June: Theme - Science Fiction

Winning Entry:

I knew I'd forget something in my Planet Creation finals. 'Always provide a maintenance manual,' my tutor said. I was proud of Earth, but I had failed.

By  Juliet Corbett-Jones

The Winner of our July competition, which had the theme of Science Fiction is Juliet Corbett-Jones from Combe  Martin in Devon. Juliet has always lived in North Devon. Although she is now disabled, she tells us how she cherishes her memories of exploring beaches, walking on Exmoor, and sampling the local cream teas. As a writer she enjoys a love/hate relationship with her computer – which, she claims harbours a strong aversion to authority! Juliet has had her work appear in a number of publications including Flair News, People’s Friend, The Lady, The Music Teacher and online at The Story Slot and WriteInvite. She enjoys the challenge of the Txtlit and of cutting a story down to the very core. Having entered the Txtlit competitions several times before she admits to being both amazed and very happy with this, her first win.

Science Fiction as a writing competition theme provides one of the most wide open genres to write within. There are no confines, no rules or laws to stick to. You can create whatever you want, no matter how unlikely it may be in real life. From a Txtlit point of view however, a number of challenges arise. You still need to be creative but because of the limited space in a Txtlit story, there is practically no room for explanation. Everything needs to be told within the story or we can try using a character or subject that is already widely known, to do some of the story telling for us. Juliet Corbett-Jones uses Earth, and more subtly the fragility of the planet; which we are made very aware of from news and stories of drought, famine, extreme weather events and climate change. Juliet manages to distil the potential complexities of her story down to a simple tale in which Earth has been created as the result of an academic exam. By failing to provide the maintenance manual along with the planet however, our protagonist knows that he or she must expect an automatic failure. What we really like about this entry though is that there is an underlying message that Earth won’t last because no-one knows how to look after it. Ie, there is no maintenance manual. So, there is a both a failure in the exam, and potentiially, a failure in planet Earth. A great story that gives the reader something to dwell on.


Other shortlisted entries:
Although I felt hungry I didn't feel like eating. A plague, virus? The fields and branches were ripe with fruit, stores with full shelves not even looted.

By  Nick George 

Today Winter's reassuring grip succumbed to the tantrums of Chance, our fifth and youngest season. Kids delight in wild weather, but I fear their future.

By Felicity Lanchester

It's been 34 years and my heart lurches as the shimmering silver doors slide open. He stands silhouetted, one knobbly finger pointing skywards. He's back.

By Rosemary Lewis




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