Sci-fi competition about to be judged

April 22, 2003

Paris, 18 Apr 2003

Altogether 120 entries from all over the globe have been received for the science fiction story-writing competition announced by ESA last November. The Clarke-Bradbury International Science Fiction Competition is named after two writers whose stranger-than-fiction ideas have sometimes become fact.

David Raitt, of ESA's Technology Transfer and Promotion Office, says "ESA launched this competition to try and attract younger people to science and technology. Besides being fun and encouraging people to contribute creative ideas, the competition also raises awareness about Europe's space programme".

Entries have been received from 36 countries in Africa, Asia, Australasia, South America, North America and, of course, Europe. An international jury is now at work judging the entries using four criteria:

imagination – innovative ideas and the ability to think 'outside the box'

technology – convincing use of technology in the story

structure – development of storyline, plot and characters

skills – style, clarity of expression and degree of realism

Raitt is one of the jurors and reports: "it is amazing the imagination shown by the writers, who are often very young. I have just started reading the stories and am really enjoying them."

The winning entry will be presented at the 54th International Astronautical Federation Congress, to be held in Bremen, Germany in October. All finalists will also receive autographed copies of books written by Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury, whose work has inspired writers and scientists alike.

After the competition ESA is hoping to publish a book containing the best and most interesting stories, illustrated with material from its own archives as well as that of the Maison d'Ailleurs, the museum of science fiction, utopia and extraordinary journeys, and one of the competition's organisers.

European Space Agency

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