We have 10 finalists!
The Quantum Shorts 2019 flash fiction competition has its ten finalists! The UK National Quantum Technologies Programme through its Quantum City stakeholders was a scientific partner and we are thrilled to announce the shortlisted entries from the hundreds of stories that came from writers all around the world.
The quantum short stories are no longer than 1000 words and contain the phrase “things used to be so simple”. The shortlist contains ten stories, chosen from 647 total submissions – an unprecedented number of entries. The organisers' appreciation goes out to all the writers who participated so enthusiastically.
The shortlisting judges, drawn from the competition’s scientific partners, had high praise for the stories this year. John Donohue at the Institute for Quantum Computing in Waterloo, Canada, found them “occasionally terrifying, occasionally beautiful, and always evocative”, while Georgia Mortzou at the UK Quantum Communications Hub found “the standard very high, the concepts original and the allusions to alternative worlds and freedom to roam multi-universes strangely beguiling in these challenging times!" ”. Spiros Michalakis, a quantum physicist and outreach manager at the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter at Caltech called the stories “fantastic” and “scientifically nuanced”.
The ten shortlisted stories are, in alphabetical order:
- (Tunnels)x <https://shorts.quantumlah.org/entry/tunnelsx> – In this intriguing tale by Gunnar De Winter, quantum tunnelling might help us escape our ultimate fate.
- Collateral Damage <https://shorts.quantumlah.org/entry/collateral-damage> – Simulations of war take a more terrifying turn in Lewis Freer’s story about unintended consequences of technology.
- Connection Lost <https://shorts.quantumlah.org/entry/connection-lost> – Anjelica Grey explores the complexities of love and loss in her take on many-worlds and quantum entanglement.
- Does a Particle Collider Have a Heart? <https://shorts.quantumlah.org/entry/does-particle-collider-have-heart> – This is a tale of how that which we care for might come to care for us by Emma Marcos.
- Entangled Servitude <https://shorts.quantumlah.org/entry/entangled-servitude> – Tom Middlebrook’s story is a witty take on quantum entanglement.
- Entanglement <https://shorts.quantumlah.org/entry/entanglement-8> – In this love story by Annie Tupek, matchmaking gets a quantum spin.
- Fine Print <https://shorts.quantumlah.org/entry/fine-print> – C R Long's short story about alternate dimensions magnifies the importance of reading the small print in your contract.
- Shinichi’s Tricycle <https://shorts.quantumlah.org/entry/shinichis-tricycle> – Ariadne Blayde subtly pulls disparate characters together in a story of possibilities.
- Special Exhibition <https://shorts.quantumlah.org/entry/special-exhibition> – Step into history with an exhibition on a quantum-inspired interstellar pandemic, curated by Griffin Ayaz Tyree.
- The Collapse <https://shorts.quantumlah.org/entry/collapse-0> – Meg Sipos has an edgy take on alternate realities and multiple selves.
Congratulations to the shortlisted writers! They have won a USD $100 shortlist award and a one-year digital subscription to Scientific American – as well as the chance to win even more awards as their stories head into the final judging.
Have a favourite story? You can help one of the shortlisted authors get more reward for their story. We invite you to take part and pick your favourite short story for the People’s Choice Prize. Voting is open from now <https://shorts.quantumlah.org/vote> till 11:59 PM GMT on Monday, 18 May 2020.
You might find picking your favourite a difficult task. The shortlisting panel certainly did. Five stories in particular were given an honourable mention. These stories were among the favourites of some of the judges but did not make the shortlist. They are A Quantum Tale by Jerome Edward Malenfant <https://shorts.quantumlah.org/entry/quantum-tale>; Entangled by Medardo M Manrique Jr <https://shorts.quantumlah.org/entry/entangled-5>; External Memo SPTI672 by Krati Shukla <https://shorts.quantumlah.org/entry/external-memo-spti672>; It takes two to entangle by D. A. Quiñones <https://shorts.quantumlah.org/entry/it-takes-two-entangle> and The Mysteries of Quantum Mechanics’ Charges by Lee Paul Melling. < https://shorts.quantumlah.org/entry/mysteries-quantum-mechanics%E2%80%99-charges>
We’ll give the final word about the stories this year to our Quantum City partner Andrew Hanson at the UK's National Physical Laboratory (NPL): “They were a very welcome escape from a world that has suddenly become very sci-fi. It was warming how the authors used abstract, odd, perhaps even obscure building blocks to make something beautiful, coherent, witty and relevant.”
The organisers thank all authors for their participation and wish the shortlisted authors all the best as their stories head into the final judging.
Don't forget to vote for your favourite out of the shortlist!