores these same challenges and goals.

The project has three aspects to the year-long endeavor:

  • Contest Categories: Submissions will be accepted in short fiction and short non-fiction categories on the 2015 Public Symposium theme "Finding Earth 2.0".
  • Award Categories: Nominations will be accepted in long and short form fiction.
  • An Award Recognition Event: Winners announced and recognized at the 100 Year Starship 2015 Symposium. Winners will receive the physical Canopus Award as well as a Professional 100 Year Starship Membership and other prizes.

Our published fiction award selection has two stages:

  • Open nomination. The public can nominate works via this link (https://100yss.wufoo.com/forms/the-100yss-canopus-award/ )
  • The open period for nominations is July 25, 2015 through August 31, 2015.
  • Final judging. A judging panel selected of scientists, writers, cultural influencers, and experts will vote on the final winner in each of the two categories.

Our original short fiction and non-fiction selection has two stages:

  • Open nomination. The public can submit works via this link (https://100yss.wufoo.com/forms/the-100yss-canopus-award/ )
  • The open period for nominations is July 25, 2015 through September 14, 2015.
  • Review and finalists determination. The 100 Year Starship staff will review all submissions and a list of the best five in each of the two categories (short fiction and short non-fiction). This determination period will last from September 19, 2015 through October 12, 2015.
  • Final judging. A judging panel selected of scientists, writers, cultural influencers, and experts will vote on the final winner in each of the two original submission categories.

The Award will be given in following four categories:

  • Long-form Fiction (Novel length - over 40,000 words - previously professionally published)
  • Short-form Fiction (Short Story, Flash Fiction - 1,000 to 40,000 words - previously professionally published)
  • Original Short-form Fiction (1,000 to 5,000 words - on the theme "Finding Earth be original and NOT previously published - on the theme "Finding Earth 2.0")
  • Original Short-form Nonfiction (1,000 to 5,000 words - must be original and NOT previously published - on the theme "Finding Earth 2.0")

Additional criteria to note:

  • The award is not restricted to writers who are citizens or residents of the United States, however, works must be published in English.
  • Identification of a "distinguished publication" focuses on
    • Excellence of execution
    • Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures;
  • Excellence of presentation of the concept of interstellar exploration or travel
  • The works must be original, meet established standards of quality writing, and have a significant component of interstellar exploration, research, and/or travel with a focus on pushing radical leaps in knowledge and technology while pioneering and transforming breakthrough applications that enhance the quality of life for all on Earth.
  • The works are also encouraged to focus on the pillars of 100 Year Starship's mission: Audacious, Resilience, Inclusion, Enhancing Quality of Life, Discipline, Energy, and Knowledge.

The award is named after the star Canopus. Canopus is the second brightest star in the night sky. From the Bedouin of the Sinai to the Maori of New Zealand to modern spacecraft, Canopus has been used for navigation through the centuries. Just as Canopus has helped past and modern-day explorers navigate, science fiction will be a guiding point of light in current and future interstellar efforts.

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