2020 Short Fiction Contest

Better Futures: Interspecies Interaction

First Prize – $1,000 | Second Prize – $500 | Third Prize – $300

Sapiens Plurum and the Future of Life Institute conduct an annual short-fiction contest, opening on Earth Day of each year. The purpose of the contest is to entice authors to conceive of the future in terms of desirable outcomes, and imagine how we might get there.

SUBMISSIONS OPEN: APRIL 22 – JUNE 9, 2020

How can technology increase empathy and connection? The news today is full of examples of technology creating dissension and amplifying differences. We ask authors to imagine ways that technology can improve how we relate to each other and bring us closer, even across species. We welcome stories that view life from another species’ point of view and/or explore empathy between different forms of life. This Ted Talk helped inspire the theme for this contest.

Other things to consider as you write your story:

Let the reader see this future world through your eyes. Let us see how people — whatever that means — try to live in harmony with the natural world and society, how they maintain their own health and happiness, how they overcome challenges. But most of all, tell a good story, with characters we care about, setting, conflict, and resolution.

Your story should be consonant with the Sapiens Plurum mission: “Our mission is to inspire us — the first species that can intentionally impact its own evolution — to aspire beyond what was humanly possible,” and the Future of Life mission: “To catalyze and support research and initiatives for safeguarding life and developing optimistic visions of the future, including positive ways for humanity to steer its own course considering new technologies and challenges.”

READ WINNERS for last year’s contest.