Fantasy and Science Fiction - Competition
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November/December 2017
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"Explain a Plot Badly"

For our latest competition, writers had to jump on a Twitter trend and #ExplainAPlotBadly in 140 characters or less. Here's hoping their titles trend. (Thanks to John Ordover for the suggestion.)

Real title: 1984
Plot explained badly: Everyone has cable TV and the fascist government spreads fake news. #33yearslater #MakeOceanaDouble
—Steven Ryan
Encino, CA

Real title: 2001: A Space Odyssey
Plot explained badly: Monolith manipulates monkey, makes men mine moon monolith. Millennium mission makes machine mind meshuggah, murders men, motivates much maturation
—Bill Engfer
Brooklyn, NY

Real title: The Flash (TV series)
Plot explained badly: Iris West's life falls apart when she finally agrees to have sex with her obsessed stepbrother.
—Mark Shainblum
Ottawa, Canada

Real title: The Matrix
Plot explained badly: Coworkers get the new guy to fix the computer.
—Jaiyeson Lanlehin
San Bernardino, CA

Real title: King Kong
Plot explained badly: Ape learns if you fall for a girl, don't do it from the tallest building.
—Robert Osborn
Wonder Lake, IL

Real Title: The Just City
Plot explained badly: Philosophers conclude that the best parenting method is for a god to give you robot servants.
—Ziv Wities

CORRECTION: Our apologies to Cary Ballew-Renfro, whose "Starship Troopers" entry in Competition #93, "True Names," was mistakenly credited to another entrant. Enjoy your prize and thanks for the laugh, Cary. Keep 'em coming.



"Titles the Rearrange"

In an F&SF competition from 1978, "The High in the Castle, Man," editor Edward L. Ferman had competitors transpose words in a title to create something unique and humorous. Here in 2017, we're going a step further:
Take a work of science fiction or fantasy, either in print or on screen, rearrange words in the title, then create the plot based on both the new and original titles.

Back the Empire Strikes
The Empire plans to invade a sub-zero planet with only standard armor. Defend Imperial workers' rights.

You have six entries of fifty words or less to make us laugh. The ones who make us laugh the hardest win a prize.
Important: Put your snail mail address on your entry, or else it gets the hose.

Send entries to Competition Editor, F&SF, 240 West 73rd St. #1201, New York, NY 10023-2794, or email entries to Be sure to include your contact information. Entries must be received by January 15, 2018. Judges are the editors of F&SF, and their decision is final. All entries become the property of F&SF.

First prize will receive a n autographed copy of Above the Timberline by Gregory Manchess (compliments of Saga Press).
Second prize will receive advance reading copies of three forthcoming novels.
Any Honorable Mentions will receive one-year subscriptions to F&SF.
Results of Competition #95 will appear in the May/June 2018 issue.

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