Monthly Archives: February 2012

The 2011-2012 Reading Period is Now Officially Closed

The 2011-2012 Friends of the Merril Short Story Contest reading period is now officially closed.

Before anything else, thank you, more than we can properly say, to everyone who has listed, talked about, promoted, tweeted, retweeted, blogged, entered submissions, or otherwise aided this contest. Given that we’ve been running this contest in support of the Merril Collection, it’s wonderful to see that so many of you have been willing to help promote North America’s foremost public access, non-circulating collection of speculation, science fiction and fantasy material (both fiction and non-fiction).

We’ll be thanking some of you personally in the days to come, but for everyone we don’t get a chance to thank personally, please know that it means no less to us that you were willing to lend your time, your support (financial and more ephemeral), and your good wishes.

So, that said, now we enter the final stretch of logging under the wire entries, and keeping an eye out for physical submissions still coming across the transom – anything postmarked Feb. 15th or earlier is eligible, so if you sent a physical sub and haven’t heard from us yet, don’t fear, we’ll get it and we’ll let you know we received it.

As stated in our Contest Rules, we’ll be announcing  our decisions on the nine finalist entries on March 1st. We’ll post up the titles of those entries on the website, and send our final panel judges the entries at the same time. We will send you notification (via e-mail) if you are one of the finalists. If you wish to blog, brag, or otherwise crow for joy on this point, you are absolutely welcome to do so.

However, we would ask that you please refrain from letting people know the title of your story if you’re going to do so, in order not to unduly influence the Final Panel Judges.

On March 1st we will also be sending out rejections to all the entrants whose stories were not selected as finalists. These decisions are not debatable, though we do sympathize as everyone on the contest staff has been on the receiving end of a rejection. We had intended to send these out in staggered waves to reduce the wait time on receiving a rejection, but the logistics of running a first time contest have made this impossible. We apologize for the wait, and, given what we now know about the process for entries, the slush reading requirements for this type of contest, and other factors, it looks like we’ll be doing things the same way for the 2012-2013 contest.

On a different note, once we’ve assembled all the information from the submissions to the contest, we’re also going to post up some stats from the entries. Things like country/region of origin, gender split, submissions by month, final number of entries. Possibly others. We find it fascinating when magazines and contests (this last much more rarely) do so, and we thought we’d share our own stats once we have them. We’ll likely put that together when we put up the list of finalists, to make sure we’ve accounted for all the physical entries still coming through the mail.

Again, thank you for all your aid, your entries, and above all your patience. Though it seems obvious in the saying, without all of your help, this contest would have been impossible to make work.

As ever, if you have questions concerning anything relating to the contest, please contact Michael Matheson at

Further Updates to the 2011 Can. Spec Fic List for the Auroras

More changes to the list of 2011 Canadian Spec Fic. (see 2011 Can. SF tab above). Additions, obviously, but because the CanadianSF Database uses the ” * ” to allow eligible authors to denote their preferred work for nomination in the Auroras, we decided to adopt their use of the asterisk in order to avoid confusion.

So, henceforth, we will be using ” (*) ” to indicate the work an author would like you to nominate on the Aurora ballot, and we will now be using ” (+) ” to indicate Fan publications. This shift may, admittedly, result in a touch of confusion now, but we’re hoping it makes things clear in the long run – especially later once the voting ballots are distributed and clarity becomes a key concern.

We’ve also added a section for listings under the Fan Organizational category. We originally refrained from listing it as we were back and forth on the idea of moving beyond fiction, but since we’ve also added the Critical Non-Fiction and Artists categories there isn’t really any justification for not going all in at this point.

And, as always, don’t hesitate to send us information about 2011 Canadian Spec Fic work (in all categories) that we don’t have listed yet, or that we have listed incorrectly. You can do so by using the Comments field (of the 2011 Can. SF page), e-mailing it to us (at or by giving us a heads-up on Twitter (@fomcontest). And if you can include a link to where that information is available (free to read, at Amazon, the publisher’s site, etc.), we’ll put that in the entry too.

All Roads Lead Home (Two Weeks to the End of the 2011-2012 Reading Period)

We’re now a little less than two weeks away from the close of the 2011-2012 reading period. We won’t be able to take any submissions past midnight (EST) on Feb, 15, 2012, so make sure you get your submissions in before this year’s reading period ends.

We’ve had some fantastic submissions so far, and seen quite a variety in terms of content and genre. We’ve also had some lovely compliments along the way, and the general consensus seems to be that people are happy to have another contest to submit to, and are more than happy to work with us for what we all agree is an excellent cause.

We’ve held off sending out rejections, both because of our slush reading process, and also because we intend to send out rejections and shortlist notifications at the same time, once we’ve made our decision as to the nine finalist entries, which we’ll announce at the beginning of March – ideally on the 1st.

For now, keep sending your submissions. We are, as always, looking forward to what’s coming in. And thank you again to everyone who has participated, sent good wishes, and helped with promoting the contest.