What a fantastic round of stories! The Sci-Fi Horror theme really seems to have resonated with the Wily Writers, and conspired to make the judges' job extremely difficult this time around.
In the end, we chose two stories that exemplify what we love in a SF/horror hybrid--but since we received so many excellent submissions we went ahead and chose eight stories for an unofficial "honorable mention" category as well. These will be mentioned at the same time as the second winner, near the end of April.
Both contest winners featured original, stylish, confident, and compelling writing that hooked us right from the start--but otherwise, the two tales could not be more different.
"TWO THINGS" by Amanda Davis
Ms. Davis summons comparisons to the holy nerd-cool trinity of Neil Gaiman, Douglas Adams, and Terry Pratchett. This witty, gruesome story begins in a deceptively straightforward and lighthearted style, and then the author effortlessly adds a burgeoning undercurrent of dread that pays off beautifully at the end.